For stranded passengers, imagining a world without planes

The World

European officials struck a deal yesterday to reopen most of Europe’s air space to plane travel as early as this afternoon, assuming Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano continues to subside. This would end the worst peacetime travel disruption in history, a travel crisis that has left thousands of passengers stranded for days and cost the airline industry hundreds of millions of dollars. But in the midst of the chaos and inconveniences, one philosopher took a moment to reflect on what our world would look like without airplanes.

Alain de Botton, formerly the writer-in-residence at Heathrow Airport, explains that we can learn a lot about ourselves and how we think about travel, crises and technology through this recent episode. We also talk with Tod Brilliant, an American who, with his pregnant wife, is stuck in the United Kingdom. They are trying to catch a flight back to their home in California.

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