U.S. Farmers Struggle Through Drought To Bring Food To The Table But Face More Challenges Ahead

The drought has dragged on for a long time. Last year, orchard farmers in California’s Central Valley destroyed trees that were dying due to lack of water. This year, many more farmers did the same.

Lack of summer rain forced Nebraska farmer Kevin Fulton to go underground to find water for his crops. Not a perfect solution: the Ogallala Aquifer, where Fulton tapped in, has pumping restrictions in some areas, just not where Fulton is located. That’s because the aquifer is running dry.

As drought extends its deadly fingers from California to the eastern side of the Mississippi River — a vast stretch of the continent that produces most of America’s food, including three-quarters of its beef cattle and 70% of its vegetables, fruits and nuts — farmers and ranchers are facing a double whammy. They have to go farther to find water and higher fuel costs are forcing them to pay more to pump whatever isn’t coming from the sky. That predicament is still better than what’s happened to the land that’s not irrigated, Fulton says.

“The pastures are burning up,” Fulton, a 28-year veteran of farming the land he inherited, told Forbes. “Some aren’t going to produce anything and the yields have been drastically reduced. This wears on you mentally. You’re working hard to keep up with the irrigation. It’s depressing. These kinds of things sometimes push farmers over the edge.”

Only heroic efforts by farmers and ranchers have kept supermarket shelves supplied in the parched U.S. Even so, drought is expensive for consumers and limits their choices. Inflation caused by higher production costs will persist as long as hot, dry weather dominates vast swathes of the country. Many of the folks who make their living from agriculture realize that conditions in summer, the most dangerous season, will likely persist into the future.

“The hazards in recent years have been relentless,” Kristy Dahl, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ principal climate expert, told Forbes. “We need to be better prepared for ‘danger season,’ otherwise we’ll increasingly be caught off-guard every year. Climate change is getting worse.”

Despite the drought — in some places, the driest conditions going back more than 1,000 years — American producers have managed to bring in a projected harvest that’s nowhere near as bad as it could be. Soybean production will actually increase 2% from 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and wheat is up 8% over last year as global demand soared in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, a major wheat-producing country.

The concern is the corn harvest, which the USDA predicts will be down 5% from 2021, with less of the supply classified as good or excellent compared with last year. Still, the USDA forecasts record-high corn yields in California, Iowa, Washington and Wisconsin.

American food producers polled by the American Farm Bureau Federation last year complained of dangerously dry conditions. The farmers and ranchers surveyed in August 2022 say circumstances are pretty much the same or worse.

Nearly three-quarters of farmers saw a reduction in harvest yields due to drought, while 37% said they were tilling over fields that won’t produce anything because of a lack of water, up from 24% last year. One-third of orchard farmers nationwide, and 50% in California, said they were ripping up trees, an increase from 17% in 2021. In one case, the Farm Bureau said, a California producer dropped all the fruit on five acres of young Cabernet grapes to help the vines survive without water. That ensured that the farmer would have no revenue from those vines.

Similar measures plague the livestock industry, according to the Farm Bureau. Two-thirds of ranchers reported selling off animals or birds, with average herd sizes expected to be down 36%. The biggest herd declines are in Texas (down 50%), New Mexico (43%) and Oregon (41%), a good example of the wide geographic distribution of the distress.

Fulton says 2022 was the worst year of drought in the past decade, and the second-worst in his three decades of farming, after 2012. Some of Fulton’s neighbors are now reducing the sizes of their herds and taking the livestock to the auction barn. Fulton says he’s considering doing the same. Drought kills off the grass that cattle need to graze on, so farmers have to buy expensive hay to feed them instead.

“You can’t feed yourself out of a drought. It doesn’t work from a profit standpoint,” Fulton says. “We’re going to run out of grass.” In mid-August, rains finally hit farms in dried-out Southwestern states, including Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Then the rains arrived on the Great Plains. Farmers like Fulton welcomed the brief break. But it was too little, too late.

On Fulton’s farm, the effects of a changing climate are pervasive. There are more grasshoppers, which love dry weather and eat the crops. Fulton’s bees have also been less active. Honey production is half of what it normally is, he said. There’s also the looming threat of heat-driven poison: If some plants don’t get enough water, they can produce high levels of nitrates, which makes them toxic for the livestock that eat them.

According to the USDA’s August production report, the rains in mid-August helped to replenish topsoil moisture and “revived drought-ravaged rangeland and pastures. However, hot, dry weather persisted.” From the Pacific Coast to the northern Plains, temperatures averaged at least 5°F above normal. Readings even averaged 10°F above normal in some locations across the interior Northwest and Northern California.

Drought-resistant seeds and drip-irrigation to conserve water are promising solutions, if they can be put to use at scale. A lot of money has gone towards funding startups and research, but there haven’t been many mainstream successes.

This year’s industrially grown commodity crops so far still seem strong overall. But the cracks driven by climate change are starting to show. Darvin Bentlage, a 66-year-old, fourth-generation cattle and grain farmer located north of Joplin, Missouri, says the extreme weather that he and his neighbors face has taken them on a roller-coaster ride. Earlier this year, it rained so much that he had to delay planting. Then the drought came.

“That was a rough start,” Bentlage told Forbes. “In my 50 years of farming it never went from being so wet to so dry – it’s the fastest I’ve seen.” He added: “Pray for rain.” Despite decreasing access to water and extreme weather projections on the horizon, Fulton says he’s optimistic for the future.

“Like most farmers, when we have a bad year, we say it will be better next year. We live to farm another year,” he says. “Sometimes it seems like it can’t get any worse.”

Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture at Forbes. Her book Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat will be published in

Source: U.S. Farmers Struggle Through Drought To Bring Food To The Table But Face More Challenges Ahead

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How To Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning: Middle East Tips To Beat The Summer Heat

Europe is sweltering under a heatwave and many are casting around for any way to stay cool in countries not used to the kinds of temperatures more common in the Middle East than England. Here The National’s correspondents from Beirut to Baghdad offer tips on how to stay cool when there’s no air conditioning ― given they’re used to keeping their cool despite power cuts, fuel shortages and crumbling infrastructure.

Take a cold shower to get your body temperature down, strip down to the bare essentials and lie on your back on a tiled floor close to a window that’s facing away from the sun. Because it’s often hotter indoors than it is outdoors (without air conditioning, of course), go out to a public park. In Cairo, the hotter it gets the more on edge people are ― tempers fray quickly and heated arguments are common, but it’s too hot for things to get physical very often.

Poor and middle-class Cairenes flock to Nile-side boulevards to get a breeze in the evening. The pavements of most of Cairo’s many Nile bridges are filled with evening strollers and hawkers selling them soft drinks or, strangely, hot black sweet tea.

The parks, few and far between in the city of 20 million people, are thronged by families who take a long picnic in the evenings. Those with deep pockets escape to the upmarket North Coast where temperatures are typically lower than in Cairo, swimming pools are in abundance in their gated communities and the golden sands and pristine blue waters of the Mediterranean are welcoming.

When stuck in sprawling Cairo in the summer, I go to my city centre country club and sit under a mature tree that offers deep shade, where I can sip an iced coffee or fresh juice. While most European homes do not have the tiled floors or open courtyards that keep many Tunisian homes cool in the summer, there’s one thing we do have in common, greenery. Throughout the Arab world, the country is known as “Tunisia the green”, and all those trees help keep you cool in the hot climate.

So rather than hiding inside with the blinds drawn and a fan whirling, take a towel (maybe even a damp towel you stashed in the freezer for a bit), some watermelon and a big bottle of cool water outside and park yourself under a tree in the afternoon. When temperatures climb above 40ºC, Tunisians head for their other hot-weather refuge, the water.

If you can’t get yourself to a beach, try looking for a nearby pond or creek for a bit of wild swimming to cool you down and keep you refreshed. Tunisians also take care to keep their pets — and the street cats and dogs that are regular fixtures in every neighbourhood — cool, by putting out water dishes in shady areas of the street for passing pups and kitties to stay hydrated.

Early morning walks with your furry friends will help you both get your exercise before the sweltering heat sets in. If you do have to take your pup out for a break mid-afternoon, dip their paws in water before you go out and stick to the shady side of the street to avoid burns.

When Iraq’s sweltering summer comes and temperatures in some places stay above 50ºC for weeks (and there are frequent power failures meaning no AC or fans), cold watermelon is the best friend of Iraqis. There’s nothing like cold watermelon to beat the scorching heat in a summer without AC.

It’s placed in the fridge to let it cool down a little before eating or drinking the juice ― unlike any other fruit, watermelon contains at least 90 per cent water, which makes it ideal to quench your thirst.With Iraq’s extreme temperatures, people get creative to cool off. Misting fans and showers are set up on pavements in outdoor markets, while street vendors selling ice cream, cold drinks or (of course) watermelon are seen on every corner in the city.

Some Iraqis take a dip in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In some areas, mainly in the south, families place ice blocks in front of fans to blast cool air.My final piece of advice is to keep ice cream handy. Lebanon is struggling to provide any mains power at all and blackouts are common. While old traditional stone buildings can be good for staying cool, in Beirut’s concrete blocks the temperature rises fast.

My advice is to close all the doors to one room and use seveal battery-powered fans ― mine turn on automatically when the electricity cuts out and, if placed strategically, will circulate air around the room. Then lie down on the tiles, because they stay cool in the hot summer.

We also freeze a watermelon ― it’s delicious and will keep you cool. Cut the melon into squares and put them in the freezer overnight (assuming you have the electricity). For extra flavour, pair it with a traditional salty white Akkawi cheese. The key is to stay hydrated ― I like to make a mint lemonade slushy with crushed ice. Night time can be tough, but don’t underestimate the value of an open window.Open all the windows to get the air moving around the house, letting through the occasional cool breeze. The downside, however, is the mosquitos.

Other than the obvious ― find somewhere with AC and stay there ― in Abu Dhabi you just try to avoid going out too much in the daytime. If you do, move slowly and try to stick to the shade, although it doesn’t really feel as if it makes that much difference. This week the weather has been OK because although the temperature might be about 40ºC, the humidity is only about 50 per cent. When the temperature is more than 40ºC and the humidity tops 80 per cent, the only answer is to learn to live indoors.

You dash from building to building when you have to move around and for about three months you just accept the fact that you’ll start perspiring profusely as soon as you step outside. You simply have to embrace indoor living ― find hobbies you can do inside, join a gym, shop in malls and crank up the AC. And carry a spare T-shirt in case you do get caught outside and end up arriving looking like you just showered.

By: Hamza Hendawi  | Erin Clare Brown | Sinan Mahmoud | James Haines-Young | Nada Homsi

Source: How to stay cool without air conditioning: Middle East tips to beat the summer heat

Critics by By and

If you’re unable to invest in an air conditioner during the summer, or can’t access indoor locations with air conditioning, such as community cooling centers, it’s imperative that you follow these recommendations to stay cool. 

1. Drink lots of water

Frequently drinking water is one of the best protective measures against heat-related illness. That’s because when you’re well-hydrated, your body is able to sweat, and when you sweat it evaporates off your skin, cooling you down.

But when you’re dehydrated, you can’t sweat as effectively which makes you less able to deal with hot temperatures. Usually your body will become dehydrated before you notice the signs, so it’s important you don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink.

2. Use cold washcloths

Applying a cold, damp cloth directly to your skin can help lower your temperature. The Mayo Clinic recommends placing it on your pulse points — such as the back of your neck, under your armpits, on your wrists, or on your groin. 

In these areas, your blood vessels are close to the surface of your skin, meaning the cold will extract more heat from your body and bring your temperature down more quickly. 

Prepare a cold washcloth by:

  • Wetting a towel with cool water
  • Squeezing out excess water, so that the towel is damp
  • Leaving it in the refrigerator — the longer you leave it, the colder it will be

If you use ice packs, make sure to never apply ice directly to the skin, as this can burn it. Instead, wrap the ice in a towel or blanket and apply for no more than 20 minutes every two to four hours. 

Although it can give temporary relief, taking a cool bath or shower actually increases our core temperature. Your skin temperature falls and you’ll feel cooler, but the cold water reduces blood flow to the skin, so you’ll actually keep more heat inside.

Important: As counterintuitive as it might seem, warm showers — with a water temperature of about 91.4 °F — can actually keep us cooler by increasing blood flow to the skin, allowing more heat to escape the body once you’re out of the shower.

3. Eat cool foods and avoid alcohol

Here are some of the best foods and drinks to cool yourself down:

Salads 

Vegetables contain lots of water, which can help hydrate you and keep you cool. Lettuce, for instance, is 95% water and cucumber is 96% water.

In addition, salads require no cooking, and anything you can prep on hot days without your stove or oven is best since it’ll help keep your house, and you, cooler, according to the CDC

Watermelon 

Not only is watermelon a summer staple for picnics and barbecues, but it’s also 90% water. 

“The pink flesh contains vitamins C and A and the antioxidant lycopene, which helps in protecting you from the sun too,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, a registered dietitian at a private practice. “This is the perfect snack to cool off and replenish electrolytes that are lost as you sweat in the sun.”

Mint

Fresh mint can be grown in the garden and provides an instant cooling sensation. It’s a zero-calorie addition that will freshen any drink or snack.

Hot peppers

“Ironically, spicy foods are a great way to beat the heat,” Zuckerbrot says. “Eating something that will cause sweating, nature’s way of cooling us down, will allow you to withstand the sun.” 

Sweating can lead to dehydration, though, so make sure to consume substantial water throughout the day.

Frozen treats

In addition to drinking water, adding some ice to it is not such a bad idea when you’re trying to stay cool.

According to a small 2016 study, men who exercised in the heat were able to stay cooler when drinking “ice slurry,” a mixture of crushed ice and water. And, a small 2021 study also found that drinking the ice and water mixture during post-workout recovery brought down subjects’ core and skin temperature more effectively than a beverage with no ice. 

If straight water and ice sounds boring, try frozen fruit instead. Or make your own homemade popsicles with fresh fruit and juices. Just be aware of how much sugar is in those juices since consuming too much sugar may dehydrate you.

Non-alcoholic beverages 

“Skip the margaritas and mojitos,” says Karen Ansel, MS, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “A summertime cocktail might seem like just the thing for a warm evening, but too much alcohol can cause your body to lose water.” 

If water starts to sound bland, rethink your ice cubes, Ansel says. Adding frozen berries, grapes, or melon chunks to sparkling water is a refreshing way to switch things up.

4. Dress less

Clothing layers can trap heat and sweat. So, when dressing for heat, wear as few layers as possible and be prudent about which materials you choose — some fabrics are better than others.

While light-color clothes may reflect a bit more heat from the sun, the main goal is to ensure there’s airflow. Think: loose T-shirts and shorts or flowy dresses. 

Go for natural materials like cotton and linen, which better absorb sweat and encourage airflow to the skin. Specifically, researchers from the University of Oregon found that wearing a fabric made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex is the best choice in hot weather. These materials will feel cooler to your skin in the heat, because they transfer less heat than other materials.

You can also wear something with ventilation holes, such as mesh, which allows for more airflow.

If you’re working or exercising in the heat, you’ll want to dress in moisture wicking materials, such as polyester or nylon, according to a small 2014 study. These materials protect you from the sun while also encouraging sweat evaporation to keep you cool.

5. Use fans properly

Fans can’t lower the temperature of an entire room. However, fans can create a wind-chill effect, so you feel cooler. 

Basically, when a fan blows air around, it helps sweat evaporate from your skin, which cools you down. 

Ceiling fans are considered the most effective, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), because they circulate the air throughout the entire room. But turn them off when you leave the room; ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. 

Also, when buying ceiling fans, look for the ENERGY STAR® label since fans that earn that label move air 20% more efficiently, on average, than standard models, according to the DOE. 

If you have a tower fan, try placing frozen water bottles or a bowl of ice in front of the blowing air. It can provide a cool breeze when you need it most.

Window fans, or portable fans, can also work well in many climates, but they are only effective if you use them correctly. To do so, you’ll only want to use them when the air outside is cooler than the air inside, which is usually at nighttime. 

6. Get low

In general, you’ll stay cooler if you hang out on the lowest levels of a structure. This is because hot air rises and cool air settles. Instead of hanging out upstairs, try moving your normal activities to your lowest level or basement. 

You can also try sitting and sleeping on the floor, since it’s likely the coldest part of your house.

7. Cool down at bedtime

Sleeping in the heat doesn’t have to be miserable. Try these tips to feel cooler at night:

  • Sleep alone. If you’re struggling to keep cool at night, stay away from other sources of heat, including the body heat from your partner or pets. 
  • Wear the right materials. Go for cooling pajamas made of materials specifically formulated for cooling, or wear natural materials, including wool. A small 2019 study showed that wearing wool sleepwear in a room with the temperature set at 86 °F helped subjects get to sleep faster than when they wore cotton or polyester sleepwear of similar thickness. This could be because wool is breathable, wicks moisture, and helps regulate body temperature.
  • Let the cool night air in. If it’s cooler outside at night, and you feel safe doing so, open a window. Better yet, open two windows to encourage a cross breeze. You can also set up window fans to help blow the hot air out and the fresh, cool air in. 
  • Take a warm shower or bath before bed. Taking a warm shower or bath before bed will not only keep you cooler, but it can also help you fall asleep more quickly and enjoy better sleep quality, according to a 2019 review
  • Invest in cooling bedding. Stay cooler at night by investing in breathable bedding materials made of linen or cotton. There are also brands that make cooling pillows, mattresses, and mattress toppers that can be a game-changer for hot sleepers.

8. Treat yourself with a cool mist

Spraying yourself with cool water sounds like a no-brainer on a hot day. But it could be just the balm against uncomfortable heat that you need. 

In fact, it might even cool you down more than ingesting an icy beverage. 

According to 2016 research, applying cool water to skin and letting it evaporate helps your body lose more heat than it would if you drank an ice slurry. Researchers noted that this works best in dry, breezy climates, rather than humid ones, since humidity keeps liquid and sweat from evaporating as efficiently.

Add an electric fan, and you’ll have even more cooling power. A 2020 review compiled evidence that spraying water on people’s skin while they were using a fan could help them stay cooler.

9. Keep out sunlight

About 76% of the sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows turns into heat and raises the temperature in your home, according to the DOE.

The rise in home temperature due to sunlight is called solar heat gain. During summer, windows facing west and east allow in the most heat, while north and south facing windows only give small solar gains. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the amount of heat that enters your home from sunlight. Here’s how: 

Close the curtains or blinds 

Covering windows with curtains or blinds is especially important on windows receiving direct sunlight — though the effectiveness can depend on the type and color of the material. 

According to the DOE, medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by up to 33%. When choosing curtains, go for tightly woven materials. Multiple layers of fabric will also do a better job of keeping heat out. Additionally, lining your curtains with light-colored fabrics, if they are not already light, will help reflect the sun.

Use shutters, shades, or awnings 

  • Shutters. Exterior shutters and shades are most effective at reducing solar heat gain, according to the DOE. Shades are typically fabric or vinyl and the material may have openings that allow some visibility through the window. The larger the openings, the less protection from solar gain. 
  • Cellular shades. Insulated cellular shades — for a window’s interior — are made of pleated materials that can fold up, like an accordion. They can reduce solar heat gain through windows by 60%, making it a very effective way to insulate your home from solar heat. 
  • Window awnings. An awning is a roof-like shelter on a home’s exterior that shades windows from the sun’s heat and glare. Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. 

Apply high-reflectivity window film

Window films can be useful if you don’t want to block views since they are semi-transparent. They’re also useful if your windows are difficult or expensive to fit with other treatments. 

They typically have three layers: an adhesive layer that sits against the glass, a polyester film layer, and a scratch-resistant coating. As solar radiation strikes the glass, window film acts as a sunscreen to block harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays as well as reduce the levels of heat and light passing through the glass. 

A 2013 study showed that most of the relatively low-cost window-tinting films successfully reduced the heat that came through by 41 to 50 °F. They can be professionally applied or are available for do-it-yourself installation at home improvement stores. 

While these tips can help you stay cool, extreme heat can sometimes be too much to bear without air conditioning. 

If you’re unable to keep yourself cool with these strategies, you may develop the symptoms of heat exhaustion, which, if left untreated, can turn into heat stroke — a serious medical emergency that can lead to organ damage or death without immediate attention. 

When temperatures are high, such as during a heat wave, check in frequently on young children under the age of four, as well as older people above the age of 65, because they are more susceptible to heat-related illness.

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Air Travel is Getting Worse Here are 6 Tips To Make It Less of a Headache

Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed over the Father’s Day weekend, with the chaos at airports in the U.S. and abroad pointing to a summer of discontent for travelers. Airlines, tricky to operate under the best of conditions, are now also grappling with severe personnel shortages just as passengers return in droves as the pandemic eases.

“We’re used to navigating around weather delays in the summer, but having this huge travel resurgence combined with weather and staffing issues at airports and airlines has made it a much more complicated landscape,” said Misty Belles, a travel expert and spokesperson for Virtuoso, a global network of travel advisers specializing in luxury experiences. So what can you do to minimize the frustrations? Travel pros recommend some tricks of the trade to make air travel less of a headache this summer.

Book through the airline

Booking your ticket directly through an airline can make for more effective customer service and faster rebooking if necessary. By contrast, airlines tend to be less helpful when your travel arrangements are made through online aggregators such as Expedia or Priceline.“There has never been a more important time to book directly with the airline. When you book through a third party and you have to rebook, the airline says, ‘Go to them,’” Willis Orlando, travel expert at Scott’s Cheap Flights, told CBS MoneyWatch.

“They also have less robust customer service operations than an airline does.”

Even if it can seem like takes forever to connect with an airline customer service representative, once you’re in touch they can usually resolve problems. “With online travel sites, there is an extra layer of communication and policies, and you’re not always owed the same as what you are if you booked through the airline,” Orlando added.

Catch the first flight of the day

Another rule of thumb is to always book the first departing flight of the day for a better chance of it taking off on-time, even if it’s $50 or $100 more expensive than other fares. “Take the first morning flight out,” Belles of Virtuoso said. “It’s painful getting up at 4 a.m., but those flights are less likely to get bumped as the day goes on and things get backed up.”

Plus, bad weather typically disrupt operations later in the day, she added. For extra assurance, purchase a second, fully-refundable ticket for a flight scheduled two to three hours later. If your first flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, call the airline and request a full refund — then hop on the second flight.

When arranging a backup flight, book through a different carrier and try to use airline miles or points, which go right back into your travel bank if you end up cancelling the flight. “Booking tickets with airline miles gives you the benefit of a refundable ticket without paying for one. You can get your miles credited back to your account,” said Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder of Indagare Travel, a luxury travel planning company.

Fly direct

On a recent trip, Bradley flew from New York to Venice, Italy, and then drove an hour and a half to Slovenia, as opposed to connecting through Paris or Amsterdam and flying to a regional airport located closer to her final destination. And she’s glad she did. “Other people went through Paris or Amsterdam and connected and had massive lines, huge issues with bags and worries about flights being cancelled,” she said. “They would have been much better off going to a major airport a little further away and doing that drive.”

Of course, direct flights are more expensive than routes with connections, but they reduce the odds of something going wrong that mars your long-awaited vacation.  

“Avoid connections. If there are two or three legs, you’re doubling or tripling your chances of running into a problem,” said James Ferrara, co-founder and president of InteleTravel, a network of 75,000 independent travel advisers. “The more you can connect the lower the price, so it’s not an option for everyone.” If you must use connecting flights, don’t even think about a 45 minute layover. Give yourself at least two hours, or longer.

Upgrade to be first in line

Once you’ve booked your flight, download your airline’s mobile app and enable text messages to receive alerts related to your flight. Also join the airline’s frequent-flier program. “All of those things will help you get information quicker,” Ferrara said. Consider upgrading to a premium seat if one is available. Indeed, the better your standing with the airline, the more priority you’ll be given when it comes to rebooking a canceled or significantly delayed flight.

“When seats are overbooked or flights are canceled, they award seats on new planes based upon your status on that first plane. First class, business class and passengers with higher mileage levels will be rebooked first. You’ll get a seat before the person at the back of the plane does,” Bradley said. If you work with a travel adviser, they will take care of the rebooking process for you and advocate on your behalf. And it won’t cost you anything, as their fees are paid by airlines and hotels.

Travel on a Wednesday

If you’re traveling for an event like a wedding or sports tournament, if possible plan on arriving a couple of days in advance. Building a two to three day cushion leaves room for canceled flights or other travel mishaps without it causing you to miss the main event. “Don’t count on flying and arriving the same day,” Bradley said. “Build in a buffer and you’ll get there.”

Take an extra day off of work and fly on a weekday if you can. Also avoid flying between Friday and Monday, experts say. “The most important thing right now is not to fly on weekends. This is what weekends are going to look like at least through the summer,” Ferrara said, referring to the recent chaos at airports.

Only bring carry-on

If possible, avoid checking luggage, which avoids long bag drop lines at airports. Bradley urges her clients to either carry on or ship. In addition, if your flight is canceled and you have your bag with you, you’ll be more nimble. “You can jump on a different flight, whereas if your bag is in the belly of plane, it takes longer to maneuver and get yourself on a different flight,” Bradley said. “I am huge proponent of never checking your bag.”

By:

Source: Air travel is getting worse. Here are 6 tips to make it less of a headache. – Vigour Times

Critics by

When deciding what to wear to the airport, you’ll want to keep airport security in mind. Skip the belt and chunky jewelry, wear a jacket you can easily take on or off, and opt for shoes you can slip off easily. I also always wear socks because no one wants to walk barefoot through security.vPlus, since you will likely be checking your ticket a thousand times while you’re at the airport, wear something with pockets so you can easily access your phone and passport.

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for two weeks, a month, or a weekend. You can fit everything you need in a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Remember, laundry exists all over the world, and when is the last time you ever wore everything you packed anyway? What you pack will vary based on where you’re going of course, but my go-to is two pairs of shoes, a couple pairs of jeans, a couple dresses, a sweater or sweatshirt, five shirts, PJs, and five pairs of socks and underwear.

Depending where you’re traveling you may need extras (like a swimsuit, scarf, rain jacket, etc), but you get the idea. When deciding what to wear to the airport, you’ll want to keep airport security in mind. Skip the belt and chunky jewelry, wear a jacket you can easily take on or off, and opt for shoes you can slip off easily. I also always wear socks because no one wants to walk barefoot through security.

Plus, since you will likely be checking your ticket a thousand times while you’re at the airport, wear something with pockets so you can easily access your phone and passport. The TSA suggests packing in layers, which works well. Put things you won’t need to touch at security or in-flight at the bottom of your personal item, and pack items you know you’ll have to access at the top. These items might include large electronics (laptop, Kindle, iPad), food, liquids, gels, and aerosols.

All airports have different procedures, and actually I’ve been through some airports that don’t even make you pull out liquids. I think it depends on their screening equipment. That being said, you can avoid any holds-ups by following the “official” rules, which say all liquids, gels, and aerosols should be 3.4 ounces or less, and they should all fit in a single, quart-sized plastic bag.There is nothing worse than getting to your seat only to find that the overhead bin space around you is full. If this happens, you’re basically suck with two unfortunate options: 1.) put your bag behind you, knowing that you’ll have to wait for everyone to deplane before you get it, or 2.) move against the flow of people boarding the plane and find a bin closer to the front of the aircraft.

I always make a game-time call as I’m boarding or I ask the welcoming flight attendant about the status of overhead bin space. If it looks full, I put my bag in a bin closer to the front of the plane on the way to my seat so it will be easy to grab as I deplane. Just make sure to remember the aisle number! If you’re worried about making a connection, there are a few things you can do to deplane and get to your connecting gate quickly. First, use the airline’s app to figure out where you’ll be landing and what gate you need to go to.

Next, let a flight attendant know you have a tight connection. You might also want to inform your seat mate so you can get up quickly. If you’re lucky, the flight team will make an announcement asking people to stay seated so passengers with tight connections can deplane. 

Qatar on a Budget: Insider Travel Tips From Qatar Tourism GlobeNewswire (Press Release)

16:32 Thu, 23 Jun
15:10 Thu, 23 Jun
01:23 Thu, 23 Jun

16:52 Wed, 22 JunCost of watching Leeds United home and away revealed as travel fares mount Leeds Live

Rising fares, staff gaps casts shadow on air travel rebound Reuters – YouTube

04:17 Sat, 18 Jun
01:13 Fri, 17 Jun

23:00 Thu, 16 Jun

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Summer Travel Forecast: Plenty Of Flight Delays And Cancellations, With Higher Airfares

Yesterday, 462 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were cancelled and 6,623 were delayed, according to FlightAware, an app that provides real-time, historical, and predictive flight tracking data.

That wasn’t just a blip. Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled the day before, as well as the day before that.

While many of these disruptions can be chalked up to staffing shortages, it’s worth noting that pilots from Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines have been picketing in the past week. “That means there’s a systemic issue that isn’t going away by summer in terms of flight crew or pilot shortages,” says Kathleen Bangs, a former commercial airline pilot and spokesperson for FlightAware.

Symptomatic of the same problem is that carriers like JetBlue and Alaska Airlines have been cutting back on routes — not just for a few days or weeks, but months into the future as they try to manage staff shortages.

One airline pulling out or reducing frequency on a route can greatly impact airfares. “We’ve seen that when lower-cost carriers, such as JetBlue, enter a new route, it can drive down prices overall on the route by about 20%,” says Berg, lead economist at the deal-finding site Hopper. “However, when there’s less competition on a route because that carrier exits, prices tend to rebound by about 12%.”

“In one-off instances this won’t have a significant impact on airfare,” says Berg. “But extended and far-reaching cancellations will have a more pronounced impact on demand and put upward pressure on airfare.”

This partly explains why some carriers are backpedaling on their initial peak-season projections. “Some airlines like Alaska Airlines were forecasting even greater capacity than in pre-pandemic 2019, but have had to scale back sky high expectations slightly due to labor shortages and increased pilot attrition and pilot shortages,” says Bangs. “Other airlines such as Southwest are reporting seeing similar issues with not being able to get enough pilots trained and back online.”

For the airlines and their customers, staffing problems couldn’t come at a worse time. As infections from the original omicron variant fell in February and March, travel demand came roaring back. Currently, U.S. airline passenger volume is averaging about 92% of the pre-pandemic levels, according to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) throughput data.

Surging demand, coupled with a 30% rise in fuel prices since Russia invaded Ukraine, is sending airfares skyward as we head into the summer travel season.

As of now, domestic airfare is trending 7% above 2019 prices at $330 round-trip, according to Hopper’s data. “That is the highest average domestic airfare we’ve seen since we started collecting this data,” says Berg. “International airfare is matching 2019 prices at $810 round trip.”

Bangs doesn’t see a quick fix on the horizon. “What we’re seeing is not just a growing pilot shortage,” she says. “For some carriers it’s attrition to other rival airlines that pilots view as having better working conditions, greater pay, or a more favorable union contract.”

“Many airlines are building up relationships with aviation universities and with regional carriers to create a pipeline of pilots they can draw from, but right now that well is getting dry as the regionals struggle to keep their top-tier pilots long enough to meet the demands of their schedules,” explains Bangs.

For travelers who haven’t booked their summer vacations yet, Berg recommends not waiting too much longer, since the combination of booming demand, higher jet fuel prices and airline staff shortages will only drive summer airfares higher still.

“Prices are on the rise overall this summer, so you should use a price monitoring app like Hopper to start tracking fares now so you can buy at the right time,” she advises. “In general, you’ll want to book summer trips by the first week of May.”

I watch trends in travel. Prior to working at Forbes, I was a longtime freelancer who contributed hundreds of articles to Conde Nast Traveler, CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure, Afar, Reader’s

Source: Summer Travel Forecast: Plenty Of Flight Delays And Cancellations, With Higher Airfares

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What’s Worse Than a Pandemic? A Twindemic

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On the record of issues to fret about within the age of SARS-CoV-2, boring, outdated winter flu most likely doesn’t rank extremely. Particularly not in the course of a summer season warmth wave. And but it ought to.

Humanity has grown so accustomed to annual waves of influenza that it was the baseline comparability when Covid first arrived. (It’ll be simply one other flu, we stated.) The implication was that ranges of influenza illness, hospitalization and loss of life have been acceptable, even inevitable.

I used to be definitely responsible of that considering. Though my employer provides an annual flu shot, I typically didn’t hassle to get it. However the pandemic has uncovered the weak spot of our attitudes and insurance policies towards influenza. We now have a possibility to do issues otherwise. This isn’t an argument for flu-driven lockdowns or a nationwide paranoia about any bug. However we are able to construct higher defenses towards influenza at comparatively little value, and for a acquire in lives and health-care capability.

One purpose to get extra severe about flu is its value, each economically and in human phrases. Annual prices of treating influenza (routinely in extra of $10 billion within the U.S.) are vital, even whenever you simply have a look at hospital outlays for these most severely affected.

Influenza epidemics within the northern hemisphere have an effect on anyplace from 5% to fifteen% of the inhabitants yearly. On common, about 8% of the U.S. inhabitants get sick from flu every season. For many, it’s normally a light, if disagreeable expertise. However for some, it may be lethal.

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management estimates that, on common, 36,000 folks have died of flu every year during the last decade, with 61,000 deaths within the 2017-2018 flu season. Within the U.Okay., the common is about 17,000 annual deaths. Clearly, Covid is a unique order of magnitude, however the prices to the health-care system from flu should not trivial.

The aged are most susceptible to flu, however so are pregnant ladies, very younger youngsters and people with different medical circumstances and weakened immune methods. Some who contract and recuperate from flu find yourself with post-viral signs that drag on. Lengthy Covid has confirmed us simply how debilitating these could be.

What occurs whenever you layer flu on high of Covid-19? We don’t actually know, since final winter noticed an extremely delicate flu season, principally as a consequence of measures equivalent to lockdowns, social distancing and masking. Infections charges for flu have been two-thirds decrease than in the course of the 2011-2012 season, which had file low charges.

We are able to’t depend on a repeat. The low prevalence of flu final 12 months makes it tougher to foretell which strains to incorporate on this winter’s vaccine. We might get fortunate once more, or issues might worsen: Lowered ranges of pure immunity after a couple of low-flu seasons might make it simpler for brand new variants to take maintain.

Britain, with its overstretched nationwide health-care system and gargantuan backlog of surgical procedures and different procedures, can scarcely afford a foul flu season. Consultations for influenza-like diseases take up substantial GP time and hospital capability in a standard 12 months. Excessive charges of flu on high of Covid can be a pressure too far, requiring substantial new authorities sources and leaving many individuals with out remedy.

However it’s not simply the compounded well being burden that ought to make us rethink influenza. The very fact is, we’ve got been far too complacent about flu for too lengthy. Many flu deaths are preventable with jabs and the sorts of behavioral modifications we’ve grown accustomed to from Covid.

Not solely did the social-distancing measures imposed in the course of the pandemic lower the unfold of flu, they’re additionally estimated to have led to a 20% drop within the widespread respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) within the U.S. RSV accounts for five% of the deaths in youngsters below 5 globally. The issue now, nonetheless, is that the current lifting of Covid restrictions has coincided with unseasonably excessive RSV circumstances within the U.S.

Larger ranges of flu vaccination can be a game-changer. Final winter, flu vaccine uptake in Britain reached file ranges, with the Nationwide Well being Service vaccinating greater than 80% of these over 65 — 10% increased than the earlier 12 months and forward of the World Well being Group purpose of 75% for the primary time.

However the vaccination price drops off with the younger. Lower than 45% of these below 65 with a number of underlying danger components will get vaccinated. Though greater than 2.5 million youngsters have been vaccinated by means of college packages, that’s nonetheless properly below half (47.5%) of all children. Uptake additionally varies throughout ethnic teams, with some minorities lagging in getting vaccines. Within the U.S., Black communities (the place vaccine charges are round 41%) had the best flu-related hospitalization price of any ethnicity.

A examine on the College of Bristol is presently searching for to find out what negative effects folks get when given the really useful flu vaccine together with both the Oxford/AstraZeneca or the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. Getting a joint Covid-19 booster shot and flu shot might guarantee that there’s extra flu vaccine protection.

In fact, the effectiveness of flu vaccines can range from one season to the following and from individual to individual. They’re usually between 40% and 60% efficient once they match up properly with the variants circulating.

So we’d be properly served to additionally apply our Covid habits to diseases like flu. Which may imply extra hybrid working throughout peak flu months or if there’s an outbreak. Masking at sure occasions, even when not obligatory, makes loads of sense too.

If Covid-19, like flu, goes to be a recurrent seasonal affliction — as appears possible — we might want to higher handle the stress on the well being methods in the course of the winter. Meaning being ready to finance increased ranges of care throughout these crunch intervals or doing extra to cut back the pressure on the system. We’ll most probably by no means remove influenza and different viruses, however we are able to make winters more cost effective and fewer depressing by elevating the bar on an sickness that many people handled too casually.

Source: What’s worse than a pandemic? A twindemic | Asia Post

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Critics:

As public health officials look to fall and winter, the specter of a new surge of Covid-19 gives them chills. But there is a scenario they dread even more: a severe flu season, resulting in a “twindemic.”

Even a mild flu season could stagger hospitals already coping with Covid-19 cases. And though officials don’t know yet what degree of severity to anticipate this year, they are worried large numbers of people could forgo flu shots, increasing the risk of widespread outbreaks.

The concern about a twindemic is so great that officials around the world are pushing the flu shot even before it becomes available in clinics and doctors’ offices. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been talking it up, urging corporate leaders to figure out ways to inoculate employees. The C.D.C. usually purchases 500,000 doses for uninsured adults but this year ordered an additional 9.3 million doses.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been imploring people to get the flu shot, “so that you could at least blunt the effect of one of those two potential respiratory infections.”

The flu vaccine is rarely mandated in the U.S. except by some health care facilities and nursery schools, but this month the statewide University of California system announced that because of the pandemic, it is requiring all 230,000 employees and 280,000 students to get the flu vaccine by November 1.

According to the C.D.C., flu season occurs in the fall and winter, peaking from December to February, and so was nearing its end as the pandemic began to flare in the United States in March.

Vaccine mandates are controversial. They’re also effective.

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