More Trouble For Travelers in Greece

June 29, 2010 on 8:56 am | In Greece Travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

The BBC published a story today about the current Greek strike that is stranding tourists by the boatload. The public service employees strike has shut down transportation and medical services in much of the country. Of interest to travelers, ferry passage to the Greek Islands from Piraeus (Athens) is now closed. Air travel, while sometimes a good alternative for travel to some of the Greek Islands was also shut down by the strikers. The current strike comes on the back of another ferry strike last week that was ruled illegal by the Greek courts, but the police did not enforce the ruling and the passengers were stranded.

This summer is the worst strike season in Greece in recent memory. The strike situation, a result of the country’s economic problems, has been prolonged and many think that it may come to a climax in the near future. We suspect that the “strike environment” will last the entire summer, but our opinion appears to be a minority one, at present.

While Greece and the Greek Islands have much to offer the tourist, no one wants to travel with the uncertainty posed by the current situation. The disasterous economic conditions, combined with the reduction in tourist trade caused by the strikes, will certainly drive some of the tourist operations in Greece out of business and undoubtedly harm those that manage to survive this year’s problem. Perhaps, more importantly, the situation is destined to sour many visitors from considering vacation travel to Greece now or in the future.

If you have travel plans that include visiting Greece over the rest of the summer, be prepared for delays and unexpected interruptions due to strikes and possible civil disorder.

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British Airways, Safe for Now?

June 27, 2010 on 10:35 am | In London travel, UK Travel, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | 1 Comment

According to the Wall Street Journal, Unite, the union representing the cabin crews at British Airways have decided to postpone a vote on further strike action against the airline in order to consider a new offer from BA.

It still remains possible that the BA crews will strike in August, but the airline has taken various steps that they believe will allow them to operate all longhaul flights, as well as a substantial portion of the shorhaul flights from London Heathrow.

If you plan of flying British Airways during the next month or two, be sure to check with the airline to determine that you reservations are still intact.

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British Airways Strike – Volcano Sleeps

May 24, 2010 on 7:28 am | In, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

The British Airways Cabin Crews are now officially on strike this week and two additional five-day strikes are planned for May 30 and June 5. The strike has reduced overall BA traffic by 60 percent and its long haul traffic by 50 percent. See this article by the BBC for details.

On a related front, the volcano in Iceland has gone into a quiescent stage, although no one knows if the eruptions are over, or if the drop in action is just a lull. During the Eyjafallajokull volcano’s last major eruption (in the 1800s), it erupted on and off over a period of two years. For an excellent and informative graphic presentation on the volcano’s eruptions along with the why and how of their influence on air traffic, see this presentation from the BBC.

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This Week’s Strikes and Other Impediments to Travel

May 19, 2010 on 9:20 am | In Europe travel, Greece Travel, London travel, air travel, international travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, volcano travel warning | Comments Off

Another general strike against the government’s austerity plans is scheduled in Greece for tomorrow (Thursday). The prognosis is that the strike will disrupt public services and most transport, except air travel. Read about it at Kathimerini

Also, in the same publication is an article indicating that hotel occupancy in Greece is down 10 percent. In turn, the hotels have responded with price cuts reported at the 10 percent level. We suspect that bargains may be struck by those inclined to haggle (and it could be a prolonged haggle).

In the UK, the situation with the BA strike appears unsettled. Although the strike was banned by the courts, it still caused 20,000 cancellations yesterday and will likely have the same influence today. In addition, the cabin crews are seeking to have the courts overturn the injunction on striking. See this updated article in Bloomberg – Business Week for more details.

The Iceland volcano caused problems over the weekend for flights in the UK and Ireland and yesterday in the eastern Mediterranean. Britain and Ireland have relaxed the rules for flying in “ash cloud” situations. Read this article from The New York Times for more details.

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More Air Travel Woes – Volcano and Strike

May 10, 2010 on 8:15 am | In Europe travel, Ireland travel,, air travel, personal travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings, volcano travel warning | 1 Comment

Well, the Eyjafjallajokul Volcano is at it again and it is expected that air travel to and in Europe may be disrupted later this week (see this article at CNN). In addition, the cloud of volcanic ash is causing travel disruptions in the UK especially Ireland, as described in this article from the Clare Herald. Finally, it appears that the ash clouds that were causing problems in Europe last week are now over the eastern Mediterranean according to this article in Haaretz.

It appears that there is continued life in Iceland’s volcano and this may spell trouble for air travelers this summer. If you are going to travel to (and around) Europe this summer, this might be the time to consider travel insurance – but be sure that the policy offers protection from acts of nature (most policies do not provide this type of rider).

If all of that wasn’t enough, the cabin crews of British Airways are at it again, announcing four separate five-day strikes in May and June. The strikes are scheduled to begin on May 18 -22, but we can only hope that the matter is settled before then. See the BBC for more details.

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More Air Strikes in Europe

March 18, 2010 on 1:53 pm | In France Travel,, UK Travel, air travel, portugal travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

There are so many airline strikes popping up that you need to scorecard to keep track of the action. Both British Airways and Air France are to be struck by trade unions starting March 28 and lasting through the 31st. Portuguese pilots are scheduled to be on strike from March 26 to March 31, making quite a run-up to the Easter weekend. For more information than you will likely want to know about these strikes and their potential, see this detailed article from the Telegraph.

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Strikes Continue In Greece

March 17, 2010 on 8:52 am | In Greece Travel,, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | 2 Comments

Greece is reeling from a fresh round of strikes. Doctors are striking over government payments they feel are being delayed without reason and, as a result, many state-run hopsitals are on “emergency” staffing. At the same time workers in the power industry are striking and this has caused blackouts in part of the country. Not to be left out, government workers joined the fray claiming that the government was unfairly focusing on the public sector to remedy the problems with its economic policies. Oh, gas stations will be on strike tomorrow. See the Kathimerini Times for more detail.

We know this is the time of year that many of you will be planning your vacations and Greece and the Greek Islands are always a popular choice. We think the strikes will make travel in Greece more difficult this year and you may want to limit your time on the mainland, if the financial crisis has not cooled down by the summer.

Strikes are a political reality in Greece and we suspect you can still have a great vacation in Greece this year, as long as you plan ahead. The most critical issue for travelers will be transportation. Make sure that you have back-up plans for air travel or for the use of ferries between the islands. Go with the flow – if you cannot travel and spend another day touring the attractions where you are “stuck”. If there is a strike that influences transportation, it is likely that other travelers will not be able to get to where you are and you may be able to extend your accommodations for another night with little problem. If you are driving the mainland, make sure you gas-up your car daily, as strikes will undoubtedly close petrol stations or influence the availability of fuel.

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French Air Traffic Controllers Strike

February 23, 2010 on 8:47 am | In Paris Travel,, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | 1 Comment

Air traffic controllers in Paris started a five-day strike protesting an air traffic modernization deal between several European countries. See this article from the BBC for more information.

We suspect that 2010 will be a year of strikes in Europe, due to the economy and will do our best to advise you of of strikes or potential strikes as soon as we are have definitive information about them.

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Lufthansa Strike Ends

February 22, 2010 on 4:36 pm | In, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | Comments Off

The four-day Lufthansa strike, scheduled to last until Thursday, has ended early. Approximately 900 flights were cancelled Monday and the union representing the cabin crews of British Airways had opted for a sympathy strike. See this article from Reuters for more details.

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Lufthansa Pilots To Strike

February 17, 2010 on 11:11 am | In, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | Comments Off

The Associated Press, in a story published by Forbes, indicates that the pilots working for Lufthansa will go on strike next Monday at midnight for four days. See this article for more information. If you have a booking with Lufthansa during this period, contact the airline to see what alternatives they may have for you.

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