The morning began with a blaze of contrails across the sky, traces of the early flights to far-off lands. With them came a sense that pent-up tension is being slowly released into the atmosphere, this time the tension of humanity and holidays and business, rather than that of rock and magma squeezed upwards by tectonic plates.

Was the flight ban necessary? Maybe. Will the combined forces of politics and profits drag out the inevitable inquiry more than it ought to be? Very likely. And with more than 150,000 Britons estimated to still be waiting for a flight back home, it will take a Herculean effort by governments and airlines to get this mess sorted out.

Chantelle is right to bemoan how quickly our polluting ways resumed – here’s the infographic of the moment – but could it have gone any other way? For all the poets’ visions of a future free of air travel, it’s not something we’re ever going to see. Rather, I think it’s a great testament to how well our species is doing that one of nature’s most destructive forces, that in ancient times could have decimated populations and been regarded in fear as the wrath of the gods, is to us a minor inconvenience to fill the news for a few days before being forgotten amidst a cloud of condensing water vapour and normal service resumed.

EDIT: Did I just unwittingly name _three Final Fantasy characters in the title of this post? Goddamnit, Squeenix._