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DJI flying over Mount Everest

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Airports

“Moving some of our passenger operations to other UK airports at such short notice is also not realistic,” the airline said. “Ensuring ground readiness to handle and turnaround a widebody long-haul aircraft with 500 passengers onboard is not as simple as finding a parking spot at a mall.”

Source: BBC

It’s worth asking how come (European) airports were unprepared for this rebound. I’ve travelled quite a bit within Asia1 the past few months, and I fail to see any of the same problems Europe is facing.

It seems like the big airports are affected most (AMS, LHR, FRA, MUC), whereas regional airports have long queues but due to lower loads are not affected as much. But then again, information is not super transparent, and it’s hard to figure out how many flights are cancelled in Brussels or Copenhagen as opposed to Amsterdam.

And Iceland seems to have plenty of staff… 😉

Stockholm airport a couple of weeks ago was a disaster in terms of massive queues (the only reason it was smooth for us, was because we had priority lane and were lucky to be able to skip the hour-long queues).

We can’t blame the sudden opening/dropping of Covid regulations either, as Europe has been significantly more lax and easy going than most Asian countries that basically went from lockdown/full test regiment/quarantine to opening up in a matter of days or weeks.

One could also argue Asia does not have the same workers’ protection/unions/training/safety standards (which may be true in some cases, not sure about training for example) and generally salaries/costs are lower (i.e.: you could hire four for the price of one).

It’s also unfair to shove the costs back to the airlines (that need to rebook or refund passengers), while having to fly empty planes during Covid to retain their airport slots…

Note that most of the problems seem to affect departures (transit/arrivals are generally smooth).

Maybe having the entire ground-staff exist out of (underpaid) immigrations/interim/temp workers was not a sustainable model to start with, and that’s finally showing.

Do better, Europe.

1: Bali seems to be the exception: customs had super long queues, and their new visa regulations (i.e.: many people now need to buy a visa-on-arrival, when that wasn't needed before) added to confusion and people being sent back to buy their VoA. 
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Deutsche Bahn joins Star Alliance 

DB joins Star Alliance. Wonderful news.

Just like Air France-KLM is already offering Thalys tickets for some of its flights from Brussels: instead of departing from BRU airport to AMS or CDG; just take a train from Brussels South.

It looks like Lufthansa, and soon all of Star Alliance, will offer more comprehensive (long-haul) tickets including a train ride to or from your final destination.

Can only applaud this: planes are here to stay; but I’d 100% prefer to take the train (at least a high-speed one like Thalys, Eurostar or the Shinkansen) over a small CRJ9, A220 or other sardine cans for my layover flight (BRU doesn’t have a lot of decent direct connections to Asia). These inter-city flights (short distance, frequent take-off and landing) heavily contributing to noise and environmental pollution.

Europe will also impose additional tax on short flights, so hopefully this may make the entire journey a bit cheaper (and more relaxing).

Oh, and if I get miles for this, it’s even better (and I’m going to guess a lot of people think the same: earning miles on train rides, yay).

Deutsche Bahn is the first company outside the aviation industry to become a partner in an international airline alliance.

Deutsche Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn are already working together on the German transport market and are offering joint tickets. This service could also be opened up to the customers of the other Alliance members.

Source: Aviation24
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A Wes Anderson-ish Singapore

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Highest Railway Station In Europe: Jungfraujoch In Switzerland