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Grinding to a halt

The holiday season is here! I know a lot of people who flew home or to a vacation destination this past weekend. Fortunately, all the people I know made it to Dubai safely but some weren’t so lucky.

This month has brought record-low temperatures to the United Kingdom and Ireland. As a result, some of the world’s busiest airports, including Heathrow, were grounded to a standstill this past weekend causing thousands of passengers to spend stressed out nights in the airport and hotels. There are some amazing photos popping up on Twitter of how much snow Europe has received, including the one below of a plane struggling through snow at Heathrow airport.

Photograph by Sergio Mello, @sergiofly

The first thing I thought of was, “Thank god I wasn’t flying anywhere during the holidays.”  During university, I made the trip to Dubai around this weekend every December via Heathrow. Thankfully, apart from baggage delays and a missed connection, my travels were more or less uneventful.

Once I stopped thinking about myself, I had a feeling of déjà vu from these news reports taking me back to this hard-to-pronounce-and-spell volcano in Iceland. An ash cloud from the eruption managed to cause the largest air traffic shut-down since World War II. The 6-day shutdown inconvenienced thousands of passengers and is estimated to have caused losses of US$200 million per day!

Makes me realize that even though we may be getting closer to understanding how the universe was formed, we are still at it’s mercy every day.

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