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To Fly Or Not To Fly

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iloveglee | 14:03 Wed 27th May 2020 | Travel
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Just casting about here for opinions and thoughts on our situation. We have a week's trip booked with our grandchildren, for the october half term, end october running into november. We have flights booked, and paid for and a deposit paid on an apartment.

Currently the airline flying to our destination (gibraltar), is only running 4 times a week, and not on the day we have booked. consequently at some later stage, they may cancel our flight, and what comes after that remains to be seen. Our problem, to have to be considered later next month, is whether to forget the trip, and park our apartment booking until next year.

Our flight can be changed at our instigation for a 'voucher', or we could wait and see if it's cancelled and claim a refund. This however, is not really our main issue, which is, even if its possible to go, should we.

We are a 72/73 year old couple, I don't have any medical conditions to be alarmed about, my husband, although fit, is a)male, b) has hypertension and mild asthma. We are not in a group that needs to be shielded exactly, but we have been exceptionally cautious, no shopping in supermarkets except online, and cleaning or quarantining any packaging. We haven't seen anyone from the family apart from when they brought shopping round in the early lockdown days.

I realise that flying until we have a vaccine, or a treatment is not going to be the experience we are used to. The question I keep asking myself is, do I want to spend 4 hours in an airport prior to flying, standing in line for an unspecified length of time waiting to board, and a 2.5 hour flight, all while having to wear a mask. And then do it all again a week later.

I feel that gibraltar will be a safe destination, they have done a very good job managing this disease, but it's the getting there, and back that is giving me pause for thought. We haven't yet had a discussion with the kids about it, aged between 16 and 18, and although they are desperate for a holiday (aren't we all), should we encourage them to put themselves through what might have to happen.

I don't imagine for a moment that any quarantine will be. in place by then, but of course another uncertain aspect of all this is the possibility of a second wave of the virus.

I am always appreciative of comment that are made on here, and clearly I am not asking anyone to tell me what I should do, but I am interested in what other people, who may be in our situation think.

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It’s s toughie isn’t it. Personally, I wouldn’t go. More so because no one has any idea what it’ll be like with social distancing etc. You could end up queuing for half the holiday, and I know we Brits love a queue, but there’s only so much you can take. I’d also worry about another swift lockdown and getting stuck there. Also, check insurance to see what kind of cover there is re a Covid problem.

That’s just my outlook, someone with a much sunnier one would completely disagree with me.
I wouldn't go either. Things are so uncertain now and no one knows what the future re-virus will be. Is it worth taking the risk?
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I see exactly where you're coming from. and insurance is another matter entirely. we have an annual policy that runs out in july, we most certainly won't get cover for anything covid related.

While i'm not too concerned about getting sick in gibraltar, its as good as getting sick here since they have an nhs we can use.

It is the actual flying experience more than anything that's giving me pause for thought. i hate the airport experience at the best of times. if things go ok, i suspect gibraltar will be open for business, unless anything dire happens, but of course no one can predict whether a second wave will come along and when.

Fortunately we do have a few weeks to think about it before our apartment is due to be paid. it's a private arrangement so we have no legal recourse if we just choose not to go. the owner does seem like a reasonable chap though and i'm pretty sure he'd agree to hold on to the deposit against a trip there maybe next year, or the year after. and if we end up losing it, well it's not going to bankrupt us.

I have started a whatsapp group chat with the kids so i'm interested to hear what their thoughts are on all this!!
We're all different, as are our circumstances and grandchildren, but if it were me and I had nobody else to take into account I would not go. Not for fear of catching the Coronavirus, but for fear of hating every minute of the travelling. Queues, crowds and long waits are such a turn off when it comes to a holiday.

Transfer the apartment to next year and with the air fare refund, book an apartment on the UK south or east coast for half term. The weather should be reasonable and the activities and attractions will be open by then. Pick somewhere with a sandy beach and some teenage fun.

My opinion: I would aim to go, I certainly would not cancel anything at this stage or any time before October. Between now and then you can/should discuss the trip with the children and their parents and ensure they are still for going - if not then their views need to be taken fully into account. For me/us, we would very likely still go even if the children did not - only if a full refund (not a voucher) is available would we consider abandoning the trip. Clearly if the flight(s) is(are) cancelled by the operator then that is the end of it. We are your age. If there is some dramatic development in the meantime (second wave, major backslide toward severe restrictions, airline collapse, etc.) then that will also be an unavoidable change in outlook. Having said that, as you say this is a matter for you to decide and to arrive at what feels correct to you.
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Yes indeed it is our (and the kids/parents) decision, although it probably comes more down to us and the kids as their parents trust our judgement totally. We have taken slight risks in the past, taking them to cities right after a terrorist attack but that felt totally different from this.

Currently we are in maybe going and not making any plans not to. The issue of insurance means that we won't have cancellation cover for coronavirus, but will for anything else. Illness whilst there, as mentioned wouldn't be an issue.

We have to make a decision once the apartment payment is due, sometime around end July. The problem is we won't know how the situation will be with the airline until long after that. If they cancel it will probably be less than a month before departure. If they do cancel, certainly we will be due a refund, but the apartment payment is not connected to the flight as it's not a package.

My own personal feelings, given I hate the airport experience anyway, and who knows what the situation will be like onboard, certainly no social distancing, are to maybe consider a trip in the car, somewhere in the UK, Cornwall would be lovely but totally heaving so maybe not there.

We love Scotland, but two of the kids haven't been so not sure how they'd feel. One of them has and she did love it, the weather was kind so she was able to go in the sea and the beach was almost deserted.

I am appreciative of your thoughts, keep them coming please.
I personally would go but only with full agreement of my loved ones.
I am finding the airport grind increasingly bothersome without and before Covid.The best remedy is get away and relax if you can. Keep everything open and if things deteriorate later all is cancelled and put on hold again. I am in the 70s and am supposed to be vulnerable ( Cancer and Quadruple Heart bypass, Cardio Vascular disease etc etc)

You never go to heaven if you don't die first and a bottle of Pussers Navy Rum (Duty Free) under your belt is a better way to die on the Rock than regretting what could of been in blighty.
Retrocop brings on nostalgia in me and maybe you also. We all remember when you got your boarding pass at the check-in desk and ambled out to the gate a fraction of today's distance - no "security" checks and you could walk straight past the shops whereas now you are forced to walk hundreds of metres snaking back and forth through the blasted things. Better times for sure.
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I know, flying isn't the reasonably nice experience that it used to be. Even without this damned virus. I have put out the idea of a staycation, and park gib until next year, one of them at least is behind the idea, and she was the one I thought might be least likely to accept not going.

One of the other kids pretty much will go along with anything, he's very flexible, and the youngest, well she's the covid nazi of the family. She's the most rebellious of our grand children, yet she's been the one that has stuck to the rules rigidly and reminded everyone of their responsibilities. I could see the other day when I saw her, and we talked about it, the doubt in her face, although she didn't actually say she thought it wasn't a good idea.

They're great kids though, hence why we love taking them away. We've had some fantastic trips with them, and wherever we go, we'll make something of it I know.
You hit the nail there. I turn the air blue having to walk the maze of tax free shopping to eventually find the 'Special Assistance' desk in the departure lounge.By the time I get to that desk my legs are ready to buckle. Why can't they have a direct corridor to departures for those who have no wish to purchase their 'gifts'. You can't get better Duty Free prices than on the Rock in any case. Well maybe Lichenstein for Fags. :-)
Yep, retro, IKEA have shortcut corridors, why can't the blasted airports take a leaf.....
Alderney is a beautiful little historic Island with beautiful sandy beaches. Mild weather. History. Short flight with Aurigny from Southampton (30-45 mins). Covid free.
The problem is they only enjoy tourists during August Alderney week generally and,at the moment, are very proud how they have isolated themselves from the virus.They may not be so anxious for holiday makers to visit them for a while longer.
I have the same problem. I booked a holiday to Croatia for October, prior to the current problems so I am in the same position as you and my annual travel insurance also runs out in July. It’s been interesting reading the responses as I am still undecided about what to do.
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I'm glad I'm not the only one having issues about this. If the whole thing was not possible, or was cancelled, we'd think well it's a shame but re-think, stay in UK and let next year take care of itself.

For the first time I wish we'd booked a package. What I am finding annoying, after contacting BA is that our booking, for 5 people, at a (quite reasonable) cost of £450, is not transferable to anyone else if we opt to change it. But if we'd booked either a car, or accommodation with them, this classes as a package and their rules are that as long as one person on the booking travels, the others can be transferred. As this encompasses a flight, why can't they offer transfers on flights. Well the truth is they could, but they don't have to so they won't.

So far the vibes I'm getting from 2 of the kids is that they would be OK with a trip in the UK, and put off the gibraltar/spain until next year. Obviously we'd have to pay the higher price if flight prices are more next year, a situation that nobody can predict.

Currently I've offloaded the research about places to go in the UK, with the proviso that it's not a city, and not a very touristy place that is likely to be busy. We are going to have to go before September, as October may be cold in UK, so many places are obviously going to be extremely busy.

It is most certainly is a hard call. I think if flying could be even moderately bearable by then, I might be more inclined to give it a try, but I suspect it's not going to be. The thought of wearing a mask for 6+ hours and standing in line for an indefinite period fills me with horror to be honest.
I've written this year off as far as flying anywhere goes.
It's like 'Barkus is willin' but is anywhere willin to accept Barkus without a 14 day quarantine?
If I were in your situation I wouldn't go either. it's really tough right now, better stay at home for now and if things get better then maybe that's the time for take off:)
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I have to say that there is a great deal of feeling out there that I have been inwardly feeling but wasn't exactly voicing it to myself. So it's good to hear opinions that are helping me to get my thoughts into some kind of coherent possible plan.

It's very difficult to be living in such uncertain times, everybody must be feeling this. It's ironic really in that we had said at the end of last year, that we were going to try to fly as little as possible, if at all. We made an exception for the kids, to take them somewhere nice, and hopefully warm for half term, and luckily for us we'd booked nothing at all otherwise that involved flying. All our other planned travel was able to be cancelled.

The one saving grace about this is, if we do put the apartment on hold until next year, we can wait until just before we travel to choose to park the flight, and if as is quite possible it's cancelled we can then have the option of a refund.

My instincts at first were to see how things were looking a bit nearer the time, but everything I have read has suggested that flying will be extremely challenging this year.
It depends what your attitude to risk is. I`m quite a bit younger than you but I`d go. The journey wouldn`t bother me.
I think the government has done a pretty good job of making nearly everybody terrified of ever getting on a plane again. Personally I'd get on a flight tomorrow. To be honest October is ages away, I wouldn't be surprised if things won't be much nearer normal by then, a lot of Europe is opening up a bit even now - the loss of a summer season would leave many destitute. For interest a relative managed to get a flight to Switzerland yesterday and said the plane was 'rammed'.

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