Continued worries about the Delta variant are derailing fall travel plans.
Driving the news: Thanksgiving domestic flight bookings in August were 18% lower this year compared with 2019, according to a new Adobe Digital Economy Index report out Monday morning.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky will argue this week that the world is undergoing a "travel revolution," in which some parts of the industry stay shrunk but the sector ultimately comes back "bigger than ever."
Why it matters: Chesky, who faced the abyss when the world shut down last year, foresees a significant shift in how people move around, with more intentional gatherings of family, friends and colleagues — even if routine business travel is never what it once was.
The Nissan Pathfinder has received a welcome makeover for 2022, going from run-of-the-mill crossover to stylish and rugged contender among family-friendly SUVs.
The big picture: It's the latest in a string of attractive models from Nissan, which has been mounting a turnaround effort after abandoning a profit-sapping discount strategy to fuel growth.
What's new: The 2022 Pathfinder was redesigned from the ground up, except for the carry-over V6 engine, which is now paired with a new 9-speed transmission.
I drove the $41,490 Pathfinder SL version with standard front-wheel-drive. (All-wheel drive is optional.)
The interior was spacious and comfortable, with one-touch access to third-row seating and desirable tech features like a 9-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay, a wireless charging pad and a WiFi hotspot.
One cool feature: The hands-on, assisted-driving system (Nissan ProPILOT Assist) is linked to the car's navigation system, which means the Pathfinder knows when a curve or exit is coming up and will automatically slow down.
One annoying feature: The Pathfinder honked six times every time I exited the vehicle. It's Nissan's way of reminding drivers to check the back seat for kids or pets.
The electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup hasn't even gone on sale yet, but demand is so hot that the company is already expanding production.
Driving the news: The first Lightning prototypes are leaving Ford's Dearborn, Mich., factory for real-world testing, with the truck available to customers next spring.
Electric vehicles might be good for the environment, but they're terrible for state budgets, which depend on fuel taxes to pay for road maintenance. So states like Oregon and Utah are experimenting with new road user fees — known as "vehicle mileage taxes" or VMTs — that reflect changing mobility trends.
Why it matters: By charging drivers for the miles they drive — instead of taxing the gas they use — states can ensure that everyone pays their fair share for public roads. But some drivers might wind up paying more than they do now, and the preliminary technology involved is raising privacy concerns.
All vehicles could soon be equipped with warning systems aimed at preventing children from dying in hot cars, but safety advocates say a law working its way through Congress won't do enough to save lives.
Why it matters: Nearly 40 children die every year of heatstroke because they were left in the back seat by a parent or caregiver — or climbed inside a car on their own. Since 1990, approximately 1,000 kids have died nationwide, according to KidsAndCars.org.
Driving the news: The bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate last month would require new motor vehicles to have an alert system that would remind people to check the back seat upon exiting the car.
Where it stands: Many new models now come with such reminders via a text message in the instrument cluster, typically accompanied by a chime, when the engine is turned off.
How it works: Most rear-seat reminders are triggered by "door logic" — that is, the system recognizes that the driver opened a rear door at the beginning of the trip.
Yes, but: that technology doesn't know whether the driver opened the door to put groceries or a purse in the back seat — or to buckle in a child.
What's needed: Cars need more than just a dashboard reminder that can be easily ignored or dismissed by the driver, says Emily A. Thomas, automotive safety engineer at Consumer Reports.
What they're saying: Carmakers can — and should — do more, said Janette E. Fennell, president of KidsAndCars.org.
What to watch: The occupant detection systems that could prevent children from dying in hot cars operate on the same technology that autonomous vehicles will need in the future to detect and monitor passengers, she noted.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Monday activated the state's National Guard to assist with school transportation.
Driving the news: Schools across the country are experiencing a shortage of bus drivers, which has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 80% of school districts reported having issued finding an adequate number of drivers.
Several major U.S. airlines indicated Thursday that their businesses have taken a hit from a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant.
Why it matters: A recent decline in bookings and an increase in cancellations have triggered a much lower revenue forecast for airlines than previously anticipated. The trend, which was earlier reported by AP, threatens to stifle the industry's rapid recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which halted air travel in its early days.
We've written before that much of U.S. antitrust law is antiquated, having been written over a century ago to regulate railroads.
Yes, but: What we've not really mentioned is that railroad-specific rules were updated much more recently, and are complicating one of the largest announced mergers of 2021.
Ford Motor Co. poached a senior Apple executive, Doug Field, to lead efforts to make its vehicles as smart and indispensable as the iPhone.
Why it matters: Legacy automakers like Ford need Silicon Valley's software prowess as they try to navigate a historic industrywide transformation. The electric, connected and automated cars of the future will be defined by software in the cloud — not the mechanical parts under the hood.
The intrigue: The hiring was seen as a coup for Ford and a blow to Apple, where Field had been a key player on the iPhone maker’s secret car project.
Details: In his new role, Field will be chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer, reporting to Ford President and CEO Jim Farley.
Background: Field is a boomerang Ford employee, having started his career there in 1987.
What they're saying: "This is a watershed moment for our company — Doug has accomplished so much,” Farley told reporters. “This is just a monumental moment in time that we have now to really remake a 118-year-old company.”