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Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Old Oct 4th 2020, 4:11 am
  #106  
 
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
Yeah, we will. Thank goodness for the internet. Other people are in a much worse situation than us.
We have had so many Skype or Zoom birthday celebrations this year it is starting to feel normal, unfortunately!

Happy 21st to the once Little Lion now grown and the pride of LiW!
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Old Oct 4th 2020, 5:43 am
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by Sugarmooma View Post
We have had so many Skype or Zoom birthday celebrations this year it is starting to feel normal, unfortunately!

Happy 21st to the once Little Lion now grown and the pride of LiW!
Thanks. He's the same sweet, easy going fella he's always been.
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Old Oct 6th 2020, 1:19 pm
  #108  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
As US financial support of airlines has recently ended, you might see flights slashed even further by Christmas as airlines struggle to survive. Flying routes with 10% of seats occupied is clearly not financially viable, and without the massive subsidies many routes are not going to survive. Under that scenario I could see many routes being suspended, with only transatlantic flights from the largest US hubs in an attempt to create flights with 75%+ occupancy.
TATL flights are essentially limited to those who are allowed to fly - UK citizens/LPRs and dual nationals. Such flights are generally about 10-15% full, which given the limited categories allowed to fly seems pretty high (although on a recent flight there were some South Africans - so connecting pax). The current flights (e.g. BA) are breaking even on the cargo (prices of which trebled at the start of the outbreak), so fare-paying pax are a bonus.
In terms of risk, it's depends on the individual. The flights I've taken on the TATL (point-to-point, no connections) have been empty - 30 pax on a A350 (so <10% full). International terminals have been empty. It's probably not the air travel itself you have to worry about....
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Old Oct 6th 2020, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
It's all a bit shit really. On Monday, I will be missing my son's 21st birthday.

Good thing we're all trained in the stiff upper lip.
Happy Birthday to the Little Lion!
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Old Oct 7th 2020, 2:41 pm
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by lizzyq View Post
Happy Birthday to the Little Lion!
Thanks.

I really want to hop on a plane, as in now, but can't of course. I don't have four weeks to spare to sit in quarantine somewhere, and where in the UK would I do it anyway - and not here in the US either. Quarantining with high-risk person (my OH) doesn't make sense at all.
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Old Oct 7th 2020, 4:34 pm
  #111  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
.... Quarantining with high-risk person (my OH) doesn't make sense at all.
Very wise, but such knowledge and understanding of what "isolating" and "quarantining" are supposed to acheive is sadly lacking in large swathes of the population, probaly a majority.

Even someone posting on BE, I think on this thread, appeared to think that after-the-fact quarantining is mitigation for the person quarantining, when in fact it is only able to reduce the risk of you infecting someone else. If you have caught it, quarantining will do you no good at all.
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 5:03 pm
  #112  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

I just returned from the UK after a visit to see my dying father and I have a few observations on travel that might help people considering a trip:
  • Free flight changes. Remember that there is no fee to make a change, but you will have to pony up the difference if the new return date is more expensive than the one you booked. I booked an Aer Lingus flight through Expedia and my experience of changing the flights was very frustrating. It took three calls, the last one taking an hour and three quarters, to change my return date. The call center would put me on hold after every question and be gone for ten minutes at a time (with no audio indication that I was still on hold). When it came to calculate the difference in the flight cost they disappeared for twenty minutes "because we have to work the cost out manually, including taxes". The staff were polite but the process is really slow. I don't know why Expedia's computers seem to have stopped working. It cost me $300 to change the return date. Once it was all done everything went fine and I returned to the US last weekend. Also since they aren't operating as many aircraft the flight options for any given airline are limited so you may not have much choice on any given day.
  • Everyone on the flights I took (Madison, WI - Chicago - Dublin - London Heathrow - Isle of Man, and back) was wearing a mask, or face covering as I heard it called back in Blighty, and were generally considerate of each others' space. The flights between Madison and Chicago were the most crowded, being on a puddle jumper. The flight from Dublin to Chicago was the least crowded - maybe 30 passengers on an Airbus. Your experience may well vary during the Christmas holiday season. Slightly hilariously the airlines announce that you should maintain six foot of distance while boarding, but then you end up sat down with people all around you. Not the case on the return transatlantic flight where you had your pick of rows to stretch out in. Boarding was done beginning with the rear seats of the aircraft.
  • Airport shops and food outlets may be closed, and there may be no facilities at all after you pass through the security check. There was very little available at Dublin in terms of food outlets. Chicago Terminal One had about half of the facilities open. Heathrow Terminal Two was mostly open.
  • Getting through immigration and security was a doddle. I was one of three people when I went through security in Dublin. There was one immigration official and I got through in under a minute. If you've been to Dublin you'll know there's that long maze-like waiting area in front of the immigration desks. Empty. Wish I could have taken a picture.
  • Although they told us we had to complete a tracing form on re-entering the US they ran out of forms on the plane and told us we'd get one as we exited. There were no forms as we exited and were told not to worry. Traveling into the UK you do it all online.
  • The tube in London was much quieter than usual but I was traveling at the weekend. Everyone I saw on public transport was wearing a mask. I had to get from LHR to London City for my flight to the Isle of Man. There was nothing open at London City except the small newsagents. It's not a great place to spend six hours waiting for a flight under those conditions.
  • Not relevant to most I imagine, but I quarantined on the Isle of Man where my dad lives. The island has been able to aggressively manage Covid (one of the nice things about being a small island) and once you're finished with quarantine you enter a world with no restrictions whatsoever. You need to strictly follow the quarantine rules though as they lock you up if you don't, as five lads from Doncaster recently found out. They went over as 'essential workers' and were seen diverting to an off license on the way from the boat to their assigned accommodation. They were sent to the island's prison the next day on a 14 day sentence. They've since been released, but one of them tested positive for Covid which meant that the prison was - ahem - put into lockdown and no visitors are being allowed until they're sure there's no transmission.
Andy

Last edited by Ravenscroft; Oct 15th 2020 at 5:10 pm.
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 5:07 pm
  #113  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Welcome to BE Ravenscroft.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post an account of your travels.
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 6:02 pm
  #114  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

It's good to see someone write such an informative first post on BE. Quite a shock
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Old Oct 15th 2020, 6:08 pm
  #115  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Another welcome and thank you from me Andy, I'm sure your post will be really helpful to people who are flying.

I'm sorry your trip was for such a sad reason.
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 1:29 am
  #116  
 
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by Ravenscroft View Post
I just returned from the UK after a visit to see my dying father and I have a few observations on travel that might help people considering a trip:
  • Free flight changes. Remember that there is no fee to make a change, but you will have to pony up the difference if the new return date is more expensive than the one you booked. I booked an Aer Lingus flight through Expedia and my experience of changing the flights was very frustrating. It took three calls, the last one taking an hour and three quarters, to change my return date. The call center would put me on hold after every question and be gone for ten minutes at a time (with no audio indication that I was still on hold). When it came to calculate the difference in the flight cost they disappeared for twenty minutes "because we have to work the cost out manually, including taxes". The staff were polite but the process is really slow. I don't know why Expedia's computers seem to have stopped working. It cost me $300 to change the return date. Once it was all done everything went fine and I returned to the US last weekend. Also since they aren't operating as many aircraft the flight options for any given airline are limited so you may not have much choice on any given day.
  • Everyone on the flights I took (Madison, WI - Chicago - Dublin - London Heathrow - Isle of Man, and back) was wearing a mask, or face covering as I heard it called back in Blighty, and were generally considerate of each others' space. The flights between Madison and Chicago were the most crowded, being on a puddle jumper. The flight from Dublin to Chicago was the least crowded - maybe 30 passengers on an Airbus. Your experience may well vary during the Christmas holiday season. Slightly hilariously the airlines announce that you should maintain six foot of distance while boarding, but then you end up sat down with people all around you. Not the case on the return transatlantic flight where you had your pick of rows to stretch out in. Boarding was done beginning with the rear seats of the aircraft.
  • Airport shops and food outlets may be closed, and there may be no facilities at all after you pass through the security check. There was very little available at Dublin in terms of food outlets. Chicago Terminal One had about half of the facilities open. Heathrow Terminal Two was mostly open.
  • Getting through immigration and security was a doddle. I was one of three people when I went through security in Dublin. There was one immigration official and I got through in under a minute. If you've been to Dublin you'll know there's that long maze-like waiting area in front of the immigration desks. Empty. Wish I could have taken a picture.
  • Although they told us we had to complete a tracing form on re-entering the US they ran out of forms on the plane and told us we'd get one as we exited. There were no forms as we exited and were told not to worry. Traveling into the UK you do it all online.
  • The tube in London was much quieter than usual but I was traveling at the weekend. Everyone I saw on public transport was wearing a mask. I had to get from LHR to London City for my flight to the Isle of Man. There was nothing open at London City except the small newsagents. It's not a great place to spend six hours waiting for a flight under those conditions.
  • Not relevant to most I imagine, but I quarantined on the Isle of Man where my dad lives. The island has been able to aggressively manage Covid (one of the nice things about being a small island) and once you're finished with quarantine you enter a world with no restrictions whatsoever. You need to strictly follow the quarantine rules though as they lock you up if you don't, as five lads from Doncaster recently found out. They went over as 'essential workers' and were seen diverting to an off license on the way from the boat to their assigned accommodation. They were sent to the island's prison the next day on a 14 day sentence. They've since been released, but one of them tested positive for Covid which meant that the prison was - ahem - put into lockdown and no visitors are being allowed until they're sure there's no transmission.
Andy

Thanks for the info and sorry about the sad circumstances.

Hope you stick around to talk about other stuff too. You seem quite normal which will make a nice change
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 3:00 pm
  #117  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by Ravenscroft View Post
I just returned from the UK after a visit to see my dying father and I have a few observations on travel that might help people considering a trip:
This is extremely helpful and very informative. A 4 flight journey is quite the schlep, I'm sorry you had also to do it under such circumstances.

We're planning a trip to the UK in January, there's obviously some stress around it but we're planning it anyway. We'll rent a house (airbnb) for a month so that we can quarantine alone for 2 weeks, my husband has been working remotely since March and his employer doesn't have an issue with him working from the UK so he may as well do that during quarantine to save PTO, then he can take the second 2 weeks as vacation time. It's all a bit of a wing and a prayer at this point, we've isolated for the last 7 months, will continue to do so, obviously want to keep others safe. But my son and his wife are having a baby at the end of January - it's their third, with a 5 year old and a 2 year old, they're going to need help. D-I-L's stepdad has a very depleted immune system and picks up everything so she hasn't seen much more of her mum this year than she has us. Some may not agree it's essential travel, and it may not be, but we're going all the same.

Roll on coronavirus vaccine.... although that's gonna be a whole other can of worms...

Shezi
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 5:32 pm
  #118  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

I've been thinking even further forward to next summer when the rearranged Euro 2020 is supposed to take place. I still have tickets for games in Glasgow. If I go - which is a big "if" both because it's non-essential and the likelihood there won't be spectators anyway - I was thinking of flying to Manchester or Glasgow, finding a self-contained airBnB for two weeks in a location well served by food and grocery delivery, and then heading out for the rest of the trip.
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 7:39 pm
  #119  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
... I was thinking of flying to Manchester or Glasgow, finding a self-contained airBnB for two weeks in a location well served by food and grocery delivery, and then heading out for the rest of the trip.
That's pretty much exactly our plan - we've found one out in Greater Manchester that has Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda deliveries, lots of food deliveries, with a private garden out back so at least we'd be able to get some fresh air without seeing anyone else. I honestly can't begin to imagine what next year's going to look like. We had to cancel the flights I'd booked for my daughter and her children to come out to spend last Easter with us in the US, VA wanted us to hold a credit voucher valid for a year but things were so bad in March/April that I didn't think a year would be long enough so we took a refund. It's just a mess.
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Old Oct 16th 2020, 9:38 pm
  #120  
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Default Re: Who else is concerned about trip to UK for Christmas with family?

Thanks for the welcomes, folk.

Yeah, it was a rough trip emotionally. I knew when I moved to the US over twenty years ago that it would be challenging when my parents reached the end of their lives, but I didn't imagine Covid in the mix.

his employer doesn't have an issue with him working from the UK
This was my situation too. What I did was work 4-hour days and take PTO for the rest. 8am UK time is 2am CST so I was able to crank through emails and get work done in the morning, then visit my dad in the afternoon. I did have to attend some 9pm meetings that some bright spark scheduled for 3pm CST, but for the most part it went well. I couldn't sync my work Outlook account on my phone for some reason, but using a virtual private network on my laptop worked fine. The only wrinkle was that when you log in to the server at my office it sends a text message to your phone with a code that you have to enter on the laptop for authentication. I didn't want to pay for cell service while in the UK so that was a bit of a worry but I found that if I disabled all the Mobile Network settings on my phone I was still getting texts when connected to wifi. I did have a couple of charges for daily use appear on my bill with AT&T - still not sure why that happened - but they took them off without any fuss when I called them.

Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda deliveries, lots of food deliveries
I'd advise checking that there isn't a waiting list. We found that there was a 7 - 10 day wait list for delivery on the Isle of Man. Not sure if that was just the Manx tradition of traa dy lioarr ("time enough", sort of a Gaelic version of manana), being on a small island, or if it's something that mainland shops also have issues with. We were lucky enough to have local friends who dropped food off outside the door.

Last edited by Ravenscroft; Oct 16th 2020 at 9:40 pm. Reason: added missing work 'day'
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