Pandemic of panic: The great volcanic shutdown was the price we pay for a society that overreacts to any risk

Well, was it worth it? The six-day shutdown of most of Europe's and all Britain's airports is estimated to have cost the airline industry at least £1.2 billion. Millions of people have suffered expense, inconvenience and even distress rescuing themselves from faraway places.

But doubt persists about whether the danger posed by Iceland's volcanic ash cloud justified the drastic response...