An item in the Federal Register in October was missed the major news wires, but anyone planning travel using JFK Airport in New York in 2010 should reconsider their routing. The Port Authority will remove and, then construct a runway to completley replace current runway 13R/31L. Unfortunately, this is the airport’s main runway and handles 30 percent of the facility’s traffic and will be unavailable for use during this period. The rehab job will run from March 1 through Novemeber 15 of 2010 (if it stays on schedule), although the travel flow may improve later in the reconstruction. Read more about it here or just scan the paragraph below for an overview.
If you are planning international travel through JFK next year, consider taking another route. If you cannot avoid another route, make sure your have a significant amount of time between connections.
Beginning in March 2010, there will be runway and airfield
construction at JFK that will temporarily affect operations at the
airport. Runway 13R/31L is the airport’s most frequently used and
longest runway. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port
Authority) indicates the runway historically accommodates a significant
percentage of the annual air traffic operations at JFK, particularly
departures. The Port Authority plans to resurface the runway with
concrete and widen it to accommodate new large aircraft and to help
prevent ice ingestion. In addition, the Port Authority will install new
runway lighting, electrical infrastructure, and a new electrical feeder
system to the runway. The Port Authority opted for a more extensive
rehabilitation project to provide for a 40-year design life by
surfacing with concrete instead of an 8-year design life with asphalt;
however, the project will render Runway 13R/31L unavailable from March
1 until June 30, 2010. The western two-thirds of the runway will reopen
July 1, but its use will be limited under some weather and operating
conditions, primarily because some high-speed runway turnoffs and
navigational aids (NAVAIDS) will be unavailable until later in the
construction period. On September 15, Runway 4L/22R will close until
September 30 to resurface its intersection with Runway 13R/31L. The
entire Runway 13R/31L and its associated NAVAIDS will be fully
functional on November 15, 2010.
We apologize for the lack of “news” recently, but we have been out scouring the world to update ThereArePlaces and our Best Places to Visit. We are working on a comprehensive guide to Vienna and hope to have it out in a week or two.
One issue that continues to “shock” us when we travel is the cost of Internet Access in Europe. Hotels routinely charge 20 to 28 Euros for a day of connectivity. Those hotels that provide services for less, usually limit both the time and the bandwidth available, forcing you to connect at a higher cost if you want to send photos and other high volume data (and we average 300 to 500 photos a day – not to mention video).
Atlhough you might be tempted to think of the Europe as the EU, it is not federated in terms of roaming charges for phones. If you buy a voice and data plan for Germany, you will need another from France and another for Spain or be prepared to spend huge sums of money. Seems like telephone signals can freely travel across borders, but taking your phone across borders will cause you an arm and a leg, if you use it.
While on that topic, our iPhone was useless in Europe, since data roaming outside of our home territory in the U.S. is something that only Steve Jobs can afford. In order to travel with your iPhone and avoid huge charges, you need to set data roaming to off, use Airplane mode continuously and only dare to use your phone when you are near WiFi that you can use (since this can be used without charge from AT&T – but cannot be found free in most of Europe).
In other words, regardless of the device used, unless you have gazillions of dollars, you will find it hard to be connected on a constant basis in Europe. While you can hook-up at Internet cafes, these are good only for checking email and not for large scale file transfers or other operations that require secure connections.
Yep, you could solve all this problems with bundles of cash, but we travel the same way you do. We watch our spending and avoid activities that result in excessive charges. The end result, we were out of contact.
On the other hand, it was good to be traveling, as we are usually stuck in the office on administrative details. Autumn is often a great time to travel and this year was no exception. Yes, we ran into rain and some cold weather, but we did not run into large crowds at the more well-known attractions and had many of the less-popular attractions to ourselves.
The Republic of Ireland was on strike today and it was the largest public strike in 30 years. Ireland’s economy has been particularly hard hit by the downturn and a decline in property values is causing considerable angst in the country. The government has been cutting benefits, pensions and a host of services in order to attempt to balance its budget, but apparently has been doing so with enough consultation with those being influenced by these actions.
It is likely that airports will expereince slowdowns and it that customs services will be significantly understaffed as a result of today’s strike. Be prepared for slow going. Many hospitals have closed to appointments today and the Garda (police) have indicated that speeding tickets will not be given today. While today’s strike will cause difficulty for travelers, it may be just the buildup to further government cuts expected in mid-December and more civil unrest.
If you are planning travel in Ireland, keep an eye on the local press and be prepared for additional strikes in December.