questionshow has the volcanic ash situation in europe…

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This can affect anything really even things in Africa and it may start affecting flights here eventually. I have a friend who's Husband and 2 sons are still in Africa due to the fact that they can't fly back to Ireland.

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I don't know how feasible this is, but it's kind of a no brainer. Why don't the airplanes fly the other way around the world. So instead of going east from africa, go west.

Sure it will add 20hrs of flight time, but you will cross the international dateline and gain a day, so its a win-win situation right?

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@sgoman5674: Fuel? I have no clue why they won't go that way. Except that folks who do need to get into the UK, France, Netherlands and Germany are sort of stuck since the ash cloud is apparently over them or something. I was watching PBS News Hour last night and folks were Pissed off that it took 5 days for the European version of the FAA to even convene to discussion the situation. You know in the US they would have met in 24 hours or less.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/2010/0419/Iceland-volcano-costs-US-companies-millions-of-dollars

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@sgoman5674: Have you been on a long flight? I've been on 8 flights that are 20+ hours, and that only gets you from the U.S. to the Middle East. These long flights are absolutely horrid. I pride myself in being able to sleep almost anywhere, but still cannot sleep much on these long flights. Going east from Europe to get to the U.S. would probably end up being a 30+ hour flight, maybe even more since you would be "chasing" your destination because of the rotation of the Earth. Personally, I'd rather sit and wait it out in a bar/pub in Europe than travel the long way around.

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@reemus: I have never been out of the contiguous 48 states by plane. Needless to say, I don't get out much.

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@sgoman5674: I've only been out of the 48 states twice on my own accord, and those were just week long vacations, once to Canada, and once to Mexico. My trips to the Middle East, I did not have the opportunity to coordinate as it was Uncle Sam who sent me there. :)

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@sgoman5674: It is far more expensive to fly east than west, anywhere, since you are flying against the jet stream. Speaking as a retired road warrior, I can tell you that your idea seems reasonable on its face, and yet has multiple difficulties, including the jet stream.

The skies are already crowded. Calculating the flights is very complex, and there are many variables that have to be taken into account, including fuel, cost to fly, and where the aircraft will land, and where it leaves from. Landing gates are very prized at most airports, and the ones that are reachable are probably more full than normal right now. For those aircraft that can actually leave an airport (remembering how many were grounded in Europe, and understanding that most cannot fly in ANY direction), the welcome they might receive at a non-standard arrival is not guaranteed.

Continued...

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Many travelers that can take advantage of other flights are doing so. People that can manage to are taking flights to South America, or to various destinations in Africa (or Australasia) to avoid this. Many who are wealthier are either chartering small aircraft (which fly low, and under the ash clouds), or ground transports. The ocean crossings are the real problems, of course.

I haven't paid as much attention to this as I would have a few years ago (since it doesn't affect me in the same way), but I can tell you that it will also start to affect manufacturing world wide, as companies lose their supply chains.

It's even more complicated than I've stated, but I hope that helped a bit.

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News Hour had a story about this last night, especially the tropical fruit supplies and how those are starting to disappear since shipments can't get into the UK and Europe. Which means that there are either fruit shipments sitting in hangars rotting or they are trying to figure out where to send them instead, which means we might see more kiwi, mango and other fruit from Africa and the tropics here as a result of this.

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@reemus: I have a very good friend who is in the Air Force and is stationed at Rammstein. He just did a stint in Iraq and as far as I know his father who is there because they just had their third kid, is stuck. But I am sure Grandpa is enjoying the time with the grandkids.

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I realized last night that the response to this is so different than 9/11. I realize they are different issues, but I remember in 2001 people being stranded at the airports and how folks went and helped, made sure that there food sources for folks so that they weren't going hungry and they set up shelters too.

Last night folks being interviewed sharing how they are running out of money for food and housing, and really didn't know what they were going to do if they can't get home soon. I mean really what would happen if you were stranded like this overseas and it is an act of God? Do you go to the Embassy? What do you do? I know if I had flown over it would have been on a shoe string budget. I would be sitting at the airport trying to figure out how to make my money go further.

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@hobbit: I saw a nice story in the news about a woman who took in a family stranded at the airport to her home. If I had a bigger place and people were stranded like that at a nearby airport I would do it too. I bet there are stories like that out there but the media enjoys the negative, fear-mongering ones too much to find the positive, heart-warming ones.

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@mtrlgrl: I have a friend who is a flight attendant with US Air I know she is home now, but I should ask her if there is anyone that needs assistance. I can't take anyone in, but I might able to offer help through her or something. With airport security like it is you can't just drop off food.

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@hobbit: That sounds like a great idea. You can find out what items they need at least or find a neighbor who might be willing to take them into their homes. Maybe donations of fast food gift cards? Not sure what people can do, just be creative.

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@hobbit: If I was stranded overseas at an airport, the first thing I'd do is look for a Military Representative. I'm not sure if that's their official title or not. Most airports have people that help military in any way they can. I'm a vet, not active duty, so they maybe can't do anything, but it's a good first step. Some airports (even overseas) have military lounges. Mostly for active duty and retired.
We went off topic some- The volcano has not affected me in any way that I'm aware of.

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I struck up a conversation on Sunday with some European scientists who were stranded in STL. They were hoping to get out this week. Their concern was that there may be windows of time in which flights are possible & then airports will shut down again with further volcanic activity. My daughter brought a copy of this article home from school (very basic) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=iceland-volcano-airspace.

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@glindagw: Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

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There are also long term effects to think about. Air purity, global warming, that sort of things.

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@sgoman5674: having lived with Mt. St. Helens and the effects of that it doesn't warm, it cools the atmosphere. Also the ash deposits nutrients into the soil. I remember the year directly after everyone was so worried that our Apple crop was going to be bad, but instead it was one of the best ever. So Europe will have some nice fertilizer for next year.