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Stressful Times!

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Every night the news features another horror story about cancelled flights, lost luggage, missed connections and more. The flight I'm most concerned about is our initial flight to Dublin, mostly because our departure date is July 31. I know there's a limit to how many hours airline personnel can fly in a day, but is there a cumulative, montly limit as well? Because we leave on the 31st I'm concerned that our flight could simply be cancelled because there aren't any pilots/attendants at the end of the month.

We'll also fly from Dublin to Edinburgh, but we do have extra days built in, so a cancelled flight wouldn't be the end of the world, then we have a flight from London to Perugia. both flights are on RyanAir, not my favorite airline, but unfortunately the best choice for now. Unfortunately we're traveling for a total of 3 months, and I don't think we'll be able to get by with carry-ons only, which seems to be the best way to travel now. Add that to my already high stress level due to being in close proximity and closed quarters with lots of people, most of whom I expect will be maskless! While some are so happy to be traveling again, I just see all the problems just waiting to happen.
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
I wish I could offer more encouragement than "It's most likely going to be fine".

I would say though, it's worst planning for long delays at check-in and security, plus passport control on arrival. That's because the school holidays will have started, and that's very much 'peak season'.

If taking the bus into central Dublin, the stop is literally just outside the arrivals terminal, to your left. Taxi fare isn't too expensive though and they're also right outside the terminal, just to the left, with usually someone (legitimately) checking in the line where you're headed when you join the queue.

On the way back, rush hour traffic can get bad, so if returning to the airport in rush hour, allow extra time.

Ryanair are indeed rubbish, but there are tricks to make it a little less stressful:
- At London Stansted rather than waiting in the main hall, we used to head out of the main hall to the right, along the walkways to the main large add-on departure hall, and at the very start of it there is a manned desk. You can ask there where your flight is due to depart from and they'd always let us know which gate is was expected to depart from. That allowed us to be at the front of the queue (even sometimes with the benefit of staying sat down!), which makes boarding less hassle. There is a small risk you'll be in the other smaller / older add-on, but the cost of this is merely having a longer walk to retrace steps.
- Headphones, especially noise cancelling ones, can cut out the adverts for lottery tickets and whatever the latest annoying marketing wheeze they have.
- Take water / snacks with you if you want them rather than buy Ryanair's stuff. I'd also recommend the freshly squeezed fruit juice at the entrance to that add-on wing of the airport.
- Brace for impact. For some reason, Ryanair pilots have a tendency of slamming the plane onto the tarmac, so heavy landings are quite normal.
- Stansted airport now forces you to walk through the airport shops, so head down and plough through them.

Maskless? Yes it seems the norm here now, more so the bigger the city

I hope it all goes well, and I'll close with some personal favourites from Dublin:
- A brilliant top-end 'supermarket' Fallon & Byrne on Wicklow st, with lots of lovely foods, plus a good cool downstairs wine bar. There was also a decent ice-cream place just up the same road
- Georges St Arcade just around the corner from Fallon & Byrne is a nice place to browse crafts and stuff.
- oldest pub in Dublin, The Brazen Head 20 Lower Bridge St, Usher's Quay. Head over on a Sunday lunchtime / afternoon for a singalong to traditional music. It may be tourist focused, but it's not sold its soul, and the musicians are very much local (unlike much in the Temple Bar area)
- The one highlight of the temple bar area. The Elephant and Castle, and solely for the chicken wings in vinegar, which are very tasty indeed. It may take a while to get a seat, but they're happy to take a phone number and message you when ready, whilst you grab a drink across the road.
- Early evening specials for dining. These seemed very commonplace, offering a very good discount for eating before ~ 7pm
- St Stephens green is ok to briefly break the feel of being in a city, but walking along the river/canal can also help
- Neon Street food on Camden St is a communal table place with great value, tasty thai food, with a help yourself Mr Whippy ice-cream for dessert. Grab seats when they come free, then order at the counter. Nice if you like a vibrant / good value place, but less so if looking for something more chilled... in which case the nearby....
- Camden Kitchen 3A Grantham St (just off Camden street) is a cosy bistro which I think was French/Spanish styled (perhaps Pyrenean? It became a personal favourite, as although the menu was quite small, there was always something I wanted.
- If you like beer and want a change from just the black stuff, Against the Grain 11 Wexford St, (a little closer to the centre, effectively on the same road as Camden St) has a wonderful range and surprisingly good yet simple pub food

I hope these are of use - in no way claimed to be 'best of the best', but places I enjoyed when base on that side of the city, mostly in the Camden Court hotel
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Thanks for your kind words and helpful advice, @Ian Sutton .

I forgot to mention that I did change our flight from Tampa to Chicago - the flight to Dublin doesn't leave until 10:15 p.m., and we were booked on a 5:00 flight from Tampa. Because we booked with FF miles I was able to change the departure time to an earlier flight, just in case...... At least we'll have plenty of time in Chicago in case they do cancel the transatlantic leg.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
I agree, everything about travel is stressful these days. It looks like you have built in extra time on your travel days, which is a good approach. My current motto in my life is "lower your expectations". Maybe that is a good motto for travel right now.

Many people are happily traveling now in Europe. I heard a travel person say that all the news is about cancelled flights, but really there are many people flying without problems. Now they seem to be cancelling them well ahead of time at least.

I've never heard about number of hours worked per month, just number of hours worked in a row.
 

joe

500+ Posts
Many people are happily traveling now in Europe. I heard a travel person say that all the news is about cancelled flights, but really there are many people flying without problems.

It certainly seems to be a mixed bag.

A friend of ours just flew in from Paris (albeit with only a carry-on). Landed in Tel Aviv at 19:00, and said he was out of the airport in 15 minutes. This while we are being shown items in the news of horrific lines there.

OTOH his security check in Paris was not efficient - long lines, and luggage being taken off the belt randomly to be inspected by hand, causing bottlenecks. This in a new terminal, supposedly.

I agree, everything about travel is stressful these days.... My current motto in my life is "lower your expectations". Maybe that is a good motto for travel right now.

If there's a word I'd add to that, especially with Covid, the war in Ukraine, and above all, climate change, then it's "Adapt". Those of us who have lived the past 50-60 years in a Western democracy and have enjoyed the economic boom and relative stability, might have to get used to the idea that the coming years will be different, and most probably not as good.

Hope your trip goes well!
 

BryanS

100+ Posts
We just got home from a long visit with family in the US. The planes from/to Italy were full and very few masks being worn (the Delta staff was without masks, the ITA staff was masked) on flights and in airports - we were the exception.

The airports were full and again very few masks. Long lines at security for the larger airports.

Saw several US domestic flights were cancelled. Seemed like mostly weather and staff issues. We had one US domestic delay but made all of our flights.

In the one hotel we stayed at in the US - not a mask to be seen.

Interesting observation: on 2 different US domestic flights people near us were unmasked in the airport and on the flight but as soon as they sat down in their assigned seats they pulled out sanitizing wipes to wipe-down their area. Worried about the surfaces but not the highly contagious germs in the air??!! Boh!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Covid infection rates are rising in the UK. Paul Charles on Twitter says:

Is a European Covid wave now evident from flight cancellations? In the last 7 days, 4,384 European departures cancelled, up 78% on previous week. Germany accounted for 21% of them. Norway and France saw more cancelled than the UK (400 canx, up 160% on 2019). @cirium @ThePCAgency

Edited to add: Apparently there was a strike in Norway which contributed to their numbers.
 

joe

500+ Posts
Anyone worried about the current Covid situation in any particular country should just check the R rate for that country/region. Presently this number is usually low, although slightly greater than 1. For example, the current R estimate for the UK is about 1.2 - which means that there is still a small ongoing increase in infections. For every ten people infected, the virus will spread to twelve others.
There are some national health ministries that have set up online "dashboards", so that all known data with regards the Covid situation can be freely viewed, while being updated daily. This is usually a good tool to get a pretty reliable view of what's going on, although of course is completely dependent on the amount of testing done, and to what extent citizens report their situation.
 

joe

500+ Posts
An article from yesterday's Guardian describing how Covid is on the rise in popular European tourist destinations. Bottom line - pays to take caution and be prepared for surprises, although presently the situation is not too bad.

 

lisaonthecape

10+ Posts
Maybe we were lucky because our trip was a bit earlier, but we were in Italy from May 20th through June 4th. We flew from Boston to Amsterdam, and then to Bologna, because we waited too long to get the direct flight to Rome using FF miles. The only sticky spot was on the flight home, as the flight from Bologna was delayed several hours due to issues at Schiphol, but we (barely) made our connecting flight home. Within Italy, we took trains everywhere, and made a big loop from Bologna to Modena, then Mantova, Padova, and Ferrara, before returning to Bologna. Masks were required on the train, and there were no issues whatsoever with the train service. (This was the trip we had originally planned in 2020, which obviously didn't happen, so we were thrilled to be back in Italy.)
 

Sharon J

100+ Posts
An article from yesterday's Guardian describing how Covid is on the rise in popular European tourist destinations. Bottom line - pays to take caution and be prepared for surprises, although presently the situation is not too bad.


We live in Beaufort, SC. It's between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, SC. Our neighbor was feeling really bad, and discovered she has Covid. Getting a bit nervous.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
I am more nervous too. Two friends of mine got Covid after an international flight. Both are quite sick. They were N95 masked and very cautious. On Twitter it seems like everyone has Covid right now!

I am looking at a better quality mask, the Flo Mask from the US.

We are still planning our Switzerland trip in September. We drive there from the UK, so no flights, but 2 nights in hotels on the way across. I bought a portable HEPA filter to run in the hotel rooms and to use in our apartment in Switzerland. I run HEPA filters at home to help mitigate allergies.

I think we had a window in spring where cases were low and omicron was mild, but now we are in a new wave and this BA5 variant is not mild. Hopefully it will be over in a few weeks.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I've worked so hard to stay healthy, and now I practically feel doomed! We'll be in Ireland for 7 days, Scotland for 8, and London for 8 more - then 2 months in Italy. With all that moving around it seems all but impossible to escape.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
In the article he said 1 in 18 had Covid in Scotland. So 17 out of 18 didn’t!

Wear your N95 mask all the time in the airport and on the flight. In an article that I read the author eats a meal before the flight so he doesn’t have to remove his mask on the flight.

Consider one of the elastomeric masks. I ordered the Flo Masks for us.

I bought a portable HEPA filter to run in the hotel rooms when we drive to Switzerland. Probably excessive.

Hoping the wave is over soon!
 

joe

500+ Posts
From what I read, the good news about the new variants is that their symptoms are not worse than the Omicron parent, and that, while there has been an increase in hospitalizations and sickness relative to the recent "calm" we've had, the situation does not have the potential to be as extreme as in previous waves. Combine this with the outlook that variant-specific boosters might soon be rolling out, and all-in-all things are looking far from disastrous.
The bad news is that some of the new variants apparently have unprecedented transmissibility, travel numbers are almost back to pre-Covid levels, and most types of restrictions have been taken off the table.

It certainly becomes harder to roll with the punches when we get older, but there's still a lot to be thankful for when considering how relatively easy it is to travel.

BTW there was a nice article in the NYT, by a flight attendant who provided some tips on how not to get into trouble with the other aspect of this year's travel woes - the shortage in manpower.
Two of the better ones :
A one-hour layover is no longer enough time to make a connection, better to plan a three-hour one.
Fly as early in the day as possible, it's usually the later flights that are cancelled.
 
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