My daughter was due to fly from Leeds/Bradford airport this morning to Pisa with Ryanair and at 6.30am this morning I checked the airport website to find out if the flight was on time. The flight to Pisa was cancelled along with all the other flights. There was no sign of any fog, which is often why Leeds/Bradford is closed and it was then that I noticed that there was an announcement saying that all flights were cancelled due to volcanic dust! I thought this was a bit strange as I had never heard of this event before. It then turned out of course that most flights from UK airports were affected.
As I live only 10 minutes drive from the airport we decided to drive up to see what the situation was and when we got there the airport was full of people wandering around trying to decide what to do. We went to the Ryanair desk at Leeds/Bradford and were given a slip of paper giving us details about a refund.
I feel really sorry for those thousands of people who have had their travel plans disrupted or holidays cancelled. Some passengers will have been going on holiday for a short break and there may not be another flight for a few days which effectively means the holiday is cancelled. I just hope that the people responsible for making this decision have not been too over cautious about the dangers of the volcanic ash cloud but I suppose that we have to respect their decision.
Your rights when a flight is cancelled
This event is yet another example why you should always look to book at ATOL protected package holiday rather than booking flights and accommodation separately. ATOL protected holidays will give give you a full refund for the whole holiday so you will not lose any money.If you have booked a flight only and seperate accommodation you will get a refund for your flight but you may not get a refund for the accommodation that you have booked. A further complication is that some travel insurance policies do not cover this type of event as it is classed as an “Act of God” exclusion. This could leave thousands of people with booked and paid for hotels and other accommodation with no way of receiving a refund.
Can you claim on Travel Insurance?
As mentioned above you may have a problem claiming for a volcanic ash event on your travel insurance. You need to check the small print in your policy to look at the exclusions.