Monday, April 19, 2010

Mount Hey-You-Foot-La, The Great Decelerator


In this age of advanced security measures, instant communication, and rapid transit, it's amazing to me that a bunch of ash can ground a good honking chunk of air travel worldwide.  And before that, it was low-flying geese that was able to lay several domestic jets low.  A historically conscious friend and traveler told me that the last time that tongue-twisting Icelandic volcano erupted (over 150 years ago), it kept right on erupting for about a year.  Maybe they should install some sleeping rooms right there in the Hong Kong airport?

I'm thinking that before the airlines start convincing us that their ash-filtering technology really works (really) that maybe it couldn't hurt to expand our travel options.  I mean, you gotta figure that there might be some desperate air companies that just might start running the actuarial numbers to see if a few unsuccessful test runs would really cost so much compared to what they are losing now.  Cynicism runs deep.

Maybe the hey day of ocean travel is not over after all, I'm thinking.  Wood paneled sleeping berths?  Walks on the deck on chilly, clear nights?  Dressing for dinner?  Hey, even if it adds a few days onto the journey, doesn't it sound a whole lot more civilized than stale nuts and squeezing oneself into a tiny, pay-toilet at 35,000 feet?