Missing Out on PASS Europe and London


My flight to the PASS European Summit and the PASS London chapter just got cancelled due to the volcanic ash mess.  We talked about trying to find more ways around it, like flying into other parts of Europe and then hoping to catch a train to Dusseldorf.  Ultimately the alternate routes were too expensive (both in money and time) and were too much of a gamble.  Being a database professional is often about managing risk, and the risks were just too high.

Thankfully for attendees, there will still be plenty of speakers present.  Those of us who can’t make it will be presenting remotely with LiveMeeting, and we’ll also have recorded versions of our sessions ready ahead of time in case there’s a connectivity problem.

Even last night, I got ready to head to the airport this morning in hope of catching a last-minute opened-up flight, but the latest news from the BBC’s live update page is enough to give me pause:

“1207 – Nato fighter jets have suffered engine damage after flying through volcanic ash cloud, a senior US official has said. The official gave few details except to say that a build-up of glass was found in the jet engines.”

I don’t want to be on the first round of planes going back through that ash cloud.  All it takes is one plane to have engine problems, and they’ll turn the rest of the planes back.  I could end up diverted in a middle-of-nowhere airport with tons of people and no hotel rooms.

And it’s not like this is a small cloud.  NASA’s satellite photo of Europe this morning:


My heart is with the thousands of people stranded all over the world, away from home.  I’m lucky enough that my travel plans were borked before they started.  Times like this remind us of what’s really important – our safety and our loved ones.  As I’ll always remember from Tim & Lori Edwards’ blog, “Remember, the people that you work for are waiting for you at home.”

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