Greetings from Helsinki, Finland!
We've been basking in the Scandinavian summer, here in all its glory and the perfect temperature for those who aren't partial to the heat. The pace of has slowed with the lengthening of the day, and we're grateful to be travelling relatively stress-free, given the current state of travel.
Worldwide this hotly anticipated 'Summer of Travel' has turned into the Summer of Travel Chaos - cancelled flights, bankrupted airlines, baggage lost for ages. It's particularly a challenge in Europe and North America; perhaps a bit less in Asia, though it's all too tangled for anyone to escape unscathed.
We all knew demand for travel would be very high once the pandemic subsided enough to allow it; as it turns it out, it was to be very, very high. The part most of us weren't really aware of was the degree of complexity in restarting the aviation industry, which also turned out to be very, very high.
Taking all the planes out of the sky during the pandemic meant many pilot couldn't meet their mandatory flight hours to maintain their licenses, so there's a pilot shortage. Mass layoffs in the travel industry meant people found work elsewhere, and many places are facing a massive shortage of baggage handlers, as we are in Canada.
Add in crew strikes, and the price of oil - that's a lot of complex systems all linked together, and the laws of chaos apply. The impact is even spreading beyond the airlines, with Via Rail about to go on strike in Canada.
So, what does it mean for travellers? Well, if you've made summer travel plans - prepare yourself, steel your patience, and be sure to keep anything you can't live without in your carry-on bags...there could be some adventures along the way.
And if you were thinking about travelling this summer but haven't made plans - I would expect the prices to further increase now that supply has been significantly cut by Air Canada and other airlines, so it may be wise to prepare for that.
Is it possible they could have it sorted out by the fall? Well, we can certainly hope. The reduction in supply will make it easier for them to wrangle the chaos, and staffing problems can likely be solved by then. Other challenges like the price of oil are more intractable.
Almost none of it in is our hands, but some knowledge of the complexity of the issue may help you stay patient should you be caught in the chaos.
Switching to the good side of travel, I'm pleased to release the full itinerary for our 2023 Sicily LiveAway this week, with part I in Syracuse and part II in Cefalù - you can find the full itinerary here. If you're thinking about combining different LiveAways modules, you could join us in Cefalù from either Part II of Malta, Part I in Syracuse, or Part I in Cyprus; or start in Cefalù and join us for Amalfi after that. Lots of options!
Also, we've had a few last minute spots open up for our Boating the Canal du Midi program (Oct 14 - 22, 2 spots), and our Tuscany LiveAway (Oct 1 - 29, 4 spots). If you haven't made any plans this fall and would like to join us for either, please get in touch (both itineraries can be found below in this newsletter).
Whether you're travelling or staying put, I hope you're getting well-acquainted with summer and all her gifts. Thanks for being with us...there are adventures in store ahead 🙂
Founder, Wheel & Anchor