Editor's Blog

We’re walking in the air(port)!

‘Tis the season to be stranded at the airport - or so we thought. Thankfully, Ryanair’s last minute capitulation to work with pilots’ unions has headed off any proposed industrial action over the Christmas period.

Meanwhile, at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport hundreds of flights were cancelled and thousands were left stranded following a power cut that plunged the airport into darkness.

The airport is the world's busiest, handling more than 250,000 passengers and almost 2,500 flights every day. But during its first hour of operation on Monday morning, fewer than a dozen commercial flights departed.

All this seems rather prosaic today; cast your minds back dear readers, to the apocalyptic scenes at Heathrow and Gatwick in December 2010 when the coldest winter on record ground all transport systems to a halt. I spent an interesting two days trudging around Heathrow with around 300,000 other people trapped by snow with no departing flights on the horizon. I slept in the ballroom of the Sofitel with a delegation of Chinese industrialists, who when sleeping, snored in perfect unison like a shoreline of tranquilised walruses.

There was a little bit of Christmas cheer, the hotel staff did their best to keep everyone happy, pop up cinemas appeared, bin loads of books and games arrived. Sleeping bags and snack bags were handed out to bleary-eyed travellers and generally speaking, everyone just got on with it.

Two days later my plane descended into the halogen landscape of Dubai and the winter was heat-blasted to oblivion by the Arabian sunshine.

Despite some alarming headlines this Christmas is likely to be a mild one, but wherever you’re travelling, stay safe and warm - and always carry some earplugs, just in case you find yourself bedding down with the Guangdong male voice choir.

Merry Christmas one and all.

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