Samsung Had To Charter Jets To Bring Home COVID-Hit Execs From CES: Report

January 19, 2022 by Dave Haynes

The Omicron variant is so easily spread that if individuals and businesses opt in to events like trade shows – particularly if there airplanes, hotels and restaurants involved – there’s a pretty solid chance attendees are going to head home with COVID-19 in their airways.

Consider the story circulating about Samsung executives who went to CES a couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas. The Korea Herald reports that Samsung chartered two jets back from Las Vegas to Seoul to bring home some 20 staff members and executives who tested positive for COVID-19 in the wake of CES 2022. All had minor cases and went into quarantine once back in their home country (though I think they would have had to, confirmed case or not).

The reports from CES suggested mask usage was enforced at the show, and that compliance rates and attendee acceptance was high. The show, like most trade shows, did what it could to minimize health safety risks at their venue. The problem, of course, is everything surrounding such events – from airports, planes, shuttles and taxis to food and drink services. Business travel means leaving whatever constitutes your bubble for the last couple of years, and mixing with everyone from the concerned and careful to the folks who two years in still think this is all overblown and unnecessary.

At CES, there were attendees saying they made a point of only dining outside, letting the breeze carry off contagions that might linger inside a restaurant. You can kinda maybe sometimes do that in Vegas in January (it gets cold there at night), but that definitely wan’t on this week in New York for NRF. Outdoor dining near the Javits this week would have been $2 pizza slices or papaya hot dogs on 10th Avenue.

COVID case counts are soaring again in Vegas – all of it Omicron-driven. Fortunately, as is experienced elsewhere, not as many people are dying.

Hopefully, things settle quickly, as it’s been far too long since we’ve all seen new product and met with industry partners and friends.


  1. Bob O'Brien says:

    I went to CES and I’m glad I did. I did not get covid. I kept distance from everyone except in the hotel elevator. I suspect Samsung execs did not practice social distancing in Vegas.

Leave a comment