Ash Update: Airports Reopen; Travel Uncertainty Remains

May 10, 2010

Update, 4:15 p.m. EDT: Neither Eurocontrol nor the BBC have issued any recent updates on the ash cloud situation. Current reports indicate that all airports in Europe are open at this time. We'll keep you posted as further updates become available.

(6:30 a.m. EDT) -- The ash cloud which caused airport closures across parts of Europe over the weekend is continuing to cause uncertainty for travellers.

Although most European airports are open, cruisers flying to the Mediterranean should check with airlines in case there are delays or flight cancellations as a result of the latest wave of ash.

The European air safety organisation, Eurocontrol, says some airspace over Iceland, the Atlantic and Portugal remains closed. Some transatlantic flights are taking longer than usual as they have to re-route around the ash cloud.

Over the weekend there were no-fly zones in parts of Spain, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Southern Germany, Croatia, Northern Italy, Scotland and Ireland.

Fortunately for cruisers, the impact appears to be minimal as many of the airports reopened after a few hours and flights were able to get to cruise embarkation hubs including Barcelona.

In Portugal though, Cruise Critic's contributing editor, Sue Bryant, had just been on a cruise on Uniworld's Douro Queen and was due to fly home from Porto on Sunday. The airport was closed, and Sue had to get a train to Lisbon to fly home before that airport was also closed down. She reported last night that there were heavy cancellations from Lisbon and long queues at ticket desks for rebooking.

She also tells us that Uniworld (and U.K. tour operator Elegant River Cruises) guests stuck in Porto had been accommodated in hotels for the night. Guests due to depart on the Douro Queen yesterday were on a Porto-bound flight that was diverted to Lisbon and were driven by minibus to meet the vessel in Porto.

The problem, however, is that the situation is changing and travel has become an unpredictable activity. Yesterday, according to the Met Office in the U.K., "The Icelandic Met Office states that there are no signs that the eruption is about to end, with the situation with the volcanic eruption remaining dynamic."

We'll keep you posted.

--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor, with reporting from Sue Bryant, Contributing Editor