Eyjafjallajökull East of Stansted
Jeremy Harding · The Right to Travel
Flying is for happening people and though I try to happen as seldom as possible, sometimes it’s irresistible, which is why I’m booked to fly any moment with RyanAir. First time in eight years, even though the airport’s up the road. But then along comes Eyjafjallajökull, east of Stansted. East in the same way that Krakatoa is ‘east’ of Java, i.e. west. On the RyanAir website I can see the company ‘apologises sincerely for any inconvenience caused by these eruptions’. At least I think that’s what it says. But that doesn’t address my sense of entitlement, which includes the right to travel unimpeded by natural phenomena, e.g. fog, snow, volcanoes, meteorite showers, Canada geese and flying toads.
The ‘I hate Iceland’ incident, handled with such aplomb by a Sky News reporter at Edinburgh airport yesterday, speaks to the heart and soul of my indignation, while the rest of humanity remains stoical in the face of the ‘disruptions’ (that must have been the word I misread on the RyanAir site). So stoical indeed that when Getty images went in search of passengers ‘showing signs of frustration’ in Sydney – which is definitely east of Java, Krakatoa, Stansted and Eyjafjallajökull – the only photos they could find to fit the caption were of a calm middle-aged woman sitting on a suitcase, thumbing her mobile and a dad with his head in his hands.
The fun place to be until planes resume flying is out in your garden under the heavens, devoid of happening people, but worth keeping an eye on for signs of extra-terrestrial life, as ‘Aelfrede’, posting on abovetopsecret, explained on Ash Wednesday: ‘Any craft seen in the sky at the moment is perhaps more likely to be alien in nature. So all those in the effected countries should certainly be looking up at the skies.’ We are. And some of us could spend all day at it, even though we’ve got a plane to catch.