spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Bits & Pieces: Southwest & travel visa to Europe

on March 11, 2019

You may have seen the news…

sw hi

Tickets are now on sale, at great introductory prices!  Flights start this coming weekend.

  • Flights between both Oakland and San Jose, Calif., and the Islands, now available for purchase through March 5 for as low as $49 one-way.
  • Interisland service to begin April 28 between Honolulu and Kahului (Maui), and May 12 between Honolulu and Kona, now available for purchase through March 5 for as low as $29 one-way.
  • Visit Southwest.com/Hawaii to learn more about Southwest’s offerings for the Aloha State.

Unfortunately, that is too late for me to take advantage of for my next trip (I’m leaving tonight).  But you can still try and book.  Keep in mind that Southwest has a general rule that they will not operate red-eye flights.  So the Hawaii schedule is a little weird when you are looking at the return to the islands in a round-trip itinerary.  Play around on the site a bit.  I’m considering telling my parents to fly Southwest on an interisland trip when they visit us in May- strictly for research purposes, you understand 🙂

The other travel news that affects US citizens flying abroad is:

Starting in 2021, Americans and travelers from other visa-free countries will have to take an extra step when visiting more than two dozen countries in Europe.

I’ve read many articles claiming that the extra step is obtaining a visa, which it is not.  A travel visa usually means you as a traveler are essentially notifying a country when you want to visit, and are given (or pay for, depending on the country) a temporary pass for that specific country, biometric information might be taken, you might need to visit a consulate, etc.  This is not that.  It’s essentially a documentation step, and is not tied to any specific travel plans.  It’s worth noting that UK residents have been using this system to visit the United States for years.

The European Commission explained it thusly:

The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa. Nationals of visa liberalisation countries will continue to travel the EU without a visa but will simply be required to obtain a travel authorisation via ETIAS prior to their travel. ETIAS will be a simple, fast and visitor-friendly system, which will, in more than 95% of cases, result in a positive answer within a few minutes.

The current cost estimate is about $7-8 per traveler.  The authorization is good for 3 years and allows an unlimited number of entries during that time.  Americans would still be able to move around in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days at a time.  People are getting a little upset about this but I see no big deal.  Just another thing for the to-do list for our next European adventure!

Well, as I mentioned above, I’m leaving to the mainland tonight.  Worry not, I will be working on the Disneyland Paris trip report post while I’m gone 🙂


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