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A Pit Stop and a Pause to Reflect on a Summer That Wasn’t



Labor Day weekend is typically a chance to take a last deep breath of summer — to fit in one final county fair, extended-family gathering, or long beach weekend — before settling into a new school year or returning to a busy fall.

But like everything else since the coronavirus arrived, the joys and rhythms of the long weekend felt different this year.

Still, after a summer marked by canceled plans, in which many people were largely confined to the boundaries of their neighborhoods or cities, Americans hit the road. In minivans and on motorcycles, with cats or kids, they pulled into highway rest stops like the Richard Stockton Rest Area along Interstate 95 in New Jersey to snack, fill up on gas and reflect on a summer that mostly wasn’t, and a fall they hoped would bring better.

For some families, this weekend was the first time all summer they felt safe enough to travel out of town; the first time they would see certain friends or family members since the country shut down and Americans were forced indoors.

Jonathan Martinez, a construction contractor from New Jersey, used the weekend to escape town and try to regain a sense of normalcy. Mr. Martinez, who was traveling to Northern Virginia with his wife and two sons to visit friends, said it was their first trip in months.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. He had dirt bikes strapped to his truck for riding on the trails behind his friend’s house. “Finally, we can take a little ride and enjoy their family.”

After months of isolation, some risks are worth taking, said James Haven, a health care policy researcher who paused at the rest stop with his wife and son on their way to Pennsylvania for a weekend getaway.

“I guess we just got fed up,” he said. “There’s a limit to how much we could stay indoors and not see friends. We have to create a decent quality of life for our 5-year-old. He has to see other kids, it’s really important at this age.”

A new season will bring new challenges, as schools grapple with reopening and it gets too cold for outdoor activities. Mr. Haven remains tentatively hopeful.

“Cases are in decline nationwide,” he said, “so I’m kind of just banking on that.”

It’s been really bad. We go nowhere. This is the first time we have been out of New York City.

We both were positive with the coronavirus in mid-April. When [her husband] started to stay home from work he was sick for almost two months and isolated in the home. Now we are feeling fine with the kids. It’s been hard but a little bit fun, too.

It’s his first road trip, we’re trying to see how it works. He needed to get out of the house too.

It’s hard to get close to people. I do fashion and events — there’s no events right now. I have not worked. We’ve been home for six months so we feel safe.

Two months in we ran out of things to occupy ourselves and we started to get stir crazy. We baked a lot at first. We watched a lot of cooking shows. The fall will probably be the same as my whole year has looked like but just colder.

We feel pretty safe. The masks, the sanitizer, we’re staying relatively distant from everyone.

Me and my husband are team driving, he’s asleep now. We can drive 10 hours each. We’re waiting now for a load so we don’t know where we’re headed next. I started driving in April. We have driven together probably 70,000 miles in that time. When we first started in New Jersey and New York, it was pretty heavy there — they wouldn’t even let us out of our truck. We just backed in and they unloaded.”

The roads were not as busy as they are now. It makes it a little difficult. I was in California last week and it took two and a half hours to drive 53 miles. Traffic is getting worse. You can tell people are back out and about and hopefully back to work themselves.

People stuck at home have got a lot more room to move around than I do, it’s pretty tight in here. We’re pretty much trapped in here most of the time.

I’ve got more faith than fear. I wear my mask when it’s required. Other than that I don’t wear it.

I asked my friends: ‘Who wants to come do this thing with me? It’s going to be random and weird. If you’re not comfortable you don’t have to.’ Several friends said they weren’t comfortable and they didn’t come.

I was supposed to go to Milwaukee for a paper doll collecting convention on Fourth of July weekend. Most of the paper doll clientele are twice my age so of course those guys will be looking out for themselves. I was bummed but I was not surprised.

We were tested about two weeks ago because we wanted to be tested before we see my in-laws who are elderly. It’s just the courteous thing to do if you’re going to to stay at someone’s house — you get tested.

We just got cooped up for too long. We started to move around the last two or three months. We’re now trying to re-create 2019 normal. We have to create a decent quality of life for our 5-year-old. He has to see other kids, it’s really important at this age. So he’s going to be exposed to other kids and we have to take that risk.

One thing is that we still don’t see our parents.

I was nervous months ago, but I’m not anymore. It feels like I’m being cognizant of the risk. My perceptions of risk for me and my family are quite low. I feel like things are going to go better in the fall.

I tend to think things will be OK. I think people should vote in person. In that way we will get to see the will of the country in greater confidence. There will be less room for fuss.

I was working for an insurance company but now I’ve been freelancing, doing home improvement work, working on cars.

I redid my whole basement. I’ll start something and say I’ll finish it tomorrow and then it becomes next Tuesday.

Riding in New York you can go through two rims a summer, you hit a pothole, it’s terrible. You’ve got to be on it. Here you can cruise a little more, get a little flow, enjoy the ride. It’s what it’s about. Hopefully the fall will be nice weather so I can ride as long as possible. I have a son who’s 1½ and a little sister who’s 16. Now I see them a lot more. I’ll swing by and there’s a bigger chance I’ll see them.

I pray for the best. I’m young and Black in America. It’s the worst. All lives matter, sure, but people forget that Black lives matter. I’ve been to one protest. I try to repost, you know, to support the cause.

Interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.

By: Kirsten Luce and Lucy Tompkins
Title: A Pit Stop and a Pause to Reflect on a Summer That Wasn’t
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Published Date: Mon, 07 Sep 2020 09:00:20 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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