Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Cloud

The Cloud hanging over Europe has become yet another blot on the European Union. Excess of precaution, lack of coordination, tendency to panic in an emergency--all these charges and more are being leveled at the EU. This is all a bit unfair. The emergency was unprecedented, and countries with coordinated leadership haven't exactly distinguished themselves in responses to large-scale emergencies--look at the US in Katrina.

Still, the spectacle of tens of thousands of people sleeping for days in airports, stranded far from home with dwindling cash, and left to fend for themselves suggests that not just the EU but the entire world needs to come up with a plan about what to do in case of a massive disruption of air travel--for which there could be many causes other than volcanoes. We are used to jetting around the globe nowadays, but between the indifference of the airlines and the indifference of governments to the plight of stranded passengers, it is clear that some contingency plan is needed. Anybody whose been stuck in an airport in a large storm can attest to the chaos, and the Icelandic volcano with the impossible name has given us the largest storm yet, and the greatest chaos.

And on a personal note, I hope they get this fixed before May 2, when I am supposed to fly to France.


satchmo said...

I've started to be concerned about upcoming flights as well. This may bring back the transatlantic ocean voyage...

Unknown said...

With hindsight, we didn't die. Yet.

I spent three years in a country where there was, basically, one flight a week in the mid-2000s. Welcome to slower life.