Like most Americans living in Ireland, the only way I can hug my family is by flying (or taking a ship across the Atlantic). Which usually means Aer Lingus to London or Amsterdam then the long-haul flight to the States. Or a bus to Shannon or Dublin then a flight direct to the States from there. It can take about 14 hours to get home to see my parents. Keeping in mind that luggage on the first from Cork to Amsterdam requires payment.
To see my parents in Washington, D.C., it much easier. *laughter* Relatively. But check out what one flight from Ireland’s top three airports costs to Washington Dulles Airport via London. That’s a BIG price difference.
To see my in-laws in Seattle (Go Hawks!), it requires flying out of Cork one evening to Amsterdam then out of Amsterdam at 8am for 13 hours flying. Or flying via London. Here’s a screenshot of that atrocious 29-hour €1,511-one-way itinerary. Yes, that is a stop in Manchester en route to London. And a stop in Chicago. I tried to search for an itinerary without the stops and it wouldn’t let me with Cork as an origin. *face palm*
Then let’s peek at the itinerary via the independent Shannon Airport. Still via London, but no stop in Manchester. Here’s a screenshot of that 16.5-hour €1,782-one-way itinerary.
Of course, I know I have it easy because there are many whose family is in Australia or New Zealand. I think we all count ourselves lucky that Skype and FaceTime exist.