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Ethiopia - Christmas - AYE

Anonymous
Fri, 09/24/2010 - 22:34

Anyone else booked for this trip? I am on it as a single traveller.

I guess it will be quite hard work and a bit of an adventure.

Anonymous
Fri, 09/24/2010 - 22:34

Malcolm Ruddiforth.

Anonymous
Wed, 10/27/2010 - 17:30

Hi Malcolm, I am on this trip too. Should be interesting and better than sitting in front of the TV at home!

Sheila

Anonymous
Fri, 10/29/2010 - 19:34

Hi Shiela and Malcolm.....hope the groups fun and he country amazing...am curious about the last two days and sad that were not going to Harar....nail

Tue, 11/02/2010 - 18:30

Hi everyone,

have you seen the BBC documentary series "The Lost Kingdoms of Africa"?

There's an episode on Ethiopia which was amazing.

Liam

Anonymous
Wed, 11/03/2010 - 12:41

Just got a copy of Bradts "Ethiopia" and a map of the country. Looks very interesting. The last two nights are just about on the map.
Went to my Medical Centre yesterday to find all my innoculations are well out of date. So am topping up on Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis, Measles, Typhoid and some others. Take note Yellow Fever has to be done 10 days in advance and my surgery charges £70. (It may be you have to show a Yellow Fever certificate to get in but not 100% certain of that). All the other shots are for free. We are not in malarial areas.
Malcolm.

Anonymous
Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:30

Is everyone else getting their visa on arival?  Is the yellow fever certificate mandatory (i see mine has lapsed!)?

Sheila

Anonymous
Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:59

I shall get my visa on landing. Read someplace that it may be quicker getting through rather than standing in the queue with the visa holders. May be a bit late to get one here in UK now?

 

Don't think YF cert is mandatory.

Anonymous
Mon, 11/22/2010 - 12:01

Dear All on the Ethiopia trip

Looking forward to meeting the others in the group.  I am going one day early and leaving one day later because I am going via Dubai on Emirates.  Is anyone else doing that ?  I have got my visa via the Exodus recommended agent - they were very efficient. 

June Addison

I too intend to get visa on arrival, we'll need 2 passport-size photographs. I had a new yellow fever jab (only £50) as mine had expired (though actually it's contra-indicated for oldies like me!). I shall also be taking malaria prophylaxis. Just been checking through everything to plan what to take. Looking forward to the trip and to meeting everyone.

Liz du Parcq 

Anonymous
Sat, 12/18/2010 - 14:50

Well, looking out of my window, I fear that I shan't have the pleasure of meeting you all or enjoying Ethiopia!  There is about a foot of snow here in North Oxfordshire and still coming down relentlessly.  Even if by some miracle, the flight leaves tomorrow, I can't see any possibility of getting out of my village to be on it.  So if any of you make it, have a lovely time.

Sheila 

Anonymous
Sat, 12/18/2010 - 19:55

Have 2 degrees of frost here in Hull. No snow at the 'mo.

Brought my train forward to 9 in the morning but wondering whether to set off.

Not sure where to get advice.  Go to LHR sleep on the floor and come home? Hotels all packed solid.

Think I will go for it, just to convince the insurers I made a good effort.

Anonymous
Sat, 12/18/2010 - 20:12

June Addison

Anonymous
Sat, 12/18/2010 - 20:20

I was booked on Emirates to Addis via Dubai todayn arriving just beofor the. Main group. Now delayed until the earliest Sunday morning midday. I am going to stick with it and sleep at Heathrow ! And hope. That I can get to Addis byb the time that the group sets off on Tuesday. I canKt contact Exodus and perhaps anyone could le t The main group know of my situation . Thanks and hope to meet you in Addis. June Addison
une Addison

Anonymous
Sat, 12/18/2010 - 20:46

There is a good chance you will be there long before the main group. It might be you are the only one.

Sat, 12/18/2010 - 22:49

I've just (22.30 Saturday) called Ethiopian Airlines on 0800 635 0644, they said they hadn't yet got an update from Heathrow about the group flight 20.25 Sunday but to try again in 3 hours. So I'll do that, and if I get any useful information I'll post it here. It's also possible to check flight status on their website and I guess that will be updated at the same time if there's any information available. I am in south London so should be able to get to Heathrow by public transport, though at present there are 'severe delays on the Piccadilly Line'.

 June, it could be worse (a bit), some flights are actually cancelled, with little hope in the week before Christmas of re-booking. I really hope you get away some time on Sunday and that we'll all meet up Monday or Tuesday in Addis.

The message on the Exodus website (posted Friday) was to contact airlines/ airline websites, and if flights are cancelled to try to re-book through the airline. If we are delayed we are supposed to call Exodus on 01582 644100 (from 16.00 Saturday until office re-opens Monday) or the office when it's open on 020 8675 5550 to advise them of new arrival time as soon as we know it. Presumably the Ethiopian tour leader will be checking from that end as well, at least about the flights he is aware of.

What a nightmare. At exactly the same time last year I thought a 5 hour weather delay at Gatwick on my way to Cuba was a problem. Now I know better.

and they said they won't have any further information until 10.00 Sunday - possible options seemed to range from departure on time right through via delay to cancellation with full refund!

But his customer care skills were quite good

Liz du Parcq

Sun, 12/19/2010 - 10:12

... from Ethiopian Airlines seems to be that ET701 20.25 Sunday is cancelled, but the flight should get away Monday afternoon. They don't know what time yet, but that information should be available later today (Sunday). I am currently holding the line for Exodus, and being thanked for my patience.

Liz du Parcq

and it was eventually answered by a helpful young lady who told me the office had now opened and she was transferring me to them. She did, it rang, then the answerphone came on, various options and other numbers offered and I managed to leave a voicemail message to say flight ET701 appeared to be leaving Monday afternoon, and that I was assuming we should still attempt to get there.

Liz du Parcq

Anonymous
Sun, 12/19/2010 - 11:30

I have tried various numbers given by the 01582 number, most of which were only "office hours" numbers.  I left a message on one, but am not confident that it will be returned until tomorrow,so don't know what to do next.

Am trying to live with the disappointment!

Sheila

I have just emailed Juliana Gier at Exodus as follows: 
I think I have established that this flight is definitely not leaving today. Ethiopian Airlines told me it was cancelled but likely to depart Monday afternoon, and I should call later today for a departure times. I can do that, but am just a little nervous that there is no definitive information actually posted on a website to confirm any of this.
I am in telephone and possibly email contact with June Addison whom I know slightly through our work. We each only discovered the other was on the trip via the Compass café pages of your site. She was due to leave Heathrow on Emirates via Dubai yesterday but spent the night at Heathrow and is still there with her Blackberry (07710 209 617) feeling a bit isolated and not sure if she will make it to Addis in time to meet up with the rest of the group before we are all due to be on an internal flight to Bahar Dar. I guess the Ethiopian agent is aware of all the delays and will make whatever adjustments are possible in the circumstances. And June may well still get there before the group flight anyway.
A group member called Sheila Doel (from rural Oxfordshire) has posted that she has left an answerphone message on an Exodus number but doesn’t know what else to do. Someone called Malcolm Ruddiforth posted yesterday that he was planning to get a train down to London at 9.00 today from Hull – so he is probably now somewhere in London.
I understand the Exodus office may have opened up – you may even be there. You must be frantically busy but are you able to provide us, and other members of the group, with any email reassurance about anything?
Thanks in anticipation.
I've no idea whether she is in the office or able to respond!
Liz du Parcq
Anonymous
Sun, 12/19/2010 - 12:37

I also managed to get through to Ethiopian Airlines early this morning & was told today's (Sunday) flight was cancelled but they were hoping to get away Monday afternoon - reassuring to have that corroborated!  Found it impossible to get through to Exodus on their out of hours number, but like others I'm assuming the tour will still go ahead if we can fly tomorrow, so will try to get there.

 Keeping fingers crossed...

 Ann

Anonymous
Sun, 12/19/2010 - 14:09

Exodus have just posted a new message on the website, giving office hours today as 9 - 4pm, and two contact numbers.  I spoke to them using 08458639616.  They say that the tour will be going ahead as planned as there are some people already there.  Beyond that, they seemed very confused, and did not seem to have had much information from Ethiopian Airlines.  At the end of the conversation, they said they would take responsibility for rebooking me on the Monday flight (if there were spaces available) and would contact me by telephone on Monday.  At the risk of flooding them with calls, it might be worth other people who still want to travel calling them to confirm that they want to rebook.

 Still hoping to get there...

 Ann

 

 

 

 

Anonymous
Sun, 12/19/2010 - 14:58

I have just spoken to a real human being at Exodus(08458639643) who said he would phone me back when the flight status for tomorrow was clear.  We would have to fly straight on to Bahar because some land only passengers will be there already.  Am trying not to get my hopes up too much because there will be 2 planes' worth of passengers keen to get seats but I am keeping my suitcase packed in case!!

Sheila

Sun, 12/19/2010 - 15:27

... and am sitting tight until I hear from them tomorrow about a flight on Monday or perhaps Tuesday - apparently they have 700 people who haven't been able to get away this weekend.

And if we decide to give up, or it just isn't possible to get us there, we will get a full refund.

Liz

Anonymous
Sun, 12/19/2010 - 18:19

This is Kimberley and I'm booked on the Ethiopian tour wondering if I'll actually be able to go at all. I am still in Canada where there is lots of snow and lots of snow clearing equipment if Heathrow would like to borrow some. The runways here are clear but flights to London are cancelled until further notice.

According to the posts here, the flight from Heathrow to Addis is delayed. (I have to say these posts have been the most informative source of updates I've come across so far.)

I am rebooked on a different flight through Frankfurt and if that doesn't get cancelled I should be there by the 23rd having missed part of the tour that I was so looking forward to.

Anyways it sounds like other people are in the same boat (hmmm...maybe that would be a better option) so I'm hoping to get there soon and join the lucky people who are there already.

 Kimberley in Calgary

Sun, 12/19/2010 - 18:44

The trouble is, Kimberley, that southern England almost never gets snow before Christmas - but we got a bit last December, and we've had a lot more this year, starting late November (almost unprecedented). We only get bad snow in London about once in 10 years, so we don't have the infrastructure investment. And when something like this happens, everyone blames governments and local authorities for not adequately investing in snow-clearing equipment. But then the same people complain like mad about taxes and how much public services cost. We have a very perverse and unpredictable island climate, which is actually quite nice most of the time, but we are very much at the mercy of very small shifts in the jet stream. In Canada you have to get snow clearance right - for large chunks of every year!

I really hope we all make it and actually meet up.

Liz

Anonymous
Sun, 12/19/2010 - 22:25

Well the funny thing is Liz that people here also complain that the government's snow budget isn't big enough and that taxes are too high. Since I've been living in Calgary (I'm originally from Toronto) it has snowed every month except July! At the airports is business as usual. They just clear the runway, de-ice the plane and take-off albeit later than scheduled sometimes. 

At least it's nice and green in England most of the time and the temperatures don't plummet to -20 on a regular basis. (Today is -14).

I am not feeling very hopeful right now that I'll be able to make it. 

How is your wait going? Any definitive word on the Ethiopian airlines flight?

Anonymous
Sun, 12/19/2010 - 22:55

Set off at 09.00 tgis morning from Hull. Into KingsX for 12.10. Onto tube for LHR, driver slows train to say the LHR is closed to all incoming and outgoing flights and that LHR are not allowing any more passengers into the terminals. Go back to KingsX. Spoke to Exodus got helpful response, Mondays flight fully booked and LHR may not reopen anyway. Advised to return to Hull (200 miles) as hotels all full.

Hull Trains delayed over an hour. Train turns up and then an electrics cable breaks on the eastern route. KingsX fully closed for several hours. Go to St Pancras get train to Sheffield standing all the way and freezing. Get last train into Hull. Home soon after 10 pm. Poor day out and holiday down the pan. Cannot get back to LHR for Mon afternoon even if it flies.

 

So sorry folks buy won't be joining you. 

 

 

 

Sun, 12/19/2010 - 23:06

No news - we should hear tomorrow (Monday) whether we'll get on a flight Monday or Tuesday. I shall get everything ready before I go to bed tonight so I can make a quick exit if appropriate. But it's really hard to plan sensibly when you don't know whether to empty the refrigerator of all perishable items, or conserve stocks in case you have to stay home but can't easily reach the supermarket!

 Liz

Anonymous
Mon, 12/20/2010 - 09:38

Hi All and thanks so much for all the messages - they have kept me sane and up to date and a special thanks to Liz for her initial information through her valiant attempts to get updates yesterday, Sunday. I finally gave up on Heathrow yesterday at abut midday when it was clear that absolutely nothing was going to happen.  I shall write to BAA (the airports operator) for the effortrs they made in Terminal 3 to keep the passengers fed and watered and warm on Saturuday  night - I have got pictures of passengers wraped up in silver foil all over the floor and seats!  The loos were impeccable!  Then, like Malcolm, the transport system failed and it took me about 3 hours to get back to South London.  An Indian takeaway later and some liquid refreshment made me feel a lot better!  A very helpful person from Exodus by the name of Jim has confirmed that Exodus are trying to rebook me and the group and will let us know.  If not, a full refund so that takes away the ghastly thought of mountains of claim forms for the insurance although there will be ancillary costs for others I imagine.  As Liz has said England does not get this type of weather very often and it is the proverbial law that we are all caught up in it!  heigh Ho - I might even have to eat a sprout on Christmas Day - the supermarkets assured the news programme this morning that they had sufficient stocks!  Here's to sunshine.

June Addison

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:39

I'll be in London for Christmas for the first time since 2001! If the weather/ transport/ road conditions were a bit better, I would do lots of movies, music, ballet, museums and galleries - and I will probably still manage some of that and maybe a few treats with friends. I have various other commitments that make booking alternative dates tricky, but I'll get to Ethiopia one day, and maybe grab some European short breaks once airports and Eurostar are running well again. Good luck to all in your present and future travels.

Liz

Anonymous
Mon, 12/20/2010 - 15:26

I have just had a call from Exodus saying there is space on a flight at 7.30 tonight.  Since even on a good day with no traffic and good road conditions, it would take me 2hrs to drive to Heathrow, not to mention finding somewhere to park, there is now no time to get there in time for check in, especially as I have now unpacked and been shopping.  I am so annoyed not to have been told this - even 3hrs earlier would have been sufficient.

I wonder if any of you who live nearer can make it.  If so, I hope it is a fantastic trip.  Please post something on the "arrivals" board when you get back.

I don't think Exodus have handled this very well.

Sheila 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 17:12

... but couldn't have finished packing, cancelled other arrangements I've made and got to Heathrow from South London by public transport in time (I'm 3 miles from tube). To be fair, I think it was Ethiopian Airlines offering it so late - Exodus were simply passing it on without any pressure. And also by then I'd discovered NatWest had cancelled my debit card (without any telephone warning!) because of some very small fraudulent internet transactions by someone who must somehow have stolen my details online, so all that has had to be sorted out and a new debit card is alleged to be on its way. So then I cleared the snow off my car and got to Sainsbury's and now I too have a load of fresh food.

Liz

Anonymous
Tue, 12/21/2010 - 06:03

Well I guess it's not meant to be this time around. Assuming I could actually get there the tour will be almost over so I'll have to make it to Ethiopia another time.

Kimberley in snowy cold Calgary Canada

Anonymous
Tue, 12/21/2010 - 09:00

I couldn't travel the 200 miles to be on the Monday flight and I have agreed to a refund. Will sort out the incidentals with my insurance.

A hidden bonus at losing my holiday is that the condensate line on my heating boiler filled with ice overnight and cut the house heating off. (Minus 7C here). Heating up and running again. Use jugs of hot water or a hair dryer to clear the pipe. It could have been a disaster to have no heat inside for 10 or so days.

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