Flight prices dip amid COVID. Will it impact holiday travel?


The nation’s airlines are sweating over an unexpected drop in business travel in the last few weeks — and that’s welcome news if you’re a traveler looking to save money.

This month, domestic airfares are down 5% from September 2019 and international fares down about 8%, drops that industry experts attribute partly to the traditional price slump that happens at the end of the peak summer travel season plus the rise in coronavirus cases due to the Delta variant, according to the travel website Hopper.

Prices for flights to Europe are at a five-year low, down more than 30% compared with the same month in 2019, according to the travel website.

But the discounted prices are not expected to last long, with increases likely when travelers start booking holiday trips.

“Everything we are seeing says people are definitely going to be traveling,” said Adit Damodaran, an economist for Hopper.

The airfare roller coaster shows how the pandemic continues to affect the nation’s $1.5-trillion travel and hospitality industry. For the first time since COVID-19 took hold in spring 2020, travel demand this summer began to match and briefly surpass pre-pandemic levels, giving airline executives hope that the industry would soon rebound from more than a year of financial losses.

But in the last few weeks, airlines have reported a steep drop in demand and an increase in reservation cancellations. September typically marks the end of the peak summer travel season and the start of business travel for conferences, conventions and meetings. Industry experts say the uptick in business travel never materialized because of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

As a result, airlines are forced to drop prices to fill the seats left empty by business travelers.

“In a normal year, the fares would stay high because people would travel for business, but that is just not happening,” said Madhu Unnikrishnan, editor of the publication Airline Weekly.

The average domestic round-trip flight costs $260, down from $290 at the end of August, according to Hopper. International round-trip fares have dropped to an average of $700, down from $760 at the end of August.

The average round-trip price of a flight to Europe from the U.S. is $565, down from $665 at the end of August and the lowest price in five years, according to the website’s data. That price was an average of $940 at this time in 2019.

But flying to Europe could become more difficult soon. The European Union recommended this week that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections. The guidance isn’t mandatory, and member countries have the option of allowing fully vaccinated U.S. travelers in.

The slump in business travel and rise in overall cancellations have airlines worried. Southwest, United, Delta and American airlines all revised their earnings outlook for the July-to-September quarter.

“The company continues to experience softness in bookings and elevated trip cancellations, especially close-in, as a result of the rise in the COVID-19 cases associated with the Delta variant,” Southwest Airlines said in a Sept. 9 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Close-in” cancellations are usually defined as being within 21 days of departure.

In its own Sept. 9 investor update, Delta Air Lines said “initial revenue expectations were predicated on an acceleration of business travel through the September quarter. The pace of business travel recovery has paused as companies delay or scale down initial office reopening.”

United Airlines said it expects the drop in demand to push total revenue down 33% in the July-to-September quarter.

Airlines are not the only businesses feeling the pain. The hotel industry is projected to lose more than $59 billion in business travel revenue in 2021 compared with 2019, according to a report by the American Hotel & Lodging Assn. and Kalibri Labs.

If the number of coronavirus cases drops or remains unchanged, travel experts say, Americans are likely to book air travel in high numbers for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. And higher demand usually means higher prices.

“Most airlines have said Thanksgiving and Christmas and year-end holidays remain solid,” Unnikrishnan said. “So far, people are not canceling their holiday plans.”

Bookings and internet searches for holiday flights have started to rise.

“Right now, flight prices for the holiday travel season are up across the board compared to both 2019 and 2020,” said Giorgos Zacharia, president of the travel website Kayak.

Domestic round-trip airfares around Thanksgiving are priced at an average of $300, up 23% from 2020 ($245) but down 11% from the pre-pandemic 2019 fares ($335), according to Hopper. The average domestic round-trip airfares for travel around Christmas are $430, up 71% from 2020 ($250) and up 10% from 2019 ($390).

Rick Seaney, chief innovations officer at 3 Victors, a travel data company, said making flight reservations for the holidays can be tricky. Booking early — up to six weeks before departure — usually ensures that travelers get the lowest prices. But Seaney said another coronavirus surge could keep prices down, allowing travelers to book flights much closer to the holiday season.

“The question is will the prices get better or worse if you wait,” he said. “It depends on what will happen with the pandemic.”





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Busy holiday travel season lands at Sea-Tac Airport but vaccine impact on TSA minimal – KOMO News



Busy holiday travel season lands at Sea-Tac Airport but vaccine impact on TSA minimal  KOMO News



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Will Inflation Impact Your Upcoming Travel Plans?


We’re all excited to see more people traveling again, if only because it signals some degree of normalcy returning after the better part of two years living amid COVID-19. Of course, there’s also a downside to so many people hitting the roads and taking to the skies, which is that, as demand again approaches the amount of supply, things get more expensive.

A Washington Post report revealed that the cost of almost every aspect of travel increased last month, with airfare being the one major exception. According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Price Index, travel-related prices jumped 14.4 percent in October of this year in comparison with the same month last year.

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Overall U.S. inflation spiked by 6.2 percent compared to 2020, representing the most substantial year-over-year increase of the past three decades. It will come as no surprise to anyone with a vehicle that the high cost of motor fuel—up by almost 50 percent last month compared with October 2020—is playing probably the biggest role in driving up travel costs. Followed by increased rates for hotel and motel rooms, which have risen more than 25 percent.

Also on the rise are the costs of buying food and alcohol while on the road, ground transportation (e.g., taxis and ride-share services), and prices for recreational activities, such as admission to concerts or sporting events. While prices for just about everything seem to be going up, the rise in travel costs is particularly steep because there’s so much more demand this year compared to last.

The U.S. Travel Association’s executive vice president of public affairs and policy, Tori Emerson Barnes told the Post that, due to the extreme lows that travel hit in 2020, it would be fairer to compare this year’s prices to those seen in 2019. But, still, today’s prices are higher than they were pre-pandemic.

Last month’s travel prices were still 6.2 percent higher than in October 2019. Fuel costs are nearly 23 percent higher, lodging comes 5.5 percent dearer, and food (9.3 percent) and alcohol (6 percent) purchased away from home more expensive than two years back.

There’s really only one major travel expense that doesn’t follow the trend: airfare pricing, which is down 4.6 percent in comparison to 2020 and a whopping 24 percent compared with 2019. That’s due to the fact that air travel hasn’t rebounded to pre-pandemic levels and that a hefty portion of business travelers, who typically are bigger spenders in terms of airfare, still aren’t taking trips.

With travel demand quite evidently being pretty robust for the upcoming holiday season, it doesn’t look like there’s a price break coming in the near future. “I think through this holiday season we can pretty much forecast that there’s probably going to be higher prices,” said John Horn, professor of practice in economics at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. “Next summer, I don’t know. There are too many unknowns.”





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Rain, wind could impact holiday travel


Nov 22, 2021, 10:47amUpdated 41m ago

By: News 12 Staff

Showers and gusty winds early today could cause traffic
delays if you are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday today.

News 12
Long Island’s
Caroline Flynn is checking on the roads as the Thanksgiving
travel week begins.

News 12 meteorologists say the combination of
light rain and the amount of leaves on the ground could make for some slick
road conditions.



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Rain, windy conditions tonight into Monday could impact Thanksgiving travel for LI


News 12 meteorologists say rain lasting from tonight into Monday could have an impact on Thanksgiving travel.

TODAY: Some breaks in the clouds but also a chance of sprinkles. Highs around 54-58.

TONIGHT: Cloudy with periods of rain. Low stay close to 50.

MONDAY: Wet start and windy. Drying out during the day but still windy. Early highs near 50-55 then turning colder.



TUESDAY: Mixed sun and clouds. Blustery and cold. Highs reach around 40-45.

WEDNESDAY: OK for travel here in the northeast. Mostly sunny. Highs around 45-50.

THURSDAY – THANKSGIVING: Mostly sunny and milder. Highs near 55.

FRIDAY: Chance of showers. Highs around 50-55



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business trip

The Impact of the Future of Work on Business Travel


The main stage Thursday morning at the Global Business
Travel Association featured future-of-work strategist Heather McGowan who
turned the structure of work sideways and offered new perspectives on how a culturally,
racially, gender and geo-diverse workforce would redefine the position of their
jobs within the context of their lives. The most immediate evidence of that
future and arguably the most impactful for business travel managers is the vast
scope of the remote workforce and the complexities—and as well as
opportunities—that will come with it.

A panel discussion with corporate travel heavy hitters—BCD
Travel CEO John Snyder, ARC CEO Lauri Reishus and Deem president David
Grace—followed McGowan’s presentation to discuss the implications of several of
her themes for the future of business travel. The panel was moderated by Envoy
founder and CEO Scott Wayne. The following are edited excerpts from that
discussion.

Scott Wayne: Who are your employees today? Where are
they and who are they? How are you measuring them?

Lauri Reishus: They are all over, but mostly at home.
We never closed our offices [but] we have grown our remote workforce in the
U.S. and we have been doing really well from a business resilience perspective.
However, the pandemic hit us in the middle of a five-year transformation
effort… re-platforming of our products and new tech stack. That has created
challenges for us working remotely effectively.

We traditionally were an employer who has three locations
and wanted people to be close to those locations. Now we have opened up our
search across the nation and have found that to be working very well for us. We’re
finding talent that we wouldn’t have attracted if we insisted on that
close-to-physical-plant approach. We are still working on what that looks like
when we do return to the office.

In terms of measurements, they are the same. We have
employees providing operational support, service level agreements—you can easily
see how people contribute to the achievement of those or not. But most employees
are working on product developments and new programs and it’s really about [whether
we] are we hitting milestones. That hasn’t changed. But honestly, we’ve
struggled; we’re working on the digital transformation of our business. [There
has been] a variety of [contributing] factors, but one is our inability to get
together to collaborate. It’s difficult to envision major business process re-engineering
when you can’t get together and draw it out together. It’s proven to us that
being together is really valuable. But it won’t be five days a week, it will be
situational… but we need to get that collaboration going again.

Wayne: And what about maintaining the culture of an
organization? How do you do that in a remote work environment?

John Snyder: Culture drives everything. We are
blessed at BCD to have a positive culture. That was a key concern of mine and
our entire leadership team going into the pandemic. We had to go back to basics.
We built everything on trust and respect; let’s do the same thing.

We went to regular communication to entire global staff. We were
very transparent about what was going on. It wasn’t easy. There was the good,
bad and ugly in those communications. It went out on a weekly basis. It was
received incredibly well. Ten years ago we opened an ‘Ask John’ forum for our
employees to ask me questions or give me advice on how to run the company … and
that’s been fun for me. During the pandemic, the platform [traffic] for Ask
John went up 5,000 percent. Mostly [employees] were thankful we were so open
honest with the communications, but there were some tough messages that I had
to respond to. But [all that activity] gave me a clear indication that we were
hitting home with our employees and keeping the culture strong.

We [also] rejiggered our global intranet. We had a huge
virtual workforce before [the pandemic], but it went overnight to 100 percent. We
realized a big part of our culture was our people being able to interact with
their colleagues on a daily basis. And they no longer had that. So we made our
intranet a digital entry point as a social water cooler. So employees could
come together, share what’s going on with their job, what’s going on at home,
praise each other… that went over very well.

Wayne: As the CEO of Deem, you are focused on
personalization of travel, creating the travel experience. What are the ramifications
of the “Great Reflection” on how we organize our lives with work…what
are the ramifications in terms of business travelers?

David Grace: It’s a massive opportunity. As an
industry we’ve talked for a long time about personalization. And putting the
traveler at the center of what we do. I’m not sure as an industry we’ve done
that well. John and Lauri just talked about… personalizing the work experience in
the office, not in the office, where they work, in their community. That’s driving
all kinds of new traveler needs.

You have to meet the needs of your employees; [they] are the
most important asset we have. Its’ not always what’s the most economical, but
rather, what does that person need to do? You need to offer that personalization
within a context that it fits the program and fits the policy, but [the
employees] don’t even [have to] know it’s there. And it’s not about Covid all
the time. We have to drive for overall safety and personalization for the
workforce. We have to make [travel] easy and … make personalization the center
of that. We have to do this. It’s done in the consumer world, and we have to do
it here as well. A lot of what we’ve done in the corporate travel industry has
been about command and control. What we need to do is delight and enable. If
you can do that, [travelers] will drive more to your policy, drive more your
program and you’ll have greater visibility around duty of care.

Wayne: Let’s talk about volumes and reduced travel
footprint with sustainability and in an era when we digitize everything.

Reishus: I don’t think any of us know what the impact
of work from home will be. But as we look at hiring more remote employees,
don’t we also need to understand if we can afford to fly them in? It might be
once a month, it might be a couple times a year. For overall forecasts… we
expect to see air travel end this year about 30 percent below 2019. And a fairly
modest forecast for the end of 2022, we see it about 20 percent below 2019. But
honestly, this is a forecast in November 2021. It’s a guess based on the best
information we can glean from the industry. Time will tell.

Snyder: Every time I’ve predicted what will happen
the last 18 months, I’ve been wrong. So I’ve retired my crystal ball. But I
think we’ll settle into something 15 to 20 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
But Lauri hit on it… With all our employees virtual and in remote cities all
around the globe, there will be a resurgence of collaboration travel. where
employees who never traveled before are now working [remotely] but they need to
go to an office to collaborate with their customers and their colleagues. That
could potentially make up half the gap that we may lose coming out of the
pandemic. Those remote employees will have to interact with their colleagues.

Wayne: Is sustainability going to stick?

Grace: It always seems to be tied to how the economy is
doing… but it’s different this time. The look/feel/engagement around sustainability
is, for lack of a better term, sustained. But [the travel industry] has to get
to the point where the consumer can digest carbon emissions information and [we]
also need to give that reporting to the corporate so they can make decisions about
how engaged they’re going to be. Because a lot of that will be working with
their suppliers to help them manage it. [Deem has] to work together to give
visibility as a technology platform, but we don’t have control over the airplane
or car or hotel does as far as their [carbon] footprint. But [the booking
platform] can give that visibility and help travelers make the right decision.
And the bigger question is what premium is that company willing to buy or pay
for to make that right decision. And every company will be different on that.  

Snyder: [Sustainability] is here to stay. We ran a
survey having travel buyers rank what is most important to them coming out of
the pandemic. In the pandemic, duty of care shot to number one. Now, we are
seeing sustainability ramp up aggressively. In the past year, we haven’t seen a
single request for proposal that didn’t have a sustainability checklist. I
applaud people for doing that. … But we need to take it beyond the checklist.
We need to sit down as partners—the TMC the buyer and any other suppliers that need
to be a part of that—but use your TMC as a helping board to build your program,
set rules and help you drive and track those goals. We’re at a point where we
need to get beyond the checklist and put formal plans in place. I realize
there’s investment in that—some companies are ready, some aren’t.



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High gas prices, crowded airports could impact holiday travel plans – Boston 25 News


BOSTON — Packed airports and pricey gas are two current trends that could impact holiday travel plans.

Last year at this time, many people wondered if they could safely gather with their extended family as the coronavirus raged unchecked.

This year, they’re trying to figure out if they can even afford to get there.

Just look at what’s been happening with the price of gas. “We’re actually about $1.20 higher than we were last year in Massachusetts, and the average driver is now paying about $17 more per fill-up per tank,” explained Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for AAA-Northeast.

That spike in gas prices comes just as Americans are thinking about their plans for the holidays.

According to the PwC Holiday Outlook 2021, 72% say they plan to drive to their destination.

40% say they will fly, while 13% will board a bus.

The numbers exceed 100% because many trips use multiple forms of transportation.

Higher gas prices, at least at their current levels, aren’t expected to keep people home this year.

“I think people will grin and bear it and go,” Maguire said. “I mean, frankly, I think there’s a lot of pent-up demand for people who want to travel.”

Maguire added that drivers can help themselves save money at the pump with some simple measures, like making sure to buy regular gas.

Going a little bit slower increases fuel efficiency. Making sure tires are properly inflated will “improve fuel efficiency by 3-4%,” according to Maguire.

She also says it’s worth comparing prices as it’s not hard to find a service station that might be a little less expensive. She suggests using free apps.

Taking to the sky to avoid the roads could raise its own issues this year.

The Southwest Airlines meltdown early last month stranded thousands as hundreds of flights were abruptly canceled.

Some airports, like Denver, have been overwhelmed with crowds this fall.

All this is having a chilling effect on some travelers at Logan Airport.

One woman said she was concerned about flying because of what happened with Southwest.

Another woman said, “We don’t plan on traveling over the holidays, we’re taking that into account.”

Patrick Gourley, Ph.D., a professor of economics at the University of New Haven who follows the aviation industry, said he sees ticket costs going up.

Gourley has a strategy to make sure he gets the date he wants at the best price. “One thing you can always do is, depending on the terms and conditions, is book a refundable ticket now, and then once it gets closer to the flight, just cancel the refundable ticket and book the cheaper non-refundable one.”

Overall, Gourley says it’s a good sign that Southwest’s problems didn’t spread to other carriers. “I don’t think it’s going to be widespread. I think the airlines have plans in place. They know travel is going to pick up over the holidays and they’ve been doing this for years.

One man traveling at Logan told us he’s most concerned about the way passengers are behaving these days. He hopes they remember the spirit of the holidays and don’t make a bad situation worse.

“They need to be tolerant. They shouldn’t throw coffee into somebody’s face.”

Gourley pointed out the holidays aren’t actually the busiest time of year for the airlines. That occurs in the summer.

He says it can seem more hectic now because a lot of families are flying with children and there are more people who don’t tend to fly as often. These groups don’t move as efficiently as business travelers.

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White House, Airlines Say Vaccine Mandate Won’t Impact Holiday Travel


Recent speculation about Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airline staffing shortages due to upcoming vaccine mandate deadlines would seem to be unfounded. The White House and two major U.S. carriers have just stated that they don’t foresee the Biden administration’s vaccination order for federal and federally-contracted employees causing holiday travel complications.

To clarify, the vaccine mandate for federal employees dictates that they be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 22 without an approved exemption, while the deadline for employees of federal contractors is December 8.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

With the deadlines falling around the busy Thanksgiving and end-of-year travel periods, fears emerged that a substantial number of unvaccinated airline and TSA employees might cause staffing shortages just when loads of Americans are trying to travel.

But, according to Reuters, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters on Wednesday that, “Vaccination requirements will not impact holiday travel.” He explained, “The requirements for federal workers and contractors will not cause disruptions to government services that people depend on. Agencies have the flexibility necessary to enforce the mandate without impacting critical operations.”

Zients added, “The point here is to get people vaccinated, not to punish them. So, agencies will not be removing employees from federal service until after they’ve gone through a process of education and counseling.”

On Thursday, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly likewise asserted that the vaccination issue would not disrupt holiday travel. “We are not on a campaign here to force everybody to get vaccinated…We want our employees to know that nobody is going to lose their job on December 9 if we’re not perfectly in compliance,” he explained. He also said unequivocally, “We’re not going to fire anybody who doesn’t get vaccinated.”

On an earnings call yesterday, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said that he doesn’t expect any employees to leave the company because of the vaccine mandate. “We think we’re not going to see anyone leaving American. I don’t think anyone’s going to want to leave American because either they choose not to get vaccinated or they don’t have a religious or medical (exemption),” he said.


Mature man receiving a vaccination.
Mature man receiving a vaccination. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/Geber86)

Parker disclosed, “We don’t anticipate any operational impact,” and said that American is “highly confident” that it will have enough staff to fly its holiday schedule as planned, even if unvaccinated workers with approved exemptions have to comply with new testing requirements.

Since “fully vaccinated” means 14 days need to have passed since receiving the final dose of a vaccine, federal employees, including TSA workers, must receive their second dose (or single dose with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) by November 8. Employees of companies that contract with the federal government, meanwhile, can receive theirs by November 24 at the latest.

The Cargo Airline Association, a trade group that represents FedEx, United Parcel Service and other cargo carriers, on Monday expressed in a letter to the White House that, “It will be virtually impossible to have 100 percent of our respective workforces vaccinated by December 8…Sliding this date into the first half of 2022 will allow association members to meet the demands of the e-commerce revolution during the holiday season.”

FedEx told Reuters yesterday that it’s “engaged with the relevant government agencies” about implementing the vaccination guidelines in a way that won’t interfere with deliveries during the bustling holiday shopping season.





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Hurricanes basketball hoping transfers can make quick impact


CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami’s new point guard is playing for his fourth different team. He’s the shortest guy on the roster, yet is known for his toughness, and was immediately asked to be a leader on his new squad.

In Miami Heat terms, that describes Kyle Lowry.

In Miami Hurricanes terms, that describes Charlie Moore.

The Hurricanes’ hopes this season might hinge in large part on Moore, a 5-foot-11 guard who has already started games for California, Kansas and DePaul in his college career and now has signed with Miami — his fourth school, in his fourth different major conference. No player on the Miami roster has scored more college points than Moore, one of six Hurricanes newcomers this season.

“We’ve both been to a lot of places,” Miami guard Kameron McGusty said. “He’s been in and played in two different conferences. He’s played in three conferences, actually; this will be his third.”

Not quite. This will be his fourth.

Moore has already been in the Pac-12, the Big 12 and the Big East. Now, he’s taking a shot at the Atlantic Coast Conference, where he and McGusty — who transferred from Oklahoma in 2018 — will be among four sixth-year seniors on the Hurricanes’ roster.

“We just try to use our knowledge that we’ve gained throughout our six years and use all the things that we’ve seen from different teams and different conferences and just help our team prepare and try to help our young guys get on track so they’re ready to help us contribute this year,” McGusty said.

Miami went 10-17 overall and 4-15 in the ACC last season, the Hurricanes’ third consecutive year finishing below .500 in both categories. That followed a three-year run of NCAA Tournament appearances for the Hurricanes, one that tied the longest such stretch in school history.

But with three starters back, plus talented new arrivals like Moore, Miami expects improvement. Leading scorer Isaiah Wong (17.1 ppg last season) returns, along with McGusty (13.3) and Anthony Walker (9.6). Moore and fellow transfer Jordan Miller (13.0 ppg in 69 games at George Mason) are among the new faces that will be asked to help from the first tip-off of the season.

“We had a couple of kids transfer out, so we recruited a couple of transfers ourselves,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “Charlie Moore and Jordan Miller have transferred in to the University of Miami, both great kids, and I think have a very bright future at the University of Miami. They fit in very well with our returning players.”

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

Between redshirt years and the 2020-21 season not counting toward anyone’s eligibility under NCAA rule because of how much the pandemic affected matters, the Hurricanes’ 10 players with previous college experience have combined to play 45 seasons. Miami also has four freshmen on the roster.

WONG’S YEAR

Wong was the fifth-leading scorer among ACC players last season, plus ranked fourth in free throw percentage and 12th in field goal percentage.

“Playing more minutes and getting more playing time, it just got easier and easier, adjusting more to the game,” Wong said. He averaged 7.7 points in about 21 minutes per game as a freshman, then averaged about 35.5 minutes as a sophomore.

K, BYE

There won’t be a farewell game for retiring Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski at Miami this season; the Hurricanes play the Blue Devils only once, and it’s at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Larrañaga reflected on what the ACC will be like this season without now-retired North Carolina coach Roy Williams and the pending departure of Krzyzewski.

“You’re talking about two of the great leaders of college basketball, role models who really set the example of how to run a program, how to develop your players and prepare them for life after basketball,” said Larrañaga, entering his 38th season as a head coach, 36th at the Division I level and 11th at Miami.

WHAT FANDUEL SAYS

FanDuel Sportsbook has the Hurricanes as one of the longest shots on their board to win the national title, with opening odds of 200-1. Of the 30 teams with the best odds according to FanDuel, seven — Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Virginia — hail from the ACC.

THE SCHEDULE

Miami starts with five of eight games away from home, then closes with eight of its last 12 — all ACC games — on the road as well. At least the early travel won’t be too daunting, with 13 of Miami’s first 15 games to be played in Florida. The Hurricanes’ Dec. 1 game at Penn State in the ACC-Big Ten challenge will have an emotional tie; Adam Fisher, entering his first season as Penn State’s associate head coach, went back to his alma mater after coaching the last eight seasons at Miami.

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25





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COLORADO TRAVEL: CDOT shortage of 191 workers could impact roads this winter


DENVER (KDVR) — This winter, drivers could face tougher driving conditions due to an ongoing commercial driver shortage.

The Colorado Department of Transportation currently has 191 open “transportation maintenance specialist” positions, compared to 77 vacancies last October, according to the agency.

The position includes plowing roads in the winter, filling potholes, fixing guardrails and other road maintenance work, officials say.

“We have shortages with our labor force throughout the state,” CDOT Communications Manager Bob Wilson said.  “It’s a situation that a lot of industries are going through, trying to hire drivers.”

CDOT stresses I-70 in the mountains and other heavily trafficked areas will take priority when it snows, however some main arteries in the metro, such as Kipling and Federal Blvd., could take longer for crews to clean up.

Highway 134 that goes over Gore Path is another stretch that will likely take longer to get according to CDOT.

“It’s difficult.  It’s a challenge,” Wilson said. “We try to give incentives to bring people on, but it’s challenging when you’re competing with other industries that also need drivers.”

CDOT has been putting on career fairs since September. The last event for this year is scheduled for Saturday in Fairplay.

CDOT offers nearly $17,000 in benefits, with a starting salary of about $40,000 annually including a 10% raise in the first year.



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