Airline Travel is BrokenFollowing the conference and four days exploring Washington, D.C. we werescheduled to fly to Shannon, Ireland on a Thursday. After waiting half the day at theairport and watching flight delays because of weather, our flight was finally cancelled.Hey, weather happens. But that wasn’t the problem. We were to fly out on United butfound out that United had just merged with Continental.We ran into a nightmare that Kafka would have understood. When trying to find outwhen and how we could rebook, we were told that we had to talk to the United people, but the only United rep at the gate had just gone off duty and the Continental peoplecouldn’t help us because they didn’t have the right codes to get into the Unitedcomputers. It got worse from there and we had to pay for 3 extra night’s hotel waiting toget a flight out which we were finally able to do, but had to fly to New York to do it.I had heard that oil prices were forcing airlines to consolidate or go out of business. Itwas one thing to know, intellectually, that changes were occurring. It was another to becaught in the middle of them. I remembered Richard Heinberg’s words from his prophetic 2003 book,
The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies
,“The world is changing before our eyes—dramatically, inevitably, and irreversibly. Thechange we are seeing is affecting more people, and more profoundly, than any thathuman beings have ever witnessed. I am not referring to a war or terrorist incident, astock market crash, or global warming, but to a more fundamental reality that is drivingterrorism, war, economic swings, climate change, and more:
the discovery andexhaustion of fossil energy resources.