Chagrin Winter Break Vacations Shutdown

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Chagrin Winter Break Vacations Shutdown

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Starting on Saturday, December 22, the government entered a partial shutdown, causing the suspension of pay and work for hundreds of government employees.

While this shutdown has major implications for more high-profile government functions such as lawmaking, there were also big effects for holiday travellers, as FAA and TSA workers have their pay suspended while the shutdown remains in effect and have therefore been disinclined to continue working.

With all of these changes within airports and other aspects of travel beginning right around the holiday season, many Chagrin students had their winter break vacations affected by the shutdown in more ways than one.

“In the Cleveland airport on the way there, the general entrance line for TSA was very long,” described junior Isabel Pulte, who travelled from Cleveland to San Francisco and later to Maui, Hawaii.

While she did admit that some of this delay was likely attributed to the typical holiday rush seen by travellers, it is clear the shutdown only served to multiply obstacles for travellers.

Unfortunately, many travellers were not prepared for these effects on their travel times.

“I did not consider the fact that the shutdown would affect the flight,” stated Pulte, illustrating the surprise that she and many other travellers experienced at terminals this Christmas season.

On the other hand, though, there were some travellers who were preparing well in advance for changes in their trips that the government shutdown could potentially cause.

“I was worried about the government shutdown especially since I was in China which issued an exit ban. However, I don’t feel like it impacted anything directly,” expressed junior Anais Levi, who travelled to several different parts of China such as Hong Kong and Taipei, all by plane.

Her experiences revealed the true depth of the effect of the shutdown, as lengthened TSA lines were only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to these longer wait times and potential travel barriers, many air traffic control employees had their work affected by the shutdown, with many losing pay and therefore being reluctant to work.

“We did…experience a lot of delays on both the way there and back of almost an hour waiting on the runway,” explained Pulte. This was likely a direct result of short-staffed traffic control towers, who are in charge of directing and advising flights both on the ground and in the air spaces around their airports.

Senior Niah Johnson, who travelled to Mexico over break, experienced similar issues with delays on the runway of her flights.

“One of my layovers was super delayed and people were annoyed,” Johnson described.

She also echoed the idea of longer lines within the airport, although she felt that this was likely due more to the holiday rush than anything else.

Even further building on all of the issues travellers faced in airports, many popular destinations such as national parks were closed as a result of the shutdown. Fortunately, Chagrin students did not see any impacts from this side of the shutdown.

“We went to a national park while in San Francisco and we were worried that the park would be closed due to the shutdown. However, it was open and seemed well maintained and unaffected by the shutdown,” Pulte recounted, expressing relief over being able to fully enjoy her winter break.

Overall, while Chagrin travellers did face a few barriers during their winter breaks, the government shutdown did not prevent them from having fulfilling vacations.

“It was an amazing opportunity to witness and be a part of a culture so different from what we have her,” described Levi of her trip, echoing the excitement that many were able to experience on their vacations despite the shutdown.

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