Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 16:40 UK

Day 8: Travellers hit by ash delays

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 eighth day.

Chris Platt and fellow travellers stranded in Bangkok
Chris Platt is one of a party of 18 stranded in Bangkok

We're currently stranded in Bangkok with very little information available from either airline or embassy. There are lots of conflicting rumours circulating - we hear from the UK that there are extra slots at Heathrow yet our airline doesn't know anything about this.

We've had a heated discussion with them as we could be stuck here a further three to four weeks unless they put on some extra flights.

We're in a party of 18 with one injured person who will be medically transferred on Friday night, without his wife and children. One of our party is 22 weeks pregnant - she's been given a return date four weeks from today but by then she won't be allowed to fly. We just feel we have been forgotten.

If this problem is left to the airlines to sort out it could be weeks before we return.

All our expenses are being funded from our own pockets and the political protests that are going on around us make the atmosphere feel very tense. We have been told to avoid certain parts of the city and I know some of at least one airline whose office has been shut for two days during the disturbances.

We have been in touch with the British Embassy and been told that the Ambassador has been talking to the airlines but there have been no developments.

I think we 're only going to get back if pressure is put on the airlines by the government. If this problem is left to the airlines to sort out it could be weeks before we return. We are desperate to get back.


Chris Ingate
Head teacher Chris Ingate has missed the start of term

We are still stranded in Shanghai and have been allocated a flight by BA on 3 May. The most annoying aspect is that BA are now allocating new air passengers on time and ignoring us. This can't be right.

I'm a headmaster of a secondary school and my wife's a teacher. We both should have been back at school on Monday. My daughter is also only weeks away from her GCSEs.

I'm having run my school remotely and my daughter is getting school work emailed to her

BA put us up in a hotel for the first four days but after that we were left to our own devices. We are fortunate because we have friends who we can stay with but not everyone is that lucky. There is one stranded group of 50 school children - I have no idea how they have coped.

There are still plane-loads of people waiting to get back and they are scattered all over Shanghai. We have set up an email network and are trying to keep in touch and share information.

In the meantime I'm having to run my school remotely via email and my daughter is getting school work emailed to her, with extra tuition provided by my wife.

We have been given an allowance of £25 (29 Euros, $38) each per day for living costs; for my family that's £100 (115 Euros, $154) per day. It's welcome even though it doesn't go that far in Shanghai. Nevertheless it must be costing them more to keep us here than get us on a flight home.

Now that flights have started again, I just don't understand why we are being ignored. BA seems to be giving priority to new customers rather than getting the stranded ones home first.

While so many people are stranded the airlines should be made to get those people home first before they can start selling new tickets.


Penelope and Nigel Clarkson
Penelope and Nigel Clarkson feel abandoned and forgotten by their airline

We have been advised that we cannot expect a return flight from Miami until an undetermined date after 12 May. We were supposed to return on 17 April. We feel we have been abandoned by our airline.

At first the delay was not a problem but now the airports have been reopened and we still have no immediate prospect of returning, we have become very frustrated.

So far our airline is not putting on any extra flights. It says on the Virgin website that they are working on a plan to repatriate people but we haven't heard anything and neither has our holiday rep.

There is a significant number of people still stranded with no hope of getting back soon

At the moment we are staying in a motel which Virgin are paying for. On Wednesday night we were told that the earliest we could hope to return would be after 12th May. It's just completely unacceptable. We need to get back to our jobs and our daughter will soon be doing her mock exams. We have complained to Virgin and written to our local MP. We are awaiting their response.

I can appreciate that there are logistical problems and airlines need to reposition their aircraft and crews. Over here, we get the impression that whilst European airspace will soon be operating at pretty much normal capacity, there is a significant number of people still stranded who don't have any hope of getting back soon.

The main focus of the airlines is to get their operations back up and running and they are happy for us to just trickle back in small numbers. We have been forgotten.

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