Thursday, April 15, 2010


Photo courtesy of Reuters

This is one of those "What are the odds?" stories. Last night I was headed back to London on a 6 PM flight. It did not start out well, a four hour delay for mechanical problems, which later the pilot explained as a door handle issue. So, I chilled a bit, took my $30 meal voucher to Pappadeaux, where I treated myself to both a shrimp cocktail and a fried shrimp dinner. Hey, I wan't going to let any money go to waste.

We took off at 10:30. Wasn't long before I crashed, wait maybe that's not the best term, how about fell asleep, since I was not interested in the meal service. About mid-way into the flight, we were awakened by the pilot announcing that we were turning around and going back to Houston. Seems that the volcanic ash from the volcano in Iceland was blowing eastward into UK airspace and all UK airports were closed. Currently joining Scotland, Ireland and England in the closures are airports in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries. Some flights into Switzerland and Germany have been cancelled too since the major air corridor between North America and Europe is compromised. Between 4,000-5,000 flights will be affected by the day's end. Oddly enough, should you care to, you can still fly into Reykjavik, Iceland, since the ash is blowing eastward away from them.

It seems that the volcanic ash and microscopic particles are very dangerous to fly through, because it can wreak havoc on engines. It is not known at this point when airports will reopen. Some scientists say that this "eruption" could cause "disruptions" for days and maybe weeks to come. Too soon to tell. 
All I can say is that I'm thankful that my schedule was flexible and that I have a home here in Houston where I can be comfortable. It was very emotional seeing families in tears today as their plans to get home, or their travel plans were put on hold for days. Weekend flights were already full, so no place to reschedule them. Some were missing tours that were leaving without them, after they had saved and saved for months. Rescheduling everyone will take many days to come, as we play out this waiting game. At least, I'm not alone--tens of thousands of others are in the same boat.
Boat! Now there's an idea--maybe now's the time for a trans-Atlantic cruise.


  1. Glad that truthfully all is well but having put so much trouble myself into travel planning before I feel so much for those, who, as you said, have planned and saved for months. I thought of you when I saw the news and appreciate the update. Take care and have a good weekend.

  2. So sorry for your inconvenience---I'm sure Mike is missing you!

  3. we barely missed that volcanic ash, ourselves!

    so thankful all the flights were safe! what a
    disaster to fly through that ash.

    saved by the bell.

  4. Heard about this on the news! Glad everything went OK for you!

  5. Oh you poor thing! What a terrible situation for so many people. You are indeed so very lucky to have a home to head back to.

    I am going to have to google this as I was not even aware of the whole situation.

    Best wishes and take care,

  6. Who could foresee Icelandic volcanic ash causing such difficulty? Wow, what are the odds on that one? Glad you returned to Texas safely.

  7. I saw where a flight from Houston to London was diverted... I thought about you.

    You are so right about all those families who have save and splurged on their trips. London will be there for you when you get back.

    My lucky ducky sister is stranded in Sicily...

  8. Wow! What timing! My question is... will the ash rain down on all these countries? I guess it has to go somewhere. Glad you made it safely back to Houston!

  9. Listening to the news, and it seems to get worse. You just wonder what the stranded travelers will do. I guess some peoples' schedules will allow them to take trains to their destinations, but that probably does not account for most. Will the airlines put these people up in hotels? Can the airlines afford to put the travelers up? Oh, and on the cruise ships, you might need to watch out for methane bubbles and rogue waves.

  10. So glad they knew better than to fly into the ash! And though you are missing Mike and he is missing you, I'm thankful you are both safe and hoping it won't last too long.

  11. Oh Debi,
    Sorry for this...Hopefully you will have luck in the future. Yes, its a big chaos here in Germany, too. So we will see what the next week bring. Send you good thoughts and enjoy your longer stay in your home in Houston. And thanks for your lovley comment...send you the best and until then...hugs and cheers...Ines