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Right now, I should be back in Spain. I’m not. Instead I’ve spent the day on an expensive return trip to Newcastle Airport, where I sat for three hours, until Ryanair finally decided they were going to cancel my flight, something they could and probably should have done 24 hours earlier.

The blame for this fiasco hangs round the neck of French air traffic controllers. It is not easy to discern at these people thought they would achieve by inconveniencing air travellers across Europe, destroying the holidays of many families. I saw kids in tears this afternoon. Whatever their grievance is they’ll have no sympathy from me or any other of their victims. For my part, I hope the jackboot of authority comes slamming down on their necks, good and hard.

Categories: General, Politics
  1. Paul Phillips
    June 13, 2013 at 11:06 am

    The reason the French are protesting is against a smoother higher capacity airspace where they may not have any influence on flights travelling through their upper airspace because hopefully travellers all around europe would actually be controlled by somebody outside France!
    In your case a flight from Newcastle to Spain would travel through French upper airspace and would not have been affected by the industrial action!

    Roll on the object of their objections the “Single European Sky”.

  2. June 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Just after Reagan became President, US ATC staff went on strike. He sacked them all.

  3. Teargas
    June 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I really do sympathise, wrong day, wrong time, shit happens. If you’re in France today don’t try to take a train, SNCF is on strike! However, do we want our aircraft/airspace to be managed by video-game players in a bunker in the middle of somewhere/nowhere like drones over Pakistan? Don’t think so. Just as you need people in the air, you need local people on the ground – landing and taking off with a massive Tramontane is tricky at the best of times and I don’t think I’d be happy knowing that the air traffic controllers were all in Latvia. Incidentally, if you did make it back, the weather’s pretty good today, don’t you think?

  4. June 13, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I’m not happy knowing that all the controllers can piss off on a whim and inconvenience half of Europe. Next time one of those guys finds that his house is on fire, I hope the firemen are on strike. No, I didn’t make it back. Happily, the weather in Gullane is not bad.

  5. Teargas
    June 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    A very angry man and with good reason. France is very good at this sort of thing. This time it inconvenienced “only” half of Europe, usually it manages to piss off the whole world and that’s without considering the mayhem it causes to its own citizens, which nobody ever reports outside France unless it’s really bad. Here I am living in France and criticising it, we all do that from time to time, regardless of country but, unable to do anything about it personally, you just have to get used to it because it does happen often. As we say in Catalunya “why do something today when you can just as easily do it tomorrow”; it’s not an excuse, it’s a philosophy and it certainly doesn’t mean that things don’t get done.
    I guess the lesson is don’t be surprised when things go wrong, don’t get too angry when they do because that upsets people and tomorrow is another day. May the sun continue to shine on the dunes.

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