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UK airspace closes due to volcanic ash - airspace currently open

UK airspace closes due to volcanic ash - airspace currently open

Old Apr 15, 10, 3:01 am
  #1  
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Exclamation UK airspace closes due to volcanic ash - airspace currently open

For those who may not be aware, UK airpace is closed/being closed as a result of a cloud of volcanic ash which is flowing south over the UK from Iceland.

Many airports are closed, including all of the London airports. The Scottish airports may be reopening for periods as the ash is currently not flowing over them.

If you were planning to fly into or out of the UK, please check your flight status. The VS information page can be found http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/gb...news/index.jsp

The latest overall picture can be gained by accessing the National Air Traffic Services website. They may the descision in the UK as to whether the airspace is open or closed:
http://www.nats.co.uk/

Eurocontrol are maintaining a list of airspaces currently closed - their site is being slammed though:
https://www.cfmu.eurocontrol.int/PUB...pec/index.html

The UK Met Office is responsible for mapping ash over the western edge of Europe - best from them are the predictive graphics, updated at 6 hour intervals:
http://metoffice.com/aviation/vaac/vaacuk_vag.html

There is discussion already on a number of airline boards about this. If you wish to check out what other airlines are doing, then either check that forum or Kiwi Flyer & Canarsie have produced a consolidated list:
http://boardingarea.com/blogs/thegat...n-over-europe/ while we have another consolidated list produced by JOUY31: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/13788059-post30.html

However, the AA forum has produced a thread which deserves highlighting, which is reporting latest updates culled from some of the sources provided above:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...pr-2010-a.html

And the Communitybuzz! 'I'm stranded at... ' thread in case you want to meet other FTers while stuck where you don't want to be: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/commu...up-thread.html

For those who want to check the volcano is still erupting, it now has it's own webcam http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-valahnjuk/

Last edited by Jenbel; Apr 17, 10 at 6:17 am
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Old Apr 15, 10, 8:03 am
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My friends flight in a few days got cancelled, his was after mine. Mines Saturday, LHR->SFO. Not sure if mine is cancelled or not.

Considering a later flight :S
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Old Apr 15, 10, 8:48 am
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At the moment, the prediction is that UK airspace will be closed until at least tomorrow morning. Then there will be knock on effects of planes, people and pilots all over the place
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Old Apr 15, 10, 11:44 am
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Luckily my wife managed to get in from NYC early this morning on VS. Arrived 15 minutes later than expected due to a 'slight detour around Iceland' they were informed by the flight deck
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Old Apr 15, 10, 12:40 pm
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Lucky for her ^

So far I've got friends stranded in Vegas and Jersey. Someone else sneaked out to VIE this morning before LHR closed, but is due back Saturday...
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Old Apr 15, 10, 7:11 pm
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Called up VS today, my flight to SFO on saturday is operating as normal.
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Old Apr 16, 10, 1:20 am
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Originally Posted by Sohan View Post
Called up VS today, my flight to SFO on saturday is operating as normal.
Wow! I am amazed they would tell you that so long before flights are back in the air.. It was either a brave, or very reckless statement to make.

Wasn't there any caveat given about when flight start again? Just a straight - operating as normal?

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Old Apr 16, 10, 1:22 am
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Originally Posted by Sohan View Post
Called up VS today, my flight to SFO on saturday is operating as normal.
... at this stage!

Expectit to be cancelled either late today or early tomorrow!
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Old Apr 16, 10, 3:51 am
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Airspace will still be closed until 1 am on Saturday. Looking at the Met Office predictions - I'll be amazed if Saturday magically clears:

http://metoffice.com/aviation/vaac/d...1271398735.png

But I suspect NATS are having to wait on Met Office predictions before making their announcements on what they think might happen - next Met Office prediction should be due about midday.
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Old Apr 16, 10, 5:42 am
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HKG-LHR

I have a work mate flying with his family (child age 3) from HK to LHR today. The last I heard from them was they were at the airport and Virgin won't let them rebook the flight until their's is cancelled and the first available flight is April 30th.

Its currently showing as delayed until Sat morning now, but given the ash cloud situation, it probably will be cancelled.

Just out of curiosity, what assistance would Virgin give? I'm assuming they will book them on the next available plane, but they will probably need to rely on travel insurance for hotels etc.

When it comes to trying to rebook the affected flights, how is it done usually on Virgin? Do status pax and higher fare payers get first choice? Will they be given any priority given they are travelling with a young child?
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Old Apr 16, 10, 5:56 am
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Originally Posted by dddc View Post
When it comes to trying to rebook the affected flights, how is it done usually on Virgin? Do status pax and higher fare payers get first choice? Will they be given any priority given they are travelling with a young child?
There isn't much precedent in the UK for having the whole schedule of every airline wiped out for multi days without any warning.

VS don't seem to have a great reputation for coping well with weather cancellations - especially at outstations. Having said that my observations are anecdotal, based on stories on here and V-Flyer, and I don't suppose their successes are as widely reported on chat boards.

I would imagine that higher fare buckets will be given priority - flexibility is one of the reasons people pay the extra, but I don't know this for sure.


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Old Apr 16, 10, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by dddc View Post
I have a work mate flying with his family (child age 3) from HK to LHR today. The last I heard from them was they were at the airport and Virgin won't let them rebook the flight until their's is cancelled and the first available flight is April 30th.

Its currently showing as delayed until Sat morning now, but given the ash cloud situation, it probably will be cancelled.

Just out of curiosity, what assistance would Virgin give? I'm assuming they will book them on the next available plane, but they will probably need to rely on travel insurance for hotels etc.

When it comes to trying to rebook the affected flights, how is it done usually on Virgin? Do status pax and higher fare payers get first choice? Will they be given any priority given they are travelling with a young child?
Under the EU rules on cancelled or delayed flights, VS are responsible for providing hotels, meals and communications for pax on flights they have cancelled - that is regardless of cause. So even though this is completely out of VS' control (and it is tough on them), they are responsible for hotels for your work mate. If he's at the airport, ask for a copy of the EU notice for cancelled flights which should be available to all pax, outlining VS' responsibilities in the event of a cancellation (they may not have it - legally, they should but it puts the ground staff on notice that you have someone who knows what the rules are).

I've had one maintenance related cancellation at an outstation, and the VS ground staff there were aware that this was their responsibility and did their best to fulfill it. So it might not all be bleak.
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Old Apr 16, 10, 7:52 am
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It's also worth noting that NATS' latest statement shows that no flights before 0700 tomorrow ex Lon/MAN.

They are hoping the Scottish airports will be clear by tomorrow, which means TATL traffic could get into GLA/PIK/EDI if the airlines want to offer that as an option.

http://www.nats.co.uk/

Here's the latest ash predictions:
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/aviation...1271417376.png
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Old Apr 16, 10, 9:29 am
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Thanks all for this.

We've had to cancel another persons holiday in the office due to this as it would leave us very exposed if we had both these people away at the same time for 2 weeks. Hopefully he'll get his delayed flight tomorrow morning!

I probably know the answer to the next question, but will the airline tell me if they have managed to get onto a flight?
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Old Apr 16, 10, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by dddc View Post
I probably know the answer to the next question, but will the airline tell me if they have managed to get onto a flight?
Nope. For privacy reasons, they won't. It is for them to contact you to let you know rather than the airline.
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