The last thing one wants to think about while on holiday is the political climate around the world, and rather instead worry about their destination’s weather climate. Yet much of the time it seems unavoidable to completely escape and shut out the real world as it seems politics, in particular, has made its way into every facet of daily life.
While the weather has always been the usual culprit when it comes to disrupting global travel it is politics that isn’t far behind. Though nowadays when even weather has turned political it seems like there really is no escaping those domestic and foreign affairs. And as airlines will do anything in their power to keep their planes flying, whether it be through bad weather, or technical and system issues, there is one thing that is mostly out of their hands, global politics.
The recent rekindling of the India and Pakistan dispute echos these sentiments perfectly. Dating back decades, this ongoing crisis of the long-disputed Kashmir (and Jammu), region seems to have no end in sight, especially after the Pakistani downing of two Indian fighter jets earlier this week. Areas of war and violence are everchanging and are something the airline, and travel industry, in general, always have to take into account. It’s the unpredictability of worldwide events that create unique challenges that are many times the difference between life and death. One such example of this is the tragic incident that occurred in 2014 over eastern Ukraine when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down killing everyone on board.
These shameful and unfortunate events are examples of how the travel industry must instantly react to political disputes worldwide, sometimes having only minutes to do so. This can be seen when hundreds of flights already in the air, and many possibly near hot zones, needing to divert to other airports, cities, or countries entirely for fear of being collateral damage. And for longer more drawn out crises, an airline must then deal with all the scheduled flights they have for the duration and varying degrees of conflicts.
Air travel isn’t the only industry affected when politics occurs. Everything from ground transportation to hotel accommodation can become a major problem in any city when political turmoil ensues. It seems an interest in ‘safe travel’ is on the rise, yet it is fairly difficult for anyone to predict the safety of any place these days.