Country collectors lit up with envy at news that a United flight yesterday from Washington Dulles to Cancun was safely diverted to Havana due to a “strange odor.” Flight junkies have picked over the flight at FlyerTalk.
Country collectors plot and scheme to touch as many countries as possible. The diversion was no doubt an inconvenience to most but jackpot to a few. Eliciting even more envy (see milepoint) was the Delta diversion in June of a Honolulu-Osaka flight to otherwise extremely challenging to visit Midway Atoll of World War II fame. Take a moment to look at this beautiful blog on Midway.
Not that country collectors want misfortune to befall a flight, but hearing of these places sends their pulses racing. The Rapid Traveler confesses to having a bit of collection in his bloodstream, though he tries to at least spend a day in a country before adding it to his satchel.
The Cuba incident also has an eyebrow raising colophon to those who see geopolitics in black and white:
Although the United States and Cuba are bitter Cold War foes, Cuba has a tradition of hospitality and is a signatory to international aviation accords.
On the day of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, Havana offered to let the United States use its landing fields because U.S. airports were in a state of chaos. Washington did not take Cuba up on the offer.