Author Topic: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread  (Read 101319 times)

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Offline Count Walewski

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3150: January 01, 2022, 11:48:59 AM »
Made it safely to the USA, but not without a slight hiccup in Vienna.

When booking Malta to Chicago, I booked with Austrian Airlines. It was an Austrian Arlines flight operated by Air Malta from Malta to Vienna, and then Austrian from Vienna to Chicago. In Malta when I checked in, they printed me a boarding pass to Vienna, and also printed me a boarding pass for the Vienna to Chicago flight on Air Malta paper.

We landed at Vienna at 9:20 AM, and our flight to Chicago began boarding at 9:15 AM. We ran to our gate, only to be told that our boarding pass was no good! We had to go to the Austrian air and have our boarding passes reprinted on Austrian paper. Thankfully, the place we had to do this was only 10 gates away and we were able to make our flight, but if we had to go to another terminal or something we could have easily missed our flight.

This happened once before to me: around 2014 I was flying Alitalia to Rome out of Philadelphia, and my flight from Reagan to Philly was an Alitalia flight operated by I think US Airways. At Reagan I got boarding passes for the PHI -> Rome flight printed on US Airways paper. In Philly, I was told I could not board my Alitalia flight with this boarding pass and I needed to find the tiny Alitalia desk to get it reprinted.

What kind of weird bureaucratic rule did I run afoul of in these situations?

Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3151: January 01, 2022, 11:51:50 AM »
that's a really short connection.  I'll say a prayer that your bags made it onto your Chicago-bound flight. :)

Flying rules when moving between airlines have always been odd. I remember years ago when I regularly traveled to Europe that if I booked a flight through United, I couldn't use miles to upgrade because of some odd fare rule. But if I booked the same flight through Lufthansa, I could easily use United miles to upgrade.

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3152: January 01, 2022, 01:43:01 PM »
Made it safely to the USA, but not without a slight hiccup in Vienna.

When booking Malta to Chicago, I booked with Austrian Airlines. It was an Austrian Arlines flight operated by Air Malta from Malta to Vienna, and then Austrian from Vienna to Chicago. In Malta when I checked in, they printed me a boarding pass to Vienna, and also printed me a boarding pass for the Vienna to Chicago flight on Air Malta paper.

We landed at Vienna at 9:20 AM, and our flight to Chicago began boarding at 9:15 AM. We ran to our gate, only to be told that our boarding pass was no good! We had to go to the Austrian air and have our boarding passes reprinted on Austrian paper. Thankfully, the place we had to do this was only 10 gates away and we were able to make our flight, but if we had to go to another terminal or something we could have easily missed our flight.

This happened once before to me: around 2014 I was flying Alitalia to Rome out of Philadelphia, and my flight from Reagan to Philly was an Alitalia flight operated by I think US Airways. At Reagan I got boarding passes for the PHI -> Rome flight printed on US Airways paper. In Philly, I was told I could not board my Alitalia flight with this boarding pass and I needed to find the tiny Alitalia desk to get it reprinted.

What kind of weird bureaucratic rule did I run afoul of in these situations?

This may be just me pulling something random out of my hindquarters, but it may have to do with airline alliances (loyalty programmes and beyond - I'm a member of two such schemes myself). In the first instance I note that the first flight was with Air Malta (not a member of any alliance) and the second was with Austrian (Star Alliance) - the resulting incompatibility may have crossed you up there. In the second instance the first airline was the late-but-not-necessarily-lamented Alitalia (a Skyteam member) and the second was USAirways (unaffiliated at that time) - again this incompatibility may have been the fly in the ointment. (Were any of these flights under an official codeshare? I fly to the Baltics regularly on KLM (Skyteam) connecting to airBaltic (unaffiliated) but under an official codeshare with both airBaltic and KLM flight numbers so I've never had any problems.)

Quick question: Does Vienna airport still have security at each gate rather than centralised? I remember flying to Slovenia via Vienna in 2003 and having to go through security at the departure gate - took forever and was a real mess. (I'm booked into there for Bratislava about 3 1/2 months hence.)

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3153: January 01, 2022, 02:22:25 PM »
OC, did you say that you recently had the 2nd-day PCR test at LHR on your day of arrival?  I am trying to figure out what to do with my Feb tickets...I'm tempted to go anyways even though the show I was going to see has been cancelled simply because I got United Polaris seats for a ridiculously low number of miles at the height of delta, but the MHRA requirement for a "2nd day" PCR test is kind of keeping me on the fence.  Kind of a fool's errand over just a flight, but I prefer being on planes to being on the ground these days :P 


Offline OldChelsea

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3154: January 01, 2022, 02:43:58 PM »
OC, did you say that you recently had the 2nd-day PCR test at LHR on your day of arrival?  I am trying to figure out what to do with my Feb tickets...I'm tempted to go anyways even though the show I was going to see has been cancelled simply because I got United Polaris seats for a ridiculously low number of miles at the height of delta, but the MHRA requirement for a "2nd day" PCR test is kind of keeping me on the fence.  Kind of a fool's errand over just a flight, but I prefer being on planes to being on the ground these days :P 



At the time of my trip (23rd November - 14th December) I didn't need the PCR for my arrival, just the rapid antigen test - if you're flying BA there are testing facilities at both the arrivals and departures levels in terminal 5 (when you emerge from terminal 5 arrivals go to your left all the way to the end of the hall and you'll find the facility) - for bookings see https://www.expresstest.co.uk/london-heathrow-airport?utm_source=website&utm_medium=Link%20from%20Heathrow.com&utm_campaign=Heathrow#book.

I booked my Day 2 arrival test a few days before departure and it went off without a hitch. Costs about 20 pounds.

If you're staying anywhere near the Bloomsbury area there's a very nice little clinic nearby called Zen Health in Southampton Row across from Russell Square, and they do rapid-antigen tests on advance bookings for about the same price. More details: https://www.zenhealthcare.co.uk/

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3155: January 01, 2022, 02:54:15 PM »
Good info, thanks  :thumbs:

Offline Count Walewski

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3156: January 01, 2022, 05:38:32 PM »
This may be just me pulling something random out of my hindquarters, but it may have to do with airline alliances (loyalty programmes and beyond - I'm a member of two such schemes myself). In the first instance I note that the first flight was with Air Malta (not a member of any alliance) and the second was with Austrian (Star Alliance) - the resulting incompatibility may have crossed you up there. In the second instance the first airline was the late-but-not-necessarily-lamented Alitalia (a Skyteam member) and the second was USAirways (unaffiliated at that time) - again this incompatibility may have been the fly in the ointment. (Were any of these flights under an official codeshare? I fly to the Baltics regularly on KLM (Skyteam) connecting to airBaltic (unaffiliated) but under an official codeshare with both airBaltic and KLM flight numbers so I've never had any problems.)

Quick question: Does Vienna airport still have security at each gate rather than centralised? I remember flying to Slovenia via Vienna in 2003 and having to go through security at the departure gate - took forever and was a real mess. (I'm booked into there for Bratislava about 3 1/2 months hence.)

In both cases, these were official codeshare flights. But yes that's different than being part of an alliance. Kinda crazy that they even bothered to print me the second boarding pass in both cases.

I did not have to pass through security at all in Vienna while changing planes, suggesting to me that they no longer do security at the gate. I know that Amsterdam-Schipol, which used to be my fav airport in Europe because they did security at the gate, no longer does that. :(

Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3157: January 01, 2022, 05:48:43 PM »
Did you get your bags?

Offline imref

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Offline tomterp

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3159: January 06, 2022, 08:57:59 PM »
Every US cruise has covid aboard:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2022/01/05/every-cruise-ship-covid-cdc/

My inlaws just left port a couple days ago on the Silver Moon.  One of the couple they were traveling with tested positive before boarding and the couple were booted.

Inlaws are 91 and 88, have been postponing cruises for a couple years now and finally decided to go for it, booking just before Delta.  It's hard to do long term planning these days.  Should I visit Ireland in May?  Is that going to be a trough or a spike?

Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3160: January 06, 2022, 09:07:55 PM »
My inlaws just left port a couple days ago on the Silver Moon.  One of the couple they were traveling with tested positive before boarding and the couple were booted.

Inlaws are 91 and 88, have been postponing cruises for a couple years now and finally decided to go for it, booking just before Delta.  It's hard to do long term planning these days.  Should I visit Ireland in May?  Is that going to be a trough or a spike?

I think at this point you just have to live. Covid is endemic, and those vaccinated/boosted without immune system issues are at low risk of severe disease.

Offline blue911

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3161: January 07, 2022, 07:32:12 AM »
My inlaws just left port a couple days ago on the Silver Moon.  One of the couple they were traveling with tested positive before boarding and the couple were booted.

Inlaws are 91 and 88, have been postponing cruises for a couple years now and finally decided to go for it, booking just before Delta.  It's hard to do long term planning these days.  Should I visit Ireland in May?  Is that going to be a trough or a spike?

Going to the Northwest 200?

Offline Count Walewski

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3162: January 07, 2022, 09:59:34 AM »
My in-laws, who are in their late 60's, take 2-3 cruises a year. They took one cruise already during the Omicron spike in December (somebody on board their ship tested positive) and they will surely take more cruises this year no matter what happens. Hell they didn't cancel their cruise in MARCH OF 2020 when COVID originally broke and keep in mind cruises were one of the first places where COVID spread.

Cruises are kind of like the civil war, the people who are into them are REALLY into them.

Agree on the frustration around long-term planning. I was usually the kind of person before the pandemic who planned vacations 6+ months in advance, hell once I planned a vacation 1.5 years in advance. Can't do that now. I planned my trip to Malta a month in advance and Omicron broke out during that month.

I have a week off for Spring Break in April. What I'm doing is planning like 3 separate possible trips, and then hopefully one of those ends up being possible/workable with how the pandemic and entry rules break out between now and then.

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3163: January 07, 2022, 10:21:32 AM »
My in-laws, who are in their late 60's, take 2-3 cruises a year. They took one cruise already during the Omicron spike in December (somebody on board their ship tested positive) and they will surely take more cruises this year no matter what happens. Hell they didn't cancel their cruise in MARCH OF 2020 when COVID originally broke and keep in mind cruises were one of the first places where COVID spread.

Cruises are kind of like the civil war, the people who are into them are REALLY into them.

Agree on the frustration around long-term planning. I was usually the kind of person before the pandemic who planned vacations 6+ months in advance, hell once I planned a vacation 1.5 years in advance. Can't do that now. I planned my trip to Malta a month in advance and Omicron broke out during that month.

I have a week off for Spring Break in April. What I'm doing is planning like 3 separate possible trips, and then hopefully one of those ends up being possible/workable with how the pandemic and entry rules break out between now and then.

I book my trips well in advance too. British Airways let you book up to 354 days in advance (don't ask me where they got that specific number) and I've already got my annual November/December London flights booked; I also have much-rescheduled trips to Vilnius, Stockholm and Bratislava booked for the upcoming spring. If you know you're going to go somewhere, you may as well plunk your money down now and get your seat booked.

Travel is life...everything else is just details. If the airline flight lanes are up and running on the days I've booked, I want to be ready. To the fullest extent possible I'm going to be travelling, rather than let some stupid virus push me around. (And so far so good - my London trip from this past November/December, including two rapid-antigen tests, went off without a hitch.)

Offline skippy1999

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3164: January 07, 2022, 10:45:21 AM »
Headed to Vegas for the weekend, I’ll buy the team and run it the right way once I win my fortune  8)

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3165: January 07, 2022, 11:32:01 AM »
Bring back the $5 Pilsner Urquell  :pray:
Headed to Vegas for the weekend, I’ll buy the team and run it the right way once I win my fortune  8)

Offline Count Walewski

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3166: January 08, 2022, 07:05:55 PM »
I also have much-rescheduled trips to Vilnius, Stockholm and Bratislava booked for the upcoming spring.

Man you know what COVID-19 has killed for me? The multi-country international trip. I used to do things like spend 2 weeks visiting 6 different countries but that seems totally unsustainable in a world with every country having slightly different rules and tests and such being required even to cross Schengen borders.

For April 2022, I am thinking Panama. In another time it might be Panama and Costa Rica, or Panama and Colombia, but for right now it's logistically difficult to meet the test/vax proof requirements for even one country.

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3167: January 08, 2022, 08:08:29 PM »
Miss this so much.

Bring back the $5 Pilsner Urquell  :pray:

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3168: January 09, 2022, 09:15:32 AM »
Man you know what COVID-19 has killed for me? The multi-country international trip. I used to do things like spend 2 weeks visiting 6 different countries but that seems totally unsustainable in a world with every country having slightly different rules and tests and such being required even to cross Schengen borders.

For April 2022, I am thinking Panama. In another time it might be Panama and Costa Rica, or Panama and Colombia, but for right now it's logistically difficult to meet the test/vax proof requirements for even one country.

...very true...and it doesn't help matters that not only do these requirements vary from country to country (and US state to US state) but these requirements can change almost daily.

Offline OldChelsea

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Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3170: January 09, 2022, 05:16:26 PM »
Flight from florida landed an hour ago. Still no bags. Dulles is a zoo

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3171: January 10, 2022, 10:31:53 AM »
Flight from florida landed an hour ago. Still no bags. Dulles is a zoo

Probably a sign that bookings are recovering from that rash of cancelled flights and from the pandemic generally. When I returned from London this past 14th December at a bit after 20.00 there weren't that many people in international arrivals or landside.

Latest negative Dulles development: they now want $6 to hire a SmarteCarte, including in international arrivals. BOO! (On a more positive note, the Dulles Metrorail station may finally open as scheduled - now let's make sure those travelators work.)

Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3172: January 10, 2022, 11:15:29 AM »
Probably a sign that bookings are recovering from that rash of cancelled flights and from the pandemic generally. When I returned from London this past 14th December at a bit after 20.00 there weren't that many people in international arrivals or landside.

Latest negative Dulles development: they now want $6 to hire a SmarteCarte, including in international arrivals. BOO! (On a more positive note, the Dulles Metrorail station may finally open as scheduled - now let's make sure those travelators work.)

On the flip side, they no longer charge for smart carts in the parking garages, and they were plentiful.

We got our bags after about 90 minutes.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3173: January 10, 2022, 05:59:05 PM »
I recall there being a major coke bust involving MIA baggage handlers, perhaps the cold weather slowed down the product removal on the receiving end  :P 
On the flip side, they no longer charge for smart carts in the parking garages, and they were plentiful.

We got our bags after about 90 minutes.


Offline tomterp

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #3174: January 12, 2022, 04:46:54 PM »
Going to the Northwest 200?

Hummm, might have to get my 1952 Vincent Black Lightning out of mothballs.