European Fliers urged to be vigilant following volcanic eruption

People travelling in Europe are being warned to remain vigilant following the eruption of an Icelandic volcano in May, as fears of further disruption to flights abound.

The Grimsvotn volcano is Iceland’s most active and in May this year an eruption sent plumes of black ash into the stratosphere, causing chaos at European airports as flights were grounded and travellers left stranded for days as they waited until the ash cleared.

While the worst of the May eruption seems to be over, volcanologists have not ruled out the possibility of an extended period of activity from Grimsvotn over the next few weeks and months.

This danger prompted travel insurance expert Bob Atkinson, of moneysupermarket.com, to advise anyone travelling in Europe to take the necessary precautions such as worldwide travel insurance.

He said: “As news of the Icelandic volcano eruption hits, with it brings the same travel uncertainty as we experienced in April 2010. At this stage, it is business as usual except for flights to and from Iceland. For those who have booked a trip to Iceland, check with your tour operator or airline for the latest travel information.

“If you are travelling as part of an ATOL covered package, your tour operator will be able to advise on your total travel plans.  It is the responsibility of the tour operator to cover all costs should air space be disrupted.  Those travellers still in the UK are entitled to refunds or transfers, and for those stranded overseas will be kept in accommodation at the expense of the tour operator.”

Mr Atkinson added: “If you have independent arrangements then you need to speak to your airline as well as hotel companies and any others you have bookings with to check your options for cancellation, refunds and changes. Check your travel insurance policy, look for natural disaster and weather related clauses and understand what is covered in the policy. This will cover for things such as loss of travel arrangements, cost of new travel arrangements and travel delay.

“Should airspace actually close, travellers are urged not to do anything without speaking to their airline or tour operator first, checking their website for further information.”

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