Having managed to wrest a refund from BA today, travel is on my mind. Twenty-twenty was – according to my increasingly irrelevant calendar – riddled with air travel. Mainly business, mainly humdrum. Mixed in were spicier Middle East trips to fulfil a long term contract and even a spring wedding in the USofA.
The wedding is going ahead in Pennsylvania without us.
The nerve centre of [ahem] corporate global operations is now a small office in a Wiltshire garden where you’ll find me piloting a desk. The window frames the local bird life who provide charming distraction as they patrol their patch. Only they have clearance to fly. When my mind wanders further I gaze at the sky. These days the sight and sound of an aircraft is something of a novelty. (Ironically, as I type, a military chopper passes noisily low overhead. Nestled are we on the downs north of Salisbury plain where the armed forces practice, so this is a regular occurrence. Although what they are practising for presently is a moot point.)
Of course – as for so many – the laptop is both the focus of my remote work and primary distraction device. This morning I idly clicked upon Flightradar24 as once again the skies were bereft of con’ trails. Refreshing the page I was slightly puzzled. No aircraft. Zoom out. Still no aircraft. (The military stuff isn’t always registered on a public access website funnily enough.) Zoom out again and – finally – some activity.
As you’ll note from the screen grab below, there are zero airborne commercial aircraft at 08.00 on a weekday over South Wales, the South West all the way to a N-S line from Oxford to the Solent. Strange times indeed. Normally – ha! “Normally” – at this hour a procession of flights litter the screen inbound to LHR from ‘Stateside.
According to the lovely, chatty, all-the-time-in-world man at BA, there are small percentage of flights to/from the US. The cabins have the unusual combination of a small number of socially distanced passengers – Americans can still travel abroad for pressing reasons – and the mail riding in style. (The holds are full of cargo.) Apparently they are booking up to sixty passengers on a transatlantic flight, with a 50% no show rate.
It’ll be some considerable time before air travel troubles this house I fear.
Meanwhile, here is Mister Blackbird having a bath.