Page last updated at 01:30 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 02:30 UK

Volcanic ash: Your stories of travel disruption

A flight board at Glasgow airport
Suzanne Lord sent this photo from Glasgow Airport

Airline passengers are facing massive disruptions after an ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded flights in the UK and several other European countries.

Stranded travellers have been sending their stories to BBC News.


Lucy Wang
Lucy Wang wanted to go a design event in Milan

I planned to travel to Milan for the International Furniture Fair, a significant event for people in the design industry.

Yet there was no hope for flights until Saturday, and I also heard comments in the airport about the unlikelihood of any flight getting out for the next 48 hours.

The fair finishes on Monday and it's very difficult to get a ticket. Many people going to the fair from many countries are now stranded.

The funny thing is that trains continued to pull into Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam with no notification given to passengers about the shutdown.

Even by 7pm, when I left, people were still coming in from the trains with their luggage.


Srivatsa Vishwanath
Srivatsa Vishwanath is in Boston, trying to get to India via London

I was supposed to fly out today (Thursday) from Boston to London and then on to Bangalore in India.

I have been here for a month on business and want to get home to my family.

I checked-in online and printed my boarding pass, but luckily I heard from a colleague in the morning about the disruption before I travelled to the airport.

I then had to hang on for nearly three hours to get through to an agent at the BA call centre, and could only get offered a flight for next Tuesday.

So I have to wait here for another five days.

However, I count myself comparatively lucky, because if I had taken Wednesday's flight and landed in London, my connecting flight to Bangalore would have been cancelled, and I would have been stuck at Heathrow for days.

Glen Milne
Glen Milne is on an oil rig off the Scottish coast, trying to get to shore

I am an offshore oil worker on a rig in the North Sea, about 50 miles from Aberdeen.

All helicopter flights from our rig to Aberdeen airport have been cancelled, even though they only fly at 2,000-3,000 feet altitude.

I was due to return home to Aberdeen on Friday morning but am not sure when I will get off the rig now.

All the workers who were due to leave on Thursday have had to stay on and continue working.

The shift workers who were meant to take over are also stranded on land. But when you work on an oil rig, you are used to delays, so you just get on with it.

I have been to Iceland and have smelled it [volcanic sulphur] in the air, you get used to it there, but not in Scotland
Glen Milne

We have been looking at the satellite images and can see the cloud moving.

My relatives in Aberdeen have told me they can smell the sulphur in the air - they say it smells like rotten eggs.

I have been to Iceland myself and have smelled it in the air, you get used to it there, but not in Scotland.

I also have an aircraft engineering background so am familiar with how it could affect aircraft.

And I say fair play to the authorities for erring on the side of caution and safety. It is completely necessary.

I just hope I get home by Saturday to see my family and to see the [football] clash between Aberdeen and Falkirk.


Canice McKee
Canice McKee is stranded in Riyadh, trying to get to Dublin

I am stuck in Riyadh after spending a week here for work.

I was due to fly back on Friday morning to Dublin via Heathrow Airport in London, but I got an email this morning from BA telling me my flight had been cancelled.

I have not been given any further information, and according to the BA website there is no availability until next Thursday.

BMI fly out of here only every couple of days but its website is not giving any further information on availability.

We can actually smell sulphur in the air here now from the volcano cloud. It is a kind of eggy smell and it is very noticeable
Tim Farish, Oslo, Norway

So I am trying to get back home but I just have to sit here.

I may try to get to a bigger hub like Dubai but I'm not sure how I'll get there.

Saudi Airlines fly to Madrid, so I may try to get on one of those flights, but again I'm not sure if there are any spaces.

My company is helping me out with accommodation and I'll just have to hope the credit card doesn't run out.

I'm literally stranded and not sure how I will be getting back. My options are limited.


Tim Farish
Tim Farish is waiting to travel from Oslo to London

I live in Oslo and have been trying to fly to London all day on business.

All flights from Norwegian airspace have been cancelled indefinitely so I am stranded here.

Thankfully I am at home rather than being stuck in an airport but the longer this goes on the more likely it will affect my business.

We can actually smell sulphur in the air here now from the volcano cloud. It is a kind of eggy smell and it is very noticeable.

The cloud is projected to hit London and the South East of the UK on Friday afternoon, according to reports on Norwegian news.

I have been told by my airline, SAS, to stay at home and not even bother calling for further updates, and to watch the news for the latest developments.

The airline travel website for Norway and Scandinavia, Avinor, has also crashed.

This could last for a few days apparently, so all I can do, like anyone else, is sit and wait.


James Brooke at Lisbon airport
James Brooke at Lisbon airport

I'm stuck in Lisbon after flying from Brazil - we were due to head on to Heathrow.

When we landed and people started switching on their phones, word started spreading around the plane about airspace being shut down in Scandinavia, then Scotland too, then all of UK and parts of Europe.

I believe it's the biggest shutdown in aviation history. I guess it's good that airlines weren't prepared to risk flying.

The situation seems to be getting worse at the moment, so I'm planning to be here for a few days.

BA can't give us any answers, and we gave up trying to find bags.

We're on a transfer, and nobody could tell us what was happening with the bags.

We decided to get down to some nice bars by the harbour in Lisbon, where I think we'll be all afternoon. The sun is hot and we've got great views, so really can't complain too much.

Totally freak situation, so we're just rolling with it.


Callum Crane, four, waiting to fly to Disney World
Callum Crane, four, waiting to fly to Disney World

We've been waiting at Manchester Airport since this morning.

We're supposed to be on our way to Disney World, but our 0915 flight was cancelled.

So instead I'm sat around the airport with my wife and two sons, not really knowing what's happening.

Everyone's feeling a bit grumpy but it's not too bad.


"We don't know how long we will be here."

Emirates is struggling to cater for all the stranded passengers with most of the hotels in Dubai filling up quickly.

We are lucky we are staying in a hotel - there are thousands stranded at the airport, like I was when Emirates Airlines refused to help us get to the hotel.

It was organised chaos; lots of upset and angry passengers. One girl about six-years-old was screaming that she wanted to go home.

I am here with my mum travelling to Newcastle. We are both sick with stomach pains.

All we can do is wait.


I was due to travel to Dublin leaving Southampton airport at 0650 (BST). My flight was cancelled along with 90% of the other flights from this airport this morning. I have been placed on the next available flight at approx 1430 this afternoon however there are no guarantees that, that flight will go ahead either!
Grant Bradshaw, Southampton

The eruption in the Eyjafjallajoekull area is the second to occur in a month
This eruption has released ash to significantly greater heights
Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of rock and even glass, which can wreak havoc with machinery
A 1982 BA flight unknowingly flew into an ash cloud, shutting down all four engines

At Schipol Airport they are handing out badly photocopied A4 letters to passengers like myself, whose flights (Birmingham in my case) have been cancelled, telling them that cancellations for "extraordinary circumstances such as meteorological conditions" are "exempt of compensation payments".
Peter Feuilherade, Ironbridge, UK

Was due to fly back to Heathrow today from Shanghai but both Virgin and BA flights have been cancelled as it is expected that Heathrow will be closed this afternoon. Desperately trying to find other ways home as I have to be back in Peterborough by mid-morning Friday. Going to try via Hong Kong, Frankfurt and hopefully Heathrow will be open early tomorrow! All Hong Kong to London flights fully booked!
Mark Hazlehurst, Shanghai, China

I was booked to travel to Iceland tomorrow as a tourist to see the eruption. Looks like it's coming to me!
Alan Simpson, Johnstone, Scotland

At Schiphol Airport they are handing out badly photocopied A4 letters to passengers like myself, whose flights (Birmingham in my case) have been cancelled, telling them that cancellations for "extraordinary circumstances such as meteorological conditions" are "exempt of compensation payments"
Peter Feuilherade, Ironbridge, UK

I am in Iceland trying to travel back home today. I think it's going to be a very long day, even if my flight leaves and arrives at Heathrow (it's already over an hour delayed) my onward flight to Edinburgh doesn't look like it will be flying. It's very frustrating.
Florence Kennedy, Edinburgh

I arrived at East Midlands airport this morning for a flight at 0650 to Amsterdam. I was allowed to check my bags in, then five minutes later the notice that the flight was cancelled came up on the display. There was a large queue at the customer services desk and there was a father and daughter behind me who also had their flight to Paris cancelled. The mood of the people was very angry. However, we were offered a free transfer to another flight or a full refund. All in all, these things happen. We don't need another Polish plane disaster and sometimes people forget that safety procedures are there for a reason.
Bryan Duggan, Leek , England

In this image made available by the Icelandic Coastguard, Wednesday April 14, 2010, smoke and steam rises from the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland, which erupted for the second time in less than a month, melting ice, shooting smoke and steam into the air and forcing hundreds of people to flee rising floodwaters.
The eruption is the second in Iceland in less than a month

Our flight from Shanghai to Heathrow today was cancelled due to the ash. I am travelling as part of a group of 40 school students from Twickenham. We were not told of the ash until the departure time came and went, but so far BA have dealt with it excellently. As soon as the flight was cancelled the whole group was bussed together to a decent hotel and lunch was laid on. It has made what could have been a very difficult situation for the teachers, with the group splitting up, no food and no money etc, into a very easy extra night organised by BA.
Daniel Kyle, Twickenham, UK

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