Traffic jams of the sky

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

That's it, I have my electronic ticket to Thailand! This new escape bubble is becoming concrete. It will be at the end of February! But while I was still surfing the web, I came across this: an animation showing the air traffic on the planet during 24 hours.


I'm not afraid of flying (although... it can happen, read the article I linked below). I'm usually pretty amazed like a kid. I can't believe I'm watching something like this rip off the ground and being in it. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut... that's how much!

Now that I am grown up, I am fascinated by the landscapes that become miniature, the lights of the cities that pierce the earthly darkness, the ocean of clouds on which the sun always shines, the deep blue of the sky full of stars, the chase with the day and the night... Between two films, I feverishly watch the map of the flight, the time zones, the altitude, the speed and the progress of the machine, updated live on the small screen.

My only minor anxiety comes at the final stage of the landing, when the plane is still taxiing down the runway and starts braking. I'm always afraid of the uncontrolled slide.

Nevertheless, this small animated map full of yellow, made by engineers of the University ZHAW in Switzerland, left me pensive. I know that the scale of the map and the simulation of 24 hours in 72 seconds distorts the thing. But hey, even the Falcon 900 of our Prime Minister narrowly avoided a collision with a small tourist plane on Sunday evening... Well, I won't fly over the American territory, which is full of yellow on the map, and I will take off in the evening when the sky is less crowded over Europe.

But I have a better idea, in one go, of the extent of the air traffic. One day, I will free some time, a lot of time, long months, to accomplish an old dream: to go to Asia by land...

  Between Two Journeys

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  1. I'm green with envy! I want to go back to Thailand too!!!!!! I'll go, I'll go... I just don't know when!

    As for the plane: I could have written exactly the same thing as you. Except that, in addition to the landing, I have to admit that I'm a bit scared when I take off, since it's often in the first few minutes of flight that problems arise...

  2. The more I fly... the more I'm afraid... Inevitably, the more I fly, the more likely I am to crash... And as I'm flying on Sunday... I'm not going to dwell on it... Hm, hm!!!! Especially since Singapore is more than 10 hours away...

    But as Marie-Julie says, it seems that it's mostly during takeoff that problems occur, so it doesn't matter how long the flight is... although... no... because, 10 hours, sitting, stuck in my seat, struggling to avoid a stiff neck, doing roundhouse movements to avoid a trombosis, in short, on Sunday, I'm going to take the perfect little traveler's equipment: earplugs, eyeplugs, airbag, and compression socks!!!! No fear of the ridiculous! Unless, by then, I win the Euromillions and travel on business...

    A nice journey to all of you!!!!!!!!!

  3. @ Marie-Julie:

    But yes, you will!!! 😉

    I have to say that it was partly thanks to you and your "nostalgic" posts about Thailand on Taxi-Brousse that the idea clicked, a few weeks ago. The idea was in the back of my mind, of course, but it finally made up my mind. Having dragged my flip-flops and flippers to quite a few other places in the meantime (Malaysia, Sulawesi, Philippines, Bali), I feel an irresistible urge to return to Thailand, so dear to my heart. Having managed to free up some vacation time and found an affordable ticket, I didn't hesitate any longer...

    As for take-off, yes, I'm a bit worried at that point too, I know it's a tricky phase, but strangely enough, I'm less worried than when I land. It's as if nothing could happen to me, as long as I take off... A bit absurd.

    @ Helen:

    I don't care how ridiculous it is! I've got the earplugs and the eye mask too, but I'm missing the little inflatable cushion. As for compression stockings, I'll think about it. Trombosis doesn't only affect old or overweight people. I was told a horrifying story about the wife of someone I know: she didn't survive a stroke she suffered on a long flight... It's rare, but it happens.

  4. Thailand in February... It's the perfect time of year for a dive cruise to the Similan and Richelieu Rock!

  5. Ah thin, you've already dive ... I just saw the video of the whale shark taken in Richelieu in 2006 ...

  6. Yes, I've already dived in Similan, Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon and so on. But my idea may well be to go back there, as you so rightly guessed...

    In 2006, I was lucky enough to come across a whale shark and mantas! I'll do it again...

  7. Flying is less risky than dying from drug iatrogeny. 600 victims versus 15,000 patients. That's one Boeing crash per week. So you can take the plane without fear, but be careful when swallowing your pill!

  8. @ Eric:

    Of course. Flying is much less risky than swallowing pills, crossing the street or taking the car. Much less risky, too, than staying at home, no doubt: I don't know the figures for domestic accidents, but I'm sure the comparison would still be in favor of the "risk" of taking the plane.

    Statistics are one thing. Fear of flying is another. You can't decide. It's human, it's gut-wrenching, it's irrational. It's the body reminding us that it's not natural to be suspended between earth and sky in a flying machine... After that, everyone feels it in their own way. The numbers don't change a thing.

    As far as I'm concerned, as I said before, I don't worry too much about flying. I'm willing to put myself in the hands of a machine and the men who fly it for the duration of the flight. I'm confident. Others are less so. And I can easily understand that. Neither technology, however sophisticated, nor human beings, however trained, are infallible.


  9. I totally understand the fear of flying. I felt the same way when I landed in Egypt and took off immediately afterwards. Now, I'd just like to draw attention to the iatrogenic effects of medication, a professional deformation no doubt. We talk about plane crashes because there are so many victims in one instant, but much less about drug-related accidents because they are "crumbling" disasters, i.e. spread out over time. The same applies to road deaths. It's the equivalent of a Boeing crashing every week. I use this example in the training courses I give to make nurses and doctors aware of the need to report adverse drug reactions.