Not traveling? You might want to put these subscriptions on hold

Along with almost the entire world, we aren’t flying during the coronavirus pandemic. In many ways, it feels like our lives are on hold — so it might be time to consider putting certain travel subscriptions on hold, too.
Related: Should I travel? Advice for the coronavirus outbreak
Some, like Clear’s expedited airport security, are billed once a year. But other tools and services come with a monthly fee, making it easy to avoid paying for them until it’s time to start traveling again. Here are the five subscriptions you might want to freeze until this crisis has passed.
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Inflight internet

If you aren’t flying right now, this one’s a no-brainer. Road warriors can ordinarily save a tremendous amount of money by purchasing an inflight internet subscription, either directly through the airline or with a service like Gogo, which offers a variety of plans depending on how many devices you want to connect and where you typically fly. Be sure to confirm that your plan isn’t set to auto-renew, or you could get stuck paying for a service you simply can’t use.
Related: Credit cards that offer free and discounted inflight Wi-Fi
Commuter benefits
They can vary drastically from one employer to the next, but generally, these plans let you use pretax funds to pay for subway fares, shared rides and even parking. If you’re currently set up to receive a fixed amount each month, you could choose to continue paying into the program now, and scale it back to balance things out later in the year, but you will want to put unlimited transit cards on hold, especially if they’re only valid for a specific month.
Ride-hailing subscriptions
Photo by d3sign/Getty Images.
As many people are doing their best to stay isolated, there isn’t as much need for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft right now — after all, for many of us, the usual cross-town commute has been replaced by a walk between the sofa and the bed. Uber Ride Pass, a $25 monthly program, and the $20 per month Lyft Pink are two that come to mind, but there may be a local program you’re subscribed to as well. Also, keep in mind that Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can activate a year of Lyft Pink for free — so you might want to wait until travel resumes to get that done.
Related: Frequent Uber or Lyft passenger? These credit cards are for you
ExpertFlyer
ExpertFlyer has long been a favorite expert-level travel search tool among the TPG team, even before it was acquired by our parent company, Red Ventures. In fact, I was an ExpertFlyer member prior to joining TPG, and I’ve even used the resource as recently as this week to search for award availability (for travels much later in the year, of course). My favorite feature — setting alerts so I see when the best seats open up — hasn’t been necessary while I’ve been grounded, but it’ll definitely be a go-to as soon as I get back in the air. Still, if you aren’t taking full advantage of ExpertFlyer right now, it could be worth pausing your service, or downgrading to the $4.99 per month Basic plan. You can always upgrade when we’re all able to travel again.
Cellphone plans

Plenty of casual travelers now take advantage of the $10 per day plans provided by a number of top carriers. But those of us who travel abroad often may also have a secondary subscription — which, ordinarily, results in significant savings. For several members of the TPG team, that’s Google Fi, which lets us connect all around the globe for a fraction of the price. Fortunately, it’s easy to put this service on pause — either online or via the app — and suspend billing for a period of up to three months.
Bottom line
As with frequent flyers all around the world, we’re hopeful the coronavirus pandemic is soon brought under control. In the meantime, it’s essential to avoid unnecessary travel — after all, when dinner at your favorite local restaurant isn’t even a possibility, it’s hard to imagine chowing down on the other side of the world. Still, we’ll eventually return to the skies and, when we do, we’ll restart our favorite subscriptions, too.
Featured photo by Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images.

Change of plans? Use this negotiation strategy to get customer service on your side

If you’re a frequent TPG reader, your life has likely been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting impact on travel.
Numerous TPG readers have told us that they booked nonrefundable reservations because they didn’t plan to cancel their trip. Others purchased travel insurance, but most trip insurance doesn’t cover epidemics so they’re still out the money. In many such cases, your best bet is to reach out directly to the airline or hotel in question and ask for help.
Related: Will “cancel for any reason” insurance protect your trip?
TPG has covered how to reach customer service as quickly as possible — but what should you ask for once you get on the phone?
Be clear about what you need
Before you get on the phone, know where you want to go before you reach out to your airline to make any changes. A customer service representative can’t tell you whether or not it’s best for you to go home to your own apartment, or shelter in place at your parents’ house in another state, and it isn’t their job to wait on the line while you draft up a pros-and-cons checklist.
Related: A number of airlines have suspended all routes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic
Have your desired airport code, travel times and dates, your passport number and record locator, and any other personal information ready on hand before you reach out. And be prepared for long hold times, or try reaching out via Twitter or text.
Be flexible on how you accomplish your goal
It’s great to have a specific plan in place, but keep your big picture goal in mind. Right now, your top priority should be safety and speed, not necessarily convenience or efficiency. If you’re trying to get home to Brooklyn or Queens, be willing to consider flying into Newark, Philly or even Boston. Similarly, flying into Oakland, San Jose or even Sacramento could be a good alternative to San Francisco if you need to get back to the Bay Area.
Alternatively, consider renting a car and driving where you need to go if the journey isn’t too long — or if you’re up for taking the scenic route home. The main goal of social distancing is increasing the amount of physical distance between you and other people, and a road trip fulfills most of the criteria. Keep in mind that most hotels and stores along the way may be closed or operating under limited hours, so stock up on gas and supplies well before setting out. 
Negotiation strategy: Big ask, little ask
If you know that you can’t or won’t need to travel any longer, you’ll probably want your money (or points) back instead of rescheduling your trip for a later date. But just because your friend got a full refund on an international flight through Delta Airlines doesn’t mean you’ll get the same result for canceling a domestic flight on Spirit.
Related: Your complete guide to traveling during the coronavirus outbreak
Here’s where a sales negotiation strategy called “big ask, little ask” could help you accomplish your goal.
The concept here is to have at least two satisfactory outcomes in mind, and to ask for the bigger favor first. If that fails, then ask for the smaller favor. In contrast, the smaller request will seem easier to grant, and you’ll be more likely to get what you ask for.
Your success will vary based on a lot of factors, but it never hurts to try — and it really pays to be as polite as humanly possible.
Let’s say you purchased a $400 nonrefundable ticket, and your airline is offering you free changes for the travel dates. But the event you wanted to attend was canceled, so you no longer plan to take this trip. When you reach out to customer service, go for the “big ask” first: A full refund. Be polite, explain your circumstances, and nicely ask if the agent can help you out. If the answer is yes, then great; if no, then switch to your “little ask”, which could be a voucher toward future travel instead of rescheduling your flight.
Related: I booked my canceled trip using an airline voucher. Will the airline issue me a new one? 
Chances are, you’ll find some leniency from the representative. And even if you don’t, you can walk away knowing you did your best.
Priority goes to travelers who need immediate assistance
Trying to cancel a spring break trip in April? Don’t get on the phone; save customer service hotlines for people who need immediate help resolving their travel issues.
Related: Use Chase’s online tool to rebook or cancel your Ultimate Rewards itinerary
Instead, reach out to your airline or online travel agency (OTA) via email, Twitter or text. You can avoid long hold times, possibly increase your chances of getting a favorable response, and know that you’re doing your fellow traveler a favor by freeing up the phone lines.
Remember that you’re on the same team — and be kind
These are stressful times with little to no prior precedent, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Remember that you and the customer service agent share the same goal of getting you where you need to go, even if it doesn’t feel that way.
Also keep in mind that these agents have been dealing with frustrated customers for weeks, and are facing job uncertainty themselves. Be kind and thoughtful to the person helping you — a “thank you” or a “How are you doing?” goes a long, long way right now.
Featured photo by Getty Images.

Ski season ends early at many mountains due to coronavirus

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information on the closing of additional resorts. 
It’s no secret that coronavirus (COVID-19) has essentially brought the travel industry to a temporary halt. The calendar says we are approaching what was planned to be peak spring break travel time for many. But now, the reality is that the local grocery store is about as far as most of us are traveling.
When it comes to ski resorts, the solitude of an almost empty run sounds like a perfect socially distanced activity, but there’s more to the story. The lifts, gondolas, rental shops, ticket offices, lunch breaks, apres ski and more still bring people together in groups larger than the currently recommended numbers. 
So while ski resorts first tried to integrate new distancing and cleaning recommendations in light of coronavirus, that was quickly followed by a temporary pause in operations. Now, many major ski resorts have called it quits on the 2019–2020 ski season.
Here’s a look at what’s happening at ski resorts around the country and a peek at how this may impact those ski passes that you weren’t quite done using.
Complete guide to traveling during the deadly coronavirus outbreak
Vail Resorts
The operator of 37 ski resorts around the world (including Vail, Park City, Heavenly, Whistler and more) and the creator of the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts stated as of Tuesday that all North American ski resorts will remain closed for the 2019–2020 ski season, due to the fast-moving situation involving COVID-19.
However, Vail also stated it would consider reopening Breckenridge, Whistler Blackcomb and Heavenly in late April/early May, dependent on the situation with COVID-19, as well as weather conditions. Last season, many ski resorts operated until late May — with some going all the way until the Fourth of July weekend. 
You can request refunds on certain prepaid Vail Resorts expenses online, however, thus far that does not extend to Epic Pass products. Eligible refund requests include:

Lift Tickets
Ski & Ride School
Lodging and Vacation Packages
Winter Activities
Childcare Bookings
Equipment Rentals (booked on RentSkis.com or SkiRentals.com)

Can I cancel or change a ticket booked through the Amex or Chase Travel Portal due to coronavirus?
Alterra Mountain Company
Alterra is the owner/operator of 15 North American mountain destinations, including Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Stratton and Sugarbush Resort in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain in Ontario; Crystal Mountain in Washington; Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah; and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia.
Skiing in Mammoth in mid-March (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Alterra resorts are included on the Ikon Pass and the group decided to close starting the morning of Sunday, March 15, until further notice citing the best interest of “guests, employees and local communities.” (CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures will continue to operate through Tuesday, March 21.)
In terms of refunds, CEO Rusty Gregory said that “Each resort will work directly with guests in canceling their visit and will provide refunds to those who have hotel and other bookings during this closure period.” He added that heavy call volume is anticipated over the next several days, and that “guests’ patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries” is appreciated.
While there is talk of some of these mountains calling it quits on the season, others have said they will reevaluate late-season operations at a future date.
Aspen Snowmass
Aspen Snowmass has closed “by the order of the Governor of Colorado.” They have not yet committed to remaining closed for the season and state that, “the plan is to conduct some limited on-mountain maintenance to potentially have a limited late-season opening if circumstances allow.”
Aspen skyline from an overlook in the winter (Photo by Jonathan Ross/Getty Images)
In terms of refunds, lift tickets, Ski & Snowboard School lessons, Four Mountain Sports equipment rentals and activities reservations are fully refundable. To process your refund, you have until April 30, 2020, to call 1-800-525-6200 and have your order confirmation number available.
For season passes, Aspen Snowmass states: “We will have answers to season pass refund requests once we know if we are reopening or not.”
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Like so many of the others, the iconic Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closed for the remainder of the season effective March 15. Its decision to close the resort follows a Health Order directed by the Wyoming State Health Officer and issued by the Teton District Health Officer.
The resort will work with guests and passholders to “provide recovery assistance regarding refunds or future credits.”
Epic, Ikon and Mountain Collective passholders
Usually, holding a ski season pass is a good thing. However, in this case, passholders are still in limbo whether they’ve used the pass 20 times or zero times, while holders of unused lift tickets can largely request refunds.
On the one hand, the majority of the ski season was behind us at most resorts when the unexpected closures happened. On the other hand, spring break skiing is a big factor when choosing a ski pass, so many ski passholders had planned skiing yet to occur.
Technically, ski passes are nonrefundable and nontransferable. In fact, one goal of a pass is to level out income in the event it’s a bad snow year or similar. However, poor snow is one thing, but no one really could have predicted a global pandemic shutting down basically every ski resort in the country.
(Photo courtesy of Epic Mountain Express)
At this point, there has been no communication from the major pass programs on potential refunds or future discounts. However, there are clues for what may be done on their respective social media accounts.
Ikon’s Facebook page responses state that “We are working through new policies and protocols and will post new information as it becomes available.” That reads to me that some discounts or credits haven’t been ruled out.
Mountain Collective’s response on social media reads, “We will be reviewing refund and credit policies and providing any updated guidance in the coming weeks. We very much appreciate your patience as the fast-moving situation evolves.”
Epic’s response to date on social media has been, “Pursuant to the terms of all season pass and Epic Day Pass products, they are nonrefundable and nontransferable to another season. We will be reviewing these policies and providing any updated guidance in the coming weeks. We appreciate your patience during this unprecedented time.”
Visit our hub here for full coronavirus travel coverage.
Bottom line
Now is not the time to travel but it is, of course, unfortunate that even outdoor ski resorts cannot safely operate for the time being. In fact, some of the major Colorado ski country counties are COVID-19 outbreak hot spots.
Right now, some mountains are expressly prohibiting even uphill skiing (where you climb up yourself), while others are allowing that process at your own risk.
Additional reporting by Katie Coakley
Featured image by Adventure_Photo/Getty Images

The stark differences in coronavirus screening at airports in Shanghai and Washington, DC

For the past week, travelers from around the globe have scrambled to make last-minute return flight arrangements from work trips or vacations that were cut short. As the threat of coronavirus becomes more real, people want to be sure they can get home — or travel to their loved ones to help them weather these unpredictable times.
Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates
It’s been fascinating to hear travelers’ stories about their different experiences as they arrive at various airports around the world. Some airports, including many in China, are meticulously screening passengers before even letting them on flights, and as they arrive back into the country. At airports in the United States, the “welcome home” has ranged from absolutely no questions asked about recent travel to hours-long lines dangerously crowded with travelers, all so they can have their temperature taken before being allowed off the property.
Today we’ll hear two stories: One from Fei Cao, an American living in Shanghai, and another from TPG contributor Ethan Steinberg. Ms. Cao was on vacation and traveling back to Shanghai, while Steinberg, who lives in Shanghai, was returning to the U.S. to be with family.
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In This Post

Traveling to Shanghai
Fei Cao, a long-time TPG reader, is a U.S. citizen who relocated to Shanghai in September with her husband. Just before the big move, they took a two-month-long vacation funded entirely by points and miles.
They were visiting the U.S. with plans to return to Shanghai on March 11. Here’s how that unfolded.
The U.S. leg of the trip
The first leg of their trip was on American Airlines, in economy, from Miami (MIA) to Houston (IAH).
“From IAH, we took EVA to Shanghai (SHA) with a layover at Taipei (TPE). Our EVA flight was booked in premium economy and upgraded to Laurel Business class with points transferred from our Citi account,” Cao said.
The mood on the aircraft “was a mix of nervous [and] nonchalant,” she observed. “The couple next to us wiped their seat prior to sitting. However, no one wore masks or took precautions. Overall, the domestic portion of our flight was not very different than our previous flights.”
“We did use the Amex [Centurion Lounge] in MIA; it was relatively empty compared to our previous visits,” said Cao, who couldn’t recall if there were hand sanitizers at the front desk. At the EVA lounge in Taipei, on the other hand, Cao and her husband said, “attendants enforced strict hand hygiene and did not check us in until we cleaned our hands.”
Related: How to ward off coronavirus in a hotel room
Boarding an EVA flight for Shanghai via Taipei
The couple began to notice upgraded precautions at IAH when checking in for their long-haul flight. “At IAH, all the EVA crew and staff wore face masks and gloves. The business class check-in staff member was wearing a mask but she had a runny nose and was coughing, which really horrified us.” Cao said that, of the entire trip, this caused the most anxiety.
“Our flight from IAH to TPE was about 80% filled in the business-class cabin. We estimate that the economy-class cabin was about 70 to 80% filled as well,” she estimated.
“The economy-class cabin from Taipei to Shanghai was about filled. We think it’s because many Chinese nationals are returning to China due to worsening viral conditions elsewhere, and TPE was one of the few ports that did not require quarantine in China. However, this policy has changed since we took our flight — when we landed in SHA, Beijing changed the rules to have mandatory quarantine for all international inbound passengers.”
Cao said the passengers were generally not nervous. “We saw a lot more passengers wearing face masks and gloves on this flight, as compared to our domestic flight. In business class, almost everyone wiped down their seats before sitting. Once the flight took off, we didn’t feel much different.”
“We had a 10-hour layover in Taipei and, during our transit, we exited the airport (the screening was not very extensive and exit was extremely smooth) and stayed at a nearby Novotel a subway stop away. Our reentry to the airport was also extremely easy because the airport was pretty empty.”
The next part of the journey is when the couple again felt a sense of anxiety.
“On our flight from Taipei to Shanghai, people were more nervous. Everyone was in gloves and face masks. The majority of people also had goggles. Some people wore ‘hazmat suits’ that ranged from raincoats to overalls.”
“We felt more anxious about this trip than our previous travel experiences,” Cao said. “Our anxiety was mainly because if we were to contract the virus during our travel, we would be forced to stay in a government quarantine facility and not be able [to] self-quarantine at home.”
Related: These are the global coronavirus travel restrictions by country
Changes to inflight service
TPG was curious if it was business as usual in the air, or if the couple noticed any differences from previous travels.
“We flew business class on EVA from Paris (CDG) to Taipei before, so [we] had a point of reference,” Cao said. “Our IAH to TPE flight was very similar to our previous experience, with the exception that all the flight attendants wore face masks, gloves and some even wore eye goggles. The level of service was still excellent … we were offered a welcome drink, snacks, turndown service [and] cabin crew would often check in on us when we were awake. Same as amenities: We were offered pajamas as well as amenity kit.”
But, “the flight from TPE to PVG was completely different,” Cao noted. “There was no meal service available, we were told this is due to the virus situation in China. In flight, the cabin crew gave us a prepackaged bag with water, apple juice, cake and cookies.”
Cao said there weren’t amenity bags, blankets or slippers waiting for her and her husband in the business class seats. “To get them,” Cao said, “we had to specifically request them. The overall service from TPE was totally different. We chalked it up to the airlines wanting to decrease the amount of contact between the crew and passengers.”
Landing in Shanghai
Upon arrival in Shanghai, the couple witnessed the lengths the Chinese government is going to in the hopes of curtailing the spread of coronavirus. They were asked to fill out an extensive health declaration form.
China exit/entry health form. (Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
And, here’s more information about the entry process into Shanghai as of March 17:
Shanghai re-entry guidance as of March 17, 2020. (Image courtesy of Ethan Steinberg)
“When we landed in Shanghai at 6 p.m., our captain made an announcement saying that health inspectors will come on board,” Cao said.
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
“All the inspectors were in hazmat suits — every official [we] encountered from this point [wore] complete hazmat suits,” recalled Cao. “One inspector walked around the cabin (we think to look over passengers to make sure no one was visibly sick) while the other inspectors reviewed the manifest. They made an announcement in Chinese and English for all passengers to go back to their seats and wait to be called. During this time, the first inspector came back and told his colleagues in Chinese that there was a passenger from the U.S. who had a cough; they conferred a bit and led her out by herself.”
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
“After that passenger was led out, they called a series of names to line up and be inspected. The first group of passengers all had travel history in Europe within the past 14 days,” said Cao.
“We were called as part of the second group: all passengers who had travel history in the U.S. We assumed the order was by the severity of virus infections in the passenger’s countries of travel. When we got to the front, the officials looked at our health declarations, measured our temperatures (one of many times) and asked us if we were symptomatic. They recorded our temperatures and we went off the plane and waited near the gate with the rest of the people [who] were called up with us. According to the health officials, we were to wait there until the first group cleared the next phase of the health exam.”
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
Cao said they waited about an hour before arriving at the health check area. “There, we underwent temperature monitoring (second temperature check) and had to wait in line to be individually interviewed by health officials. While waiting for our extensive health check, multiple officers in hazmat suits walked around to give QR codes to scan on the Chinese messaging program WeChat to fill out additional health info, travel info as well as information on our hotel [or] place of residence. For foreigners who don’t have the app, it would be difficult to do a lot of this.”
“The line moved slowly, but after about another hour, we got to the front and we were individually interviewed by an official who asked us in-depth questions about specific cities we were in, sick contacts, occupation contacts, symptoms within the past 14 days. They also asked about our living arrangements (hotel, apartment, lease, etc).”
Cao said officials then gave every passenger a sticker. “[A green sticker] for anyone who hadn’t visited a high-risk country, yellow sticker for anyone who was low risk but had been to a high-risk country (we were yellow due to being in the U.S.), a red sticker was for anyone who was symptomatic or high risk. Green sticker travelers were able to exit as normal and return home, red sticker travelers went to automatic government quarantine.”
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
Since the couple’s passports were labeled with yellow stickers, they went to a special customs area to have another temperature check. Then, they proceeded through customs as normal.
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
Cao said, “Because we’ve been in and out of China a lot, our process was fast since they have our fingerprint and face recognition in their system.”
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
Cao felt good about the process — even if it delayed their re-entry into China. “While extensive and really inconvenient, we felt confident that because the Chinese government enforced these measures, they were able to keep the virus rate in check. The amount of manpower and coordination that went into this is pretty incredible and we feel relatively safe.”
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
“Due to our yellow sticker, we couldn’t leave the airport on our own and had to have a police escort,” Cao shared. “Here, the police questioned us extensively about our living situation, address, travel history and recorded everything. Travelers whose apartments are not adequate for quarantine, have roommates or don’t have any lodging are required to go to a designated quarantine hotel. Those whose housing is suitable for quarantine can be picked up by a family member or taken to their residence by police. Due to being a yellow sticker traveler, we were not allowed to take commercial transportation to decrease the exposure risk of other people.”
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
Once at home, the couple’s self-quarantine began.
“When we arrived at our apartment, we were met by a local health official who examined our apartment to make sure was suitable for quarantine,” Cao said. “He then administered a health check as well as measured our temperatures. At this time, we also signed a form declaring that we will abide by quarantine regulations and not leave our apartment for 14 days. He notified us that he will come back daily to administer a temperature check and health check. When everything was set and done, it was around midnight when we were finally able to unpack and relax.”
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
“China has an extensive delivery service where anything can be bought and delivered,” Cao said. “Our apartment has a front desk that’s always staffed and will bring us everything we ordered so we adhere to quarantine.”
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
(Photo courtesy of Fei Cao)
So, how does Ethan Steinberg’s account of arriving in Washington, D.C. from Asia during this same period compare to Ms. Cao’s experience returning to Shanghai from the U.S.?
Arriving in Washington, D.C.
Steinberg is also an American who lives and works in Shanghai, but his family is here in the U.S. He wanted to return home to be with his family during the coronavirus scare — and his arrival at a U.S. airport was markedly different than Ms. Cao’s.
He booked his travel from Shanghai to Washington, D.C. via Tokyo on separate tickets. He flew ANA first class for the Tokyo to D.C. leg of the trip. When asked if there were any health screening measures to get into the Asian airports, Steinberg said, “of course.”
“Both Shanghai and Tokyo Narita (NRT) had multiple temperature checks before you could even enter the airport, let alone clear customs,” he said.
When he boarded his ANA flight, Steinberg realized he was the only passenger in first. “Looked like 100 passengers, maximum, on the Boeing 777-300ER. The day before, when I flew Shanghai (PVG) to Narita, we had 15 total passengers on a 767 — yet weirdly enough, the eight of us in economy all sat in the first two rows.”
We were curious about any health checks that might have been performed, or if any health officials met the aircraft at the gate. Steinberg said there were none.
“I arrived on Sunday, March 8,” Steinberg said, “and no one met us at the plane.” He added that while he did end up experiencing a health check later in the entry process, he believes it was just because his Global Entry receipt was X’d out.
“A customs agent asked about my travel history and seemed shocked, and sort of taken off guard, when I said I’d been in China just 35 hours ago,” Steinberg explained. “He led me over to another desk, where I was apparently the first passenger that the customs agents had to train on the new system. They redirected me to a small CDC health screening area, where they took my temperature and gave me an info packet to take home.”
Steinberg said the screening probably should have only taken about five minutes, “but the customs agents were going slow while they learned the system.” All in all, it took about 20 minutes to go through the process. During the health screening, he was told that there might be additional follow up and that he should check his temperature twice daily and log it. But, Steinberg says no one has contacted him since arriving back int he U.S.
“It’s scary that the process to leave China is 10 times stricter than the process to get into the U.S.,” Steinberg confided, “and it’s scary going from a city that has this under control to one that absolutely doesn’t.”
Featured image by Scott Olson/Getty Images