Page last updated at 03:45 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 04:45 UK

Day 7: Your travel stories

BBC News website readers who have been left stranded due to the volcanic ash cloud have been describing their experiences, as the travel crisis enters its seventh day.

Gary Woods

I can't remember the last time I cried - but I did this morning.

I am stranded in Shanghai. I was meant to fly home to the UK on 16th April.

But this morning I spoke to Virgin Atlantic and they said I cannot fly until May 8th.

I need help. This is crazy. How can they expect me to wait over three weeks for a confirmed flight?

I don't know what to do. My money has all gone and I will soon be on the streets. And so far - no sign of any financial assistance from the airline.

I just want to go home. I run a small business in Newport, Shropshire, selling wooden children's toys. If I don't get home soon I will lose my orders.

I can't stand the uncertainty. I have been on hold to Virgin for 3 hours 40 minutes now, listening to the same old rubbish hold music.

But what else can I do?

Veronica Bower-Feek

I will stay here for a week if I have to.

I'm taking my 28-year-old son to India. He hasn't been on holiday for 12 years.

We sat outside Heathrow Terminal 3 all day and saw several planes pass overhead, which was bemusing.

Now we are camping overnight in the arrivals hall - with about 50 others.

Everyone cheered when the first flight landed
Veronica Bower-Feek

It is generally a good atmosphere here, with passengers helping each other. A kind of community has built up. There are people who have been here since Thursday.

Everyone cheered when the first flight landed tonight and the first passengers came into the arrival hall. There was a real atmosphere of excitement.

But the staff have not been so friendly. Information is limited and different from everyone you ask. They would rather we all just went home.

But we and the 50 other passengers are staying here until we get a flight. I will not leave Heathrow by any other method than by plane.


I am one of the many people stranded abroad - away from my family and my business.

Kim Biggins
British Airways shouldn't be selling seats - they should be filling them with people like me
Kim Biggins, of St Albans

I should have travelled home to the UK on Sunday via Philadelphia, with British Airways.

But my flight was cancelled and I was told the earliest I was able to re-book was this coming Sunday, 25 April.

I was told there were no seats before then.

But when checking the BA website I was incensed to see they were selling tickets at extortionate prices ($6,000 one way) for flights departing on Wednesday.

I was wild when I found out. I think it's extortion - they are taking advantage of people in a desperate situation.

British Airways shouldn't be selling seats - they should be filling them with people like me.

They are not doing their utmost to get people home.

Unless of course, you have a bottomless pit of money!

Tony Fekete

I was stuck in Moscow with no flight back to Bucharest and my visa running out on Sunday night.

Over-staying a visa in Russia is treated very seriously. So, after considering the options to get home, I decided to treat the occasion as an opportunity for an adventure - a trip which in normal circumstances I could never justify to myself or anybody else.

There is a direct train from Moscow to Bucharest but it takes over 40 hours, two nights, and is a bit boring. Instead I decided to take the train to Odessa, Ukraine (no visa required and only 21 hours) and from there go through the beautiful Danube Delta back to Romania.

My aim was to have fun and get to Bucharest more quickly than the direct train. Here was the chance for a bit of exploration.

I'm not saying we should have more volcanic eruptions, but some situations can produce unexpected opportunities
Tony Fekete, Bucharest, Romania

On the Odessa train, the Russian frontier official showed uncharacteristic understanding that my visa had expired (by three hours) and back-dated the exit stamp.

The journey went quickly, sleeping well, watching a film on a waiter's computer in the dining car and practising my Russian with my female sleeping car companion. In Russian trains, sleeping compartments are mixed!

I already knew Odessa so I found a reasonably priced hotel and decided to go out on the town in the evening. I met some English guys at Mick O'Neill's Irish Pub, the expats' hang-out in Odessa, where the lonely traveller can always find company, and we had some drinks.

Triple border

I left Odessa the next morning with a taxi driver I had met at the station who agreed take me to the Romanian border through the Danube Delta Region in southern Ukraine. This not so easy as the road is bad and one risks delays as bits of the Republic of Moldova cut through the road requiring additional border formalities.

I was dropped at the Ukrainian-Moldovan-Romanian border (the three countries meet) where I met some confused American adventure tourists trying to negotiate the triple border crossing.

Eventually I found a driver with a visa to take me over the border to the first Romanian railway station at Galati. I just made the train and arrived in Bucharest four hours later - 40 minutes before the direct sleeper from Moscow.

I am not saying we should have more volcanic eruptions, but some situations can produce unexpected fun opportunities.

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