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Jaunted Travel Awards 2014 / The Jauntys / Iceland Travel / Reykjavik Travel / WOW Air / KEF / Big Ash Problems / → All Tags
It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2014 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Now we take a brief look back at the best and worst of 2014 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
Does it seem like everyone and their mom went to Iceland in 2014?
Iceland had a stellar year, thanks in part to Mother Nature turning up the heat on Bardarbunga volcano just enough to attract the world's attention (but not to ground flights), and also thanks to irresistible travel porn videos like this one.
The premieres of filmed-in-Iceland movies like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Oblivion put Iceland's incredible scenery in front of the eyeballs of the general public, while specialized travel like corporate retreats and destination weddings brought visitors who maybe wouldn't before have considered Iceland for a trip.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Iceland Travel / General Aviation / Akureyi Travel / Awesome Stuff / Tours / Cessna 206 / Myflug Air / Wow Air / → All Tags
While commercial air traffic has been giving Iceland a wide berth over the past week or two, a few Icelandic airlines are eager to capitalize on the action.
For a start, an Icelandair pilot opted for a scenic routing and extra circle over the volcano, which provided passengers with a good view of the most active zone. A resulting smartphone photo quickly went viral.
Now the Iceland-based low-cost carrier WOW Air (yes, that's really their name) is promoting travel on their cheap fares from European airports to not only visit Iceland, but the eruption in particular. Fly to Reykjavik on Wow from one of their many destinations from 39 EUR each way (we paid $150 for a flight from London earlier this year on Wow), and then make your own way to the north of the country to connect to a sightseeing flight on Mýflug Air.
We opened this week by warning you that Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano - backgrounder from the Icelandic Met Office here, pronunciation tutorial embedded at bottom - had very pointedly begun to rumble. Let this be your official update that as of last night the volcano did indeed erupt, that an aviation red alert has been issued by Iceland's authorities, and that an air traffic ban is now in place around the entire Bardarbunga system. Happy Friday.
Technically there are no big ash problems yet, because the eruption doesn't seem to have kicked up any actual ash. Nonetheless Agence France-Presse is already throwing around phrases like "global travel chaos" in articles about what the next few days might bring. You guys did take our advice on Monday and purchase travel insurance, right?
Ever since the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland led to air travel becoming extremely volcano-vigilant, passengers have purchased transatlantic tickets with the silent prayer of "please don't let a volcano ruin this." That prayer may soon prove fruitless, however, as big ash problems may once again be on the way.
Seismologists aren't the only ones keeping an eye on the recent rumblings over in Iceland, with travelers tuned to the news for the first signs of any ash cloud. There was a pair of earthquakes—greater than 5.0—and both struck near the area in and around the country’s Bardarbunga volcano. As a result, the country bumped its aviation alert up to red, but after a period of calm we’re back to an orange level.
There’s never a bad time to visit Hawaii, but now might be one of the best times to visit. However, for some, we could also see how now would be one of the worst times to visit. That’s because there’s been some rumblings, shakings, and other underground stuff happening with one of the state’s volcanoes.
Over in on the Big Island of Hawaii the volcano known as Mauna Loa may be getting ready to erupt for the first time in decades—the last eruption was way back in 1984.
Volcanoes / Australia Travel / Volcano Travel / Airline Delays / Indonesia Travel / Big Ash Problems / Mount Sangeang Api / → All Tags
We’re not really sure if there’s a volcano eruption season, but we do know another one has just blown its top. This time it’s over in Indonesia, as Mount Sangeang Api is pretty darn cranky.
Eruptions began on Friday, and over the weekend ash has started to blow in all the wrong directions. Things have been headed south towards Australia, and this caused carriers like Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia to cancel plenty of their flights. Planes and people headed over to Bali were also affected, so we guess we can classify this as yet another big ash problem.
Travel Snapshots / Volcanoes / Iceland Travel / Wish You Were Here / Adventure Travel / Road Trips / Big Ash Problems / → All Tags
It's been four years (already!) since the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted and wreaked havoc on international travel. Although volcanologists ranked the eruption low in severity, it was the hulking ash cloud that made headlines. Now, thanks to its having cancelled hundreds of thousands of flights, impacted millions of travelers, and necessitated the development of ash-detection aviation technology, a small parking area with a scenic lookout sees a steady stream of tourist traffic.
Finding the volcano on a map, or viewing some of the seriously humbling photos of the eruption make it seem as though it's in a remote location, far from civilization.
Situated in the middle of Southeast Asia is Indonesia, an archipelago nation the includes the island of Bali, synonymous with tropical cocktails, private luxury villas, and people with smiles as warm as the temps. There is one thing that can throw a wrench in the enjoyment of all of this paradise, however: a sleeping volcano that awakens.
That's just what happened late last week on the main island of Java, when Mount Kelud woke from its dormancy and began spewing ash, rock, and smoke into the sky. History has proved an issue for air travel when there's any type of ash in the atmosphere, so naturally planes were grounded across the region, even as far south as Australian flights en route to Bali, the Cocos Islands, and Christmas Island.
Oh heck—here we go with another big ash problem. This time it’s some volcanic activity down in Mexico that’s creating the problems, as Popocatepetl is the one messing up the atmosphere this time. This sucker is kind of half way between spots like Mexico City and Puebla, so if you have flights in or out of the area just be aware.
The delays and cancellations were all over the place last week, as carriers like Delta, United, American Airlines, and US Airways all had to mess with their schedules to accommodate the stuff up in the skies. At one point there were around 40 flights cancelled on just one day, so Popocatepetl is certainly less than friendly.
In case you missed it, over the weekend there was explosion over in Cleveland—but don’t worry—it wasn’t that Cleveland.
Apparently it’s time again for the annual volcanic eruption, and that means potential disruption to air travel. This time the ash and smoke is doing its thing up in Alaska, as the Cleveland volcano is getting a little cranky.
In case you want to know where to look for the troublemaker on the map, this volcano is roughly 940 miles southwest of Anchorage, stuck on Chuginadak Island within the Aleutian chain of islands.
We live in a travel world where, for better or worse, Jaunted maintains categories for volcanoes and for volcano travel, to say nothing of our originally lighthearted but eventually kind of depressing big ash problems tag. Every January we wait the first eruption-driven airline cancellations of year. On particularly bad years we've even been known to slip into theological spculation about which gods exactly travelers pissed off.
Aside from angering volcano deities, there are also more mundane explanations for why travelers, every year, get stuck in airports because of volcanoes. A lot of those reasons have as much to do with badly planned and implemented safety regulations as they do with actual eruptions. But as those bad regulations get get fixed and as new technology comes online, we're getting to the point where we just have to admit that sometimes volcanoes erupt, and sometimes that delays air travel, and sometimes there's nothing anyone can do about it.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / Travel News / Weather / Alaska Travel / → All Tags
As you know we’re still in the first week of the new year, but there’s already a brand new volcano—complete with ash-cloud potential—getting ready to wreak havoc on air travel. Unlike the volcanoes over in Europe or down in South America, this one’s a little closer to home, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to pronounce.
Mount Cleveland—just rolls off the tongue—is located within the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska, and scientists believe that it’s getting ready to celebrate 2012 by starting to shake, rattle, and roll. Just over a week ago there was a little volcano hiccup that sent a whole bunch of ash and other particulate into the skies, but things quickly dissipated and flights weren’t really affected. The concern still remains, as the tippy top of the volcano is right in the way of one of the main commercial flight paths between North America and Asia.