PHOTO: ‘Aftermath of Storm Katie’. Think I was one of the lucky ones, just a few flowerpots knocked over, a couple of garden chairs and a fence. No trampolines landed in my garden, even though my neighbour has one.
I was up much of the night with fellow Storm Watchers online whilst the weather was howling around me – I couldn’t get to sleep until two in the morning.
I was also following Flightradar, the online fighttracker, and watching the planes hovering round Gatwick trying to land. They were then being diverted to other airports because they were unable to.
Now, what gets me, is that ordinary members of the public get weather warnings and Government officials tell them not travel but this did not seem to get through to commercial airlines such as Easyjet. I could hear their planes going overhead, right during the height of the winds, just when the Met Office advised us exactly when they were going to happen. There were also reports of low visability. It really snacks of profits over safety.
When I went up in a small plane in Biggin Hill a few years ago, the pilot was very conscious of the fact that we would only fly when the conditions were right. Of course, commercial planes can be a bit different, but, even so, putting passengers’ lives at risk in a massive storm is ludicrous and irresponsible.
Nowadays, planes bearly have enough fuel to even get to the airport, and it is a wonder how some even managed to get as far as Manchester. Passengers were praising the pilot for ‘landing successfully’ in some cases, but what if it all went wrong? This is one reasons I don’t like flying anymore. I don’t always feel pilots make the correct decision and I wonder what their insurance companies would have said. I expect they were also pressurised by their profit grabbing superiors, and others in the industry. This type of stuff also raises concerns for those who may be under their flightpath, should a Gatwick extension go ahead.