We were trying to get to London from Madrid in my plane to attend Google Zeitgeist. As I insisted in going there, and as the airports reopened, my pilots alerted me to the fact that the trick airlines are using to avoid the ash cloud is to fly long distances at very low altitudes.
This is something that I haven’t heard in the media. Flying long distances, at say 3000 feet, may be good to avoid the ash cloud, but it’s terrible for the environment. Aircraft consume twice the fuel to fly the same distance, and in general it is less safe. While most people think that low and slow may mean safety, the opposite is true in aviation where high and fast somehow works better.
We did not go in the end. We did not think it was safe to fly long distances at low altitude. And we did not know what effect that would have on the range of our small Citation Jet.
We are at Bab Ourika, Google it, arguably one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. For us it’s paradise.
We flew in from Madrid yesterday. There is no ash cloud in Spain. But as we sat down for lunch we found that the 20 or so guests who are in this hotel speak as if they were in prison. They shout from table to table, coming up with alternative plans to escape paradise. A train to Tangier, a boat from Bilbao. They frequently curse the British government for leaving them stranded.
Nina and I intervene, offering a return flight in our plane that is coming to bring our children for my birthday celebration this weekend. They kiss our hands. We feel sorry. Paradise turned on them.