One year ago, a volcano with an unpronounceable name erupted in Iceland, causing havoc for millions. But 365 days later, many are still waiting for compensation – so have we learnt anything from this disaster?
Flights in Europe were grounded for six days, and it’s hard to forget the phenomenal chaos that ensued.
Over two million Brits were directly affected, according to Lastminute.com, many having to pay considerable sums for extra food, accommodation and in some cases, overland transport back to the UK.
Better understanding of travel rights
So did anything positive come out of the ash-mess? I’d say that we are now more familiar with our travel rights.
European law states that an airline that cancels our flight out of Europe or on a European airline must, regardless of the reason, look after us until they can get us on a new flight. ‘Looking after us’ involves paying for food, drink, and if necessary, hotel accommodation.
We know that we should pay with our credit card for anything over £100 to get further protection and we also know that checking the small print on insurance policies before we commit to purchasing one can mean a big financial difference.
Ash cloud claims still unpaid
But unfortunately some have learnt all this too late. Over 600 people are still waiting and hoping that the Financial Ombudsman Service finally rules that ash can be classed as weather so that their insurance policies will pay them the costs they’ve been waiting 365 days for.
Recently, Which? Travel conducted research among those in the British public who buy travel insurance (around 90% of those who go away). We found that as a result of the disruption caused by the volcano and all the other events, such as snow, strikes and political unrest in 2010, 78% will be more likely to check that they’re covered for travel disruption when buying an insurance policy.
We’ve had to learn many of these lessons the hard way. Being stuck across the globe and unable to get home is scary and having to write letter after letter to the airlines with our reimbursement claims has taken too much of our time.
Are you better prepared?
Hopefully going forward, we’ll all be better prepared and more able to stick up for our rights, so that at the very least, we won’t be left out of pocket when travel disruption occurs.
Do you have a better understanding of your travel rights after seeing the problems passengers faced during the ash cloud? Do you do anything differently when booking your holiday to ensure you’ll be covered in this kind of event, or do you feel none-the-wiser?