A cloud of volcanic ash emanating from Iceland has forced several major airlines operating out of Scotland to cancel flights, with some English airports also being affected.
Thousands of passengers are now stranded. Although transport minister Phillip Hammond claims that the UK is better prepared than it was last year, when a different volcano in Iceland disrupted air travel across the northern hemisphere, it still seems that flights in England and Wales will be affected too. No-frills operator Ryanair has already objected to an order from Irish aviation officials forcing it to ground flights out of Scotland. But circumstances are largely different to they were last year: many airlines have already applied and been permitted to fly through low-to-medium density ash.
What to do if you’re set to travel….
If you’ve booked your journey through a tour operator, and you’ve been delayed or are unable to travel because of the volcanic ash cloud, then the operator or agent you’ve booked through should be able to assist. Airlines based in the European Union are obliged to provide travellers with accommodation and meals if they are stranded. Passengers should also be entitled to an alternative flight or a full refund.
Should you find yourself stranded, then make sure that you let your insurer know, so that you are covered for the duration of your time away.
If you’ve travelled independently, then make sure with your travel insurance company what you are entitled to. If you bought your policy before you knew about the ash cloud, then chances are you’ll still be covered. However, not all insurers have amended their policies to cover volcanic ash, so plenty of travellers will be waiting to hear if they are covered.