Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Der Himmel Über Berlin

As if the EasyJet torture at the end of February wasn't enough, I got to spend this last week increasingly wondering if I'd even be able to fly out of Berlin, due to all the insanity over the Iceland volcano. Now, a little known fact about Katchita will be revealed: I am actually a pilot. Yes, indeed, I have a U.S. pilot's license, albeit the most basic level, meaning small planes and VFR (visual flight rules). It doesn't make me an expert, of course, and I know next to nothing about flying big jets, but what I can say is that I was well trained to visually evaluate conditions in the sky. So I spent much of the first hour of the flight from Berlin to Madrid doing exactly that. But I have to say that I saw absolutely no sign of any airspace even vaguely approaching turbid, murky, smoky or even hazy, up to the point when I finally fell asleep from boredom and pique (something I never did, of course, when in the pilot's seat).

I'm wondering if my luck is changing; I ended up on the first EasyJet flight from Berlin to Madrid in at least 6 days. Even so, EasyJet had, in less than a week, apparently forgotten how to use its own computer system. All of us stood there for an hour as they attempted to extricate themselves from some sort of massive system crash. As I am now of the opinion that EasyJet will use any excuse to cancel a flight (I'm sure they have it carefully calculated out, even down to the cultures most likely to accept being screwed, of which, I'm sad to say, Spain is one), I was on tenterhooks the entire hour. But we flew, no volcanic silicon ash choking our engines, and the thickest cloud I saw was some light Madrid smog welcoming me back.

No comments: