Europe travel update: Airlines advice to fliers; more delays expected from ash plume

Europe travel update: Airlines advice to fliers; more delays expected from ash plume

Shifting clouds of volcanic ash shut airports and disrupted flights in Spain, Portugal and Italy this weekend, but all airports were open Monday after the concentration of ash dissipated overnight, according to updates from the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation.

Travelers should remain on alert and check frequently with their travel agents and airlines because an ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano, lingering over the North Atlantic, may cause delays in transatlantic flights that must be rerouted to avoid the cloud, the agency said.

“There is an area of ash cloud in the middle of the North Atlantic, which is impacting transatlantic flights,” the statement said. “While most of these flights are operating, many are having to make significant reroutings to avoid the area of ash cloud coverage, resulting in delays.” The agency, known as Eurocontrol, said it expects about 28,500 flights to operate Monday over Europe – about 500 fewer than normal. Eruptions from the volcano last month forced a five-day suspension of air traffic over Europe.

On Sunday, Italy’s airports in Pisa, Milan and Florence were shut, as well as airports in Portugal and Spain. Airlines are struggling to keep fliers updated with the latest information through postings on websites, Twitter and text messages and e-mails.

Below is what some airlines are advising passengers to do if their flights have been affected by the volcano; if you booked your flight through a travel agent, contact him or her to rebook or file for a refund.


American Airlines: Passengers whose flights were canceled may rebook on the next available flight or request a full refund. The airline advises that those flying to Brussels; London; Madrid; Milan, Italy; or Paris between May 8 and 11, with tickets issued no later than May 7, may begin travel as late as May 14. Passengers also may rebook tickets without penalty. Contact: American Airlines, (800) 433-7300

Aer Lingus: The website carried a letter dated May 8 from Chief Executive Christoph Mueller explaining how the airline communicates schedule changes. “At this point our key focus is to get the information to you as speedily as we can,” Mueller wrote. “We cancel the flights in our systems so that you can see the exact status of your flight on our website. We notify the broadcast media so customers can avoid unnecessary journeys to the airport, and we send text messages to passengers for whom we have mobile phone numbers. Since this crisis began on the 15th April, we have sent more than half a million messages of this nature.”

On the airline’s  page on Flight Disruption Information, Aer Lingus tells passenger to check their flight status and provides online instructions on how to rebook flights for free or get a refund on canceled flights. (Note that only passengers on canceled flights will get full refunds.) Contact: Aer Lingus; (800) 474-7424.

Iberia: The carrier reported that the airport in Lisbon and all Spanish airports reopened May 10. Iberia advises passengers to keep an eye on its website for updates. Those whose flights were canceled should call the airline to make arrangements. Contact: Iberia; (800) 772-4642.

Alitalia: According to the website, the airline will provide a refund to passengers whose flights were canceled and who are unable to reschedule or take an alternate flight. The website says passengers must file refund requests by e-mail after May 15 and before June 15. Contact: Alitalia; (800) 223-5730.

– Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Photo: Passengers wait for flights at the airport in Porto, Portugal, on May 9, when volcanic ash clouds shut some airports in Europe. Credit: Paulo Duarte / Associated Press

By LA Times

One Response to “Europe travel update: Airlines advice to fliers; more delays expected from ash plume”

  • You wouldn¡¯t believe it but I¡¯ve wasted all day digging for some articles about this. You¡¯re a lifesaver, it was an excellent read and has helped me out to no end. Cheers,

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