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Summer Reflection: Thankful For The Limited Travel We Enjoyed

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With summer basically over and our kids going back to school today, I am reflecting on how differently the past several months turned out compared to what I had hoped. Before COVID-19 hit, I’d planner to take each of the older ones on a one-on-one trip to spend some dedicated time with each of them. One of these was supposed to be an international trip. Travel is one of the things that I enjoy most with my kids. I’m (generally) able to focus entirely on our experience together and unplug from work obligations for a few days, although that can be difficult as a consultant.

They were supposed to have various camps and sports to fill out the summer, which would have kept us very busy. Nearly all of that was canceled, obviously. Even my son’s fall soccer season has been axed. Normally, this might have meant we could travel more. The calendar really opened up compared to a typical year. But that was obviously not the case in 2020. I really wanted to travel, but we’d keep the summer limited to a couple domestic trips.

Las Vegas: Not My First Choice

Back in June I took the older of my two boys to Las Vegas for a few days. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll recall that Las Vegas is pretty much at the bottom of my destination list. However, it was were one of the only places that was both reasonably open and easily accessible from California at the time. With greater restrictions in the Golden State, I was itching to get out. I’d already visited Tucson to do some hiking in May and didn’t want to repeat that same trip.

Even though it was Las Vegas, we had a fun trip. My son and I enjoyed hiking in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, driving up to Mt. Charleston, burning a couple hours at the pinball hall of fame, and eating out along the strip. It was a great quick trip. I’ve really enjoyed our father-son travel over the past few years, taking him to places as close as Seattle and as far away as Taiwan. I’m super glad we got to do something this summer. Even if it was a trip to Las Vegas!

Ironically, I’d end up in Vegas a second time this summer for one night on a work trip to southern Utah. If only it was a different destination. Hotels for $17 per night is something I would take advantage of all the time.

Five Days in Florida

The only other trip this summer that I managed was a 5-night trip to Florida, with my two older kids. We had a family trip penciled in the following week, but for various reasons ended up canceling. My wife and daughter enjoyed a girls weekend before school started, and a third trip in August would have been too hectic. Florida was (sadly) the capstone trip of the summer for me.

Still, I am incredibly thankful that the kids and I were able to enjoy the several days away. Our four nights in Daytona Beach were awesome. We enjoyed swimming and splashing in the surf on more than one morning. A day trip to St. Augustine and another to the Ocala National Forest filled out our time in central Florida. The latter excursion will probably be seared into my daughter’s mind as one of the worst adventures we have had. More on that later. I still need to fully blog our trip.

My daughter managed to convince me to ride the Daytona Beach Slingshot. I’d only seen videos of the ride, and once she spotted it at the pier, it was all she wanted to do. I’m not a major amusement park guy, and rides rarely make me nervous. This one did. I’d not experienced the jitters like this is years. According to my daughter, I screamed far more than she did. Memories.

Final Thoughts

I know that travel was completely out for some this summer due to COVID-19. Once May arrived and I started digging into the numbers, I personally decided that I am entirely comfortable traveling domestically (and internationally, if countries are open). Flights on our most recent trip were more full, but this is something the airlines need to simply stay afloat. The number of people traveling has been increasing, but it still wasn’t anything close to a normal summer.

I’m hopeful that summer 2021 will be better. I already have one international trip penciled in with my older son, and I’d like to put a full family trip abroad on the calendar as well. Our youngest will turn 7 next summer, and I’d love to explore somewhere in Europe for a couple weeks all together. As COVID-19 subsides and places will open up, we’ll have a better picture of what is possible.

The post Summer Reflection: Thankful For The Limited Travel We Enjoyed appeared first on TravelUpdate.

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Vacation

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

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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 Airliners.net 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?
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/ansett-airlines-inflight-bar-menu/
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?

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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?
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/11/18/science/shrimp-parade-thailand.html
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?

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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.

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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: travelupdate.com/aer-lingus-manchester/
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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