Airports throughout Sweden are still shut down because of the volcanic ash blowing over from Iceland. Tens of thousands of flights have been cancelled throughout Europe and the travel problems are being described as the worst since September 11, 2001. It’s an impressive display of nature really (and for some photos of that impressive display check out Lost in Stockholm).
People throughout Europe have been stranded for days. As a friend told me, after arriving at Arlanda just half an hour before the airport was shut down, everyone wants to spend a weekend in Milan or Madrid, but no one wants to get stuck there for days with no return date in sight.
So while being stuck in Madrid for three extra days might sound fun, being stuck in Madrid with only enough underwear for one extra day might be less fun. Especially for the people around you. Instead, people are renting cars, buying train tickets, and just finding creative ways of getting home.
It will be interesting to see the economic effect when all is said and done. And no one knows when all will be said and done. Several days of cancelled flights tends to not be good for business. One can only hope that this will have some sort of Darwinian effect and this will be the death-knell for SAS (and the continued employment of my arch-nemesis Mikael).
Of course, for some, open airspace is a marketing opportunity. Which may explain why today around noon I saw a low-flying helicopter in Stockholm trailing a large red banner from Bauhaus. Advertising a Weber Grill. For 395 SEK.
Welcome to Sweden. And some seriously hot ash.