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Disclaimer : The below narrative is based upon a true story but names have been changed, abbreviated or withheld for various reasons. Some details may have been withheld or modified to protect the privacy of individuals and organisations. Any resemblance to actual events or organisations should neither be assumed nor is implied.

Part 1 : Mid-December
Part 2 : Cologne
Part 3 : Christmas
Part 4 : New Year
Part 5 : Togo and Algeria


I started writing this story in early January of 2010, before many of the events recounted even took place. Over the weeks and months that followed, chronicling the experiences of the time that hell (and Europe) froze over helped keep me sane and put things into perspective.

In April of 2010, a volcano named Eyjafjallaj?kull single-handedly caused more trouble in a week than every incident narrated in this story put together. After 5 years doing this job virtually nonstop, I had reached my limit. I was barely on the wrong side of 30, but my work life was physically affecting my health. Leave aside injured knees and broken teeth, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

I turned in my notice at the end of April and took on an advisory role. The following month, my former employers succumbed to the wrath of Eyjafjallaj?kull and suspended operations. I planned a vacation. As of the time of writing, I had't set foot in an airport for almost 2 months and I was happier than I'd been in years.

If the reader could take only one thing away from this report, I would like it to be the reminder that airline employees are human beings too. I've been privileged to work with some superb people. This piece is dedicated to them.

Thanks for reading. May your travels be safe and comfortable.


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