Ash Cloud Advice
Over the last few weeks there has been great speculation concerning whether the Bárðarbunga volcano in the East of Iceland will erupt, potentially repeating the travel misery caused by a similar incident in 2010.
In 2010, all flights in and out of the UK, and several other European countries, were grounded following a volcanic eruption in the Eyjafjallajoekull area of Iceland. The volcanic eruption caused copious amounts of ash to be ejected into the sky, causing large ash clouds which made it impossible for pilots to safely navigate air space.
The disruptions caused massive delays and issues for people trying to travel abroad or return home – which explains why everyone is so worried about another potential eruption. To help anyone planning to travel over the next few weeks who are concerned about the potential impact ash clouds could have on their trip, we have compiled this handy guide.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are constantly updating their information about Iceland, so if you are planning a trip it would be worth following them on social media or signing up for updates so you can immediately find out if anything happens.
To view their current advice about road closures and the seismic activity around the volcano, visit their Iceland page.
Your Rights and the Airline’s Obligations
If your flight is delayed or cancelled the airline is obliged to offer assistance under the Denied Boarding Regulation, as long as you are travelling with an airline based in the EU, or a non-EU airline flying from an EU airport. This however depends on the length of the flight and the length of the delay. But if you are covered, entitlements include free meals and refreshments, and free hotel accommodation if an overnight stay is required.
Passengers should also be offered a choice of:
• A refund within seven days of the full cost of the flight.
• Re-routing to your destination as soon as possible, or re-routing at a later date convenient to you.
• If you have booked a package holiday and your flight is cancelled, you have the right to cancel your holiday and get a full refund, or re-book for another departure.
You should not have to pay administration charges for re-booking your holiday (unless upgrading in any way). If you are re-booked to a cheaper holiday you are entitled to a refund for the price difference.
Many standard travel insurance policies will not cover natural disasters and ash cloud, so it is very important that you double check your cover and talk to your insurer if in doubt.
Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
To give you an example, Holidaysafe provides cover for travel delay and closure of air space due to ash cloud under our Platinum Single and Multi Trip policies. These policies will provide cover if your flight is delayed, with a benefit payable per 12 hours of the delay, or the policy can cover you to abandon your trip up to £7,500 per person if air space is closed for 24 hours from the date and time of your scheduled departure shown on your itinerary/ ticket.
Alternatively, if the eruption were to happen during your trip, we can also provide cover if you cannot return home due to the closure of airspace.
Furthermore, this policy can also provide cover if a natural disaster damages your pre-booked accommodation, making it uninhabitable.
Please note your travel insurer will not be able to rearrange or purchase new flights for you, or arrange alternative transport etc. All claims will be paid upon return to the UK, and upon completion of a claim form with the necessary supporting documentation.
For more information, please visit our Advice Page.