|Canadian carriers cancel Northern European flights; Lufthansa cancels 17 North American flights to Frankfurt today; Icelandair offers travel options and full refund with no penalty
The ash cloud became a menace to air travel as it drifted south and east toward Northern Europe, including Britain, about 2,000 kilometres away.The ash plume drifted at between 6,000 and 11,000 metres, where it could get sucked into airplane engines and cause them to shut down. The smoke and ash also could affect aircraft visibility.Dozens of overseas flights cancelled from across Canada Canadian air carriers have cancelled dozens of overseas flights from across Canada as a cloud of volcanic ash continues to scuttle air travel across northern Europe, the Canadian Press reported.
Air Canada says it has cancelled all flights to and from London’s Heathrow airport, Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and the Frankfurt airport until further notice.
Air Transat has cancelled all flights to Heathrow.
Experts say the ash, comprised of bits of sand and glass the consistency of talcum powder, compromises pilot visibility and aircraft engines.
Both Air Canada and Air Transat are advising travellers to check their websites for future flight status updates.
The disruption that stranded tens of thousands of people in Europe began to trickle down to Canada as the day progressed.
Just a handful of cancellations were reported at Canadian airports early Thursday, but the number had swollen to more than 30 by late afternoon.
Montreal scraps nine flights; Vancouver 6, Calgary 4 and Halifax 1
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority said a total of 11 flights were cancelled, while authorities at the Aeroport de Montreal said nine of its flights were scrapped.
The volcanic cloud scrubbed six flights in and out of the Vancouver airport, four in Calgary and one in Halifax.
Non-emergency flights in Britain were cancelled, and most will stay grounded until at least midday Friday. Authorities in Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Belgium also closed their air space. France shut down 24 airports, including the main hub of Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Germany’s Berlin and Hamburg were shut Thursday evening.
Britain’s air traffic service said late Thursday it was extending a ban on most air traffic until 1 p.m. local time (8 a.m EDT) Friday, but flights to Scotland and Northern Ireland may be allowed to resume before then.
Lufthansa cancels North American flights
In addition Lufthansa has cancelled 17 North American flights to Frankfurt today as a result of deteriorating weather conditions in Germany caused by an Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.
At this time the following flights have been cancelled for today:
LH471 Toronto – Frankfurt
LH 493 Vancouver – Frankfurt
LH445 Atlanta – Frankfurt
LH 437 Chicago – Düsseldorf
LH 433 Chicago – Frankfurt
LH439 Dallas/Ft. Worth – Frankfurt
LH447 Denver – Frankfurt
LH443 Detroit – Frankfurt
LH441 Houston – Frankfurt
LH457 Los Angeles – Frankfurt
LH 409 Newark – Düsseldorf
LH 405 New York/JFK – Frankfurt
LH 467 Miami – Düsseldorf
LH 465 Orlando – Frankfurt
LH 427 Philadelphia – Frankfurt
LH 455 San Francisco – Frankfurt
LH 491 Seattle – Frankfurt
In addition, the following flights are currently cancelled for tomorrow, April 16:
LH 470 Frankfurt – Toronto
LH 492 Frankfurt – Vancouver
LH 436 Düsseldorf – Chicago
LH 408 Düsseldorf – Newark
LH 466 Düsseldorf – Miami
LH 432 Frankfurt – Chicago
LH 438 Frankfurt – Dallas/Ft. Worth
LH 440 Frankfurt – Houston
LH 442 Frankfurt – Detroit
LH 444 Frankfurt – Atlanta
LH 446 Frankfurt – Denver
LH 452 Munich – Los Angeles
LH 456 Frankfurt – Los Angeles
LH400 Frankfurt – New York, JFK
LH 464 Frankfurt – Orlando
LH426 Frankfurt – Philadelphia
LH454 Frankfurt – San Francisco
LH 490 Frankfurt – Seattle
Please note that due to the evolving weather situation, Lufthansa has added that additional flight delays and cancellations are possible.
Customers can rebook free of charge by calling Lufthansa reservations at 1-800-563-5954 in Canada or 1-800-645-3880 in the U.S. Passengers can also check lufthansa.com for an updated list of flight cancellations and additional information.
Icelandair offers travel options
As a result of the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland all airlines flights to and from Scandinavian and U.K. airports have been disrupted. Icelandair does not know if further disruptions may occur. However, they have provided up to date information on any flight delays or further cancellations on their website icelandair.com.
At this time the following Icelandair flights have been cancelled due to the volcano:
Two additional flights to Glasgow have been added to accommodate passengers heading to the U.K.
New flight, both scheduled for 14:00 GMT, return flights will leave GLA at 18:05 local time:
FI430/431 GLA ON TIME, PLEASE GO TO AIRPORT
FI432/433 GLA ON TIME, PLEASE GO TO AIRPORT
Since the ash is blowing eastward, many Icelandair flights have operated on schedule or with slight delays including flights to/from Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and the U.S.
It is recommended that passengers check their flight status before departing for the airport.
Affected passengers should contact our Icelandair customer service line +354 5050300 in Iceland or 1-800-223-5500; prompt 2 for North America.
Please note that due to the circumstances the following alternative options are also available to passengers scheduled to travel through April 18, 2010:
A full refund of unused flights, if travel has not commenced.
Re-book to a later date. (Your client can take an Icelandair flight to their destination at a later date convenient to them, subject to availability in the same service class/cabin.)
Re-book on an Icelandair flight to/from another destination than originally booked. (This offer is subject to availability in the same booking class. Any additional fare cost will be charged.)
– Travel must be completed within ticket validity or within three months from the original flight, whichever is longer.
– The return flight, if applicable, can be re-booked at the same time.
– Passengers on through tickets involving other carriers must notify us before travel commences. Passengers with connecting flights issued on separate tickets must make their own arrangements with the other carrier including the payment of any additional costs and amendment fees.
– Passengers on package holidays must refer to their tour operators who may not operate the same policy. Passengers should also be aware that any applicable refund would only relate to the airfare portion of the inclusive package and not the whole cost of the holiday.
To recap, passengers scheduled to depart on an Icelandair Holidays package through April 18, 2010 will be offered a full refund with no penalty.