French Airspace, Wednesday Night
Flight BA487 had left Heathrow on time bound for Dubai. The flight was busy, it always was, Dubai being a very popular holiday attraction in its own right and one which had over the last ten years established itself as a major hub for the near and far East, providing frequent connecting routes into every major business city and favoured tourist location. Susan sat in the economy section of the Boeing 777 looking forward to getting to Dubai for a bit of shopping. She’d never been there but her friends had been told stories of wondrous shops with knock down prices. A supersized ‘Harrods’ in a series of fabulously clean, perfectly air conditioned terminal buildings – a great way to spend a couple of hours waiting for her connecting Emirates flight onto Sydney.
She was so looking forward to a month of travelling, she’d spent hours on the internet and done plenty of research. On the advice of other more seasoned travellers, Susan had written a long list of “must do’s”. As this was her first major long-haul trip on her own, she was hoping to meet up with some like-minded fun people to share all her new and exciting experiences.
She had broken up with Marty, her long-term boyfriend of three years, a couple of weeks earlier. He had wanted a serious commitment – two-point-two kids and a nice house in suburbia. Susan felt this was all a little bit too premature. They’d argued, she’d walked out and now she was on her way for a bit of adventure. In her own mind she was pretty certain that the two of them would work things out when she got back; but in the interim this was her life to be lived to the full and at 23 the petite brunette felt she was entitled to some fun before settling done to a life of matrimonial and domestic bliss.
Susan played with the entertainment controls and settled back to watch a movie. “Love, lost and found” had just come out featuring her favourite actress, Sally Stevens, with the bonus of having the gorgeous and oh so sexy George Hadley playing opposite her. Her last romcom had been great fun and according to the reviews that she had read in the Evening Standard, on her daily commute back from the smog of Central London, this movie was a good laugh. It had everything by all accounts; a great storyline, lots of intrigue, with some twists and turns in the plot thrown in for good measure. Headphones on, movie starting and looking forward to a couple of drinkies – life was good.
She never got past the opening scene as the BA487 ploughed straight into the Air France 290 coming out of Paris bound for Atlanta. At 20,000 feet over the killing fields of Flanders the planes collided and erupted in a single massive ball of flame; there would be metal debris spread over a 100-mile radius below to be picked over and collected by the air investigators. For the friends and families of the 700 odd passengers and crew on both flights there would be no remains to bury, only the hollow consolation that the ashes of their loved ones would be scattered amongst the poppies along with so many that had lost their lives in the Great War sacrificing everything for the greater good.