We constantly talk about how small the world is, how we can get from A to B quite quickly, how easy it is to travel and see new cultures — and then nature decides to tell us a thing or two. In the end, without aeroplanes to rule the skies, the world is still pretty big. I watched on TV, the hardship people went through to get from Venice to Calais. Now I use the term hardship pretty loosely, given that I think there are higher degrees of hardship. However, for people who are pretty much used to short travelling times, hotels (probably) and a high degree of comfort, I would classify the volcanic ash crisis as hardship for them. And yet, even with our modern modes of transportation, it still took them 5 days. Wow, I’ll bet Europe never seemed so big for them.
For me, life pretty much went on as normal. I was very glad not to have booked an overseas holiday. Instead, I had a staycation in the lovely Lake District. But more on that another time. But I have to admit it was very strange to drive past Heathrow Airport last Friday and see the big sign that said “Airport Closed”. And the amount of birdsong that I could hear was just lovely. All weekend, with the lovely weather and relative peace and quiet, every day has felt like a public holiday (or, bank holiday, as it is known over here). It’s been so nice.
It’s good that nature does her thing from time to time. It’s a good reminder that we are not in control of everything, that there are things that are beyond our control, and that we need to pay greater respect to nature.
Which brings me to my next thought? Compensation. Everyone is looking for compensation. Airlines are looking for compensation. Disgruntled travellers are looking for compensation. Everyone looking for someone to blame. This thing that happened? It’s just one of those unfortunate things that happen from time to time. (It is also one of those unfortunate events where the lawyers will win no matter what.)
Do people truly want to fly if there are grave concerns for safety? I know I don’t. I think the only people who should be paying are the insurance companies – provided they bought an insurance policy. Everyone knows to buy house insurance or car insurance. Everyone understands what it means to be without house insurance or car insurance. Same difference. If travellers forgot, or thought they can get away with it. Too bad. And for that matter, airlines too. I am sure there were insurance policies that airlines could have purchased for this kind of unexpected event. Sorry, but the argument that the government should now compensate the airlines for this decision is ridiculous.
What was possibly the alternative? Let airlines fly and have some planes crash? Cool! If that had happened, we would all have been saying “There should have been a blanket ban.” See what I mean by the lawyers winning, no matter what happens? You can see the litigation coming, can’t you?