Last night, while scanning my Feedly travel blog feeds, I came across an article on One Mile at a Time about KLM refusing to allow passengers to check bags on a particular flight out of Cairo. I read the post with interest, mainly thinking how I would be in a world of hurt if I arrived at an airport and could not check luggage; I am not sure I have ever had a flight where I did not check bags. Though there was not a lot of detail behind KLM's motivation to refuse checked baggage, I can understand that, when terrorism may reasonably be in play, an airline may reasonably act outside the norm in an abundance of caution.
This morning, I was perusing the front page of my Wall Street Journal and saw a the headline: "Crash Scrambles Egyptian Flights." With both the U.S. and the U.K. indicating that terrorism was possible, if not likely, in the crash of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268, some flights to and from Sharm El Sheikh Airport, the airport from which the doomed plane departed, were being disrupted and, in some cases, cancelled.
Two flights by British carrier easyJet had left the airport but others were cancelled. Also, as with the KLM flight, passengers were only being permitted hand luggage, though checked bags would be returned on separate flights, even including a cargo plane flight. The article said that Russian intelligence officials had urged flights to Egypt to be cancelled. As I was writing this post, I received a breaking news alert on my iPhone that this had been done.
I have only traveled overseas twice and I had no transportation issues. I did have a flight cancelled out of San Francisco once and had to rebook on a flight out of Oakland. Reading of the the disruption makes anxious. Dealing with flight issues in my own country was little more than an inconvenience. We simply took the BART subway from SFO to OAK; the biggest problem was that we returned home late and I missed an additional day of work. But in a foreign country, where I may have a language barrier or may not know all the local customs, trying to navigate what sounds like a chaotic scene in Sharm El Sheikh would be very stressful and probably leave me feeling that I had little control over my situation. Hopefully, everyone stranded in the Sinai will get home quickly and safely and the proper authorities will identify the terrorists (if that is the case) and deal with them swiftly and decisively. Having the specter or terror present can't do good things for a nation that has such a high reliance on tourism.