2 min read

Castaways’ Land

Castaways’ Land

A tale in pictures from IAD

Nobody planned to be here. People are stranded and build improvised sleeping quarters on the empty benches of the gate. Looking into their eyes, I can see resignation: a missed gathering with the family and the certainty that there is nothing else to do than waiting - waiting for the next flight to not be cancelled. It is January 1 st 2022 at the Washington Dulles International Airport.

31st of December, 7pm. Outside of the airport after my flight got cancelled.

Something is missing. Usually, an airport is hectic with people running around, being late for their connecting flights. But today, it is not busy, and nobody is in a rush. It is a community of people stranded on the 1 st of January. Nobody is talking, but we are all connected by being in the same situation.

And I am one of them. Yesterday, my flight got cancelled halfway through the boarding process because we neither had a co-pilot nor a crew. Corona is rising again, and airlines struggle with a staffing shortage. Today, there’ll be 3000 flights cancelled across the US.

I like to look for the positive; my delay wasn’t the worst. I had a new connection within 20 minutes after my flight got cancelled and arrived in a Holiday Inn at the right time to spend New Year’s Eve with my wife on a FaceTime date. I would have preferred to be with her, yet this is a change of years none of us will ever forget, and we made the best out of the situation.

Two hours until boarding starts (I hope), and I decided to take the opportunity and start a project I planned for a while: Markus’s Drip List. My goal is to rate all the coffees I drink in a list and capture the moments - and this for sure is an extraordinary moment.