A Confused Air Passenger

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Is it safe to fly?
I don’t know.
Yes says the former F1 driver, Niki Lauder, who flew in his own FlyNiki jet. 19 countries say no and have refused all but emergency flights over their airspace. Gordon Brown has called a meeting of ministers and officials to discuss the matter. The EU commissioner has said he hopes about 50% of European airspace will be open on Monday. Lufthansa, Air Berlin , KLM-France and Air France have undertaken test flights with no apparent damage although the Chief Executive of KLM said that they were awaiting technical results.
You can look at countless websites and there are warnings about what might happen to a flight if it flies through volcanic ash. Now airlines are questioning whether this has not been overplayed. Publicly, few are willing to say that they think the safety authorities have been over cautious. What none wants is a flight that has disastrous consequences when flying.
And what of the passenger?
He/she doesn’t want their safety jeopardised and doesn’t understand the complex arguments of the vulcanologists. The public relies on experts but doesn’t know enough to question whether the arguments are correct. Other expertly advised issues like swine fever and the MMR vaccine scare of a few years ago have been questioned but longer term damage had been done by the time the time they started shouting. People are beginning to wonder if this is a scare or genuine.
From the other side isn’t there something airlines can do to protect their engines people ask? If a plane flies through a dust storm would a very fine mesh covering give some protection? That might be a foolish question but someone needs to ask them and the public isn’t sure anyone is. Isn’t there anything technical that can be done to decrease the likelihood of engines stalling?
Then my confusion extends when experts talk of potentially the problem lasting to some degree for months. Scaremongering the public would ask? Or maybe I should not book that holiday abroad this year but stay in the UK? At least it seems to carry less hassle than going abroad and if the weather is as good as it was in the south east of England this Sunday, why go away?

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