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Advice for stranded passengers

  • Published: Friday, 23 April 2010

Airlines and transport operators are working to clear the backlog of passengers after the recent airspace closure. If your travel plans were affected, contact your airline for a replacement flight. Read on for advice on help from travel operators, and how to get back from Europe if you have not been offered a suitable replacement flight.

Latest news

All passengers, wherever they are in the world, should contact their airlines and travel providers for the latest travel information.

Airports across the UK are now open and airlines are working to clear the backlog of passengers.

Travellers returning from Europe

Depending on the new flight date your airline has offered you, you may wish to consider buying tickets for alternate routes home.

Ferry and train

Travel providers are maintaining increased capacity, with an extra 20,000 places a day across Eurostar, Eurotunnel and the channel ferries. Most ferry companies can take foot passengers. British Embassy staff are helping at Calais. Queueing time at Calais had reduced to 15 minutes by Thursday, with ferries running around the clock every 15 minutes.

You can check availability with ferry companies using the map and links below.

Arrivals help at Dover

On arrival in Dover extra National Express coaches to London Victoria, and SouthEastern shuttle-buses can bring passengers from the port to Dover Priory Station. Extra staff at Dover arrivals hall will assist those with immediate medical needs and vulnerable elderly or young people.

Help from your airline

The amount of help you are entitled to from your airline depends on whether you are flying from an EU airport or on an EU airline.

Flights from EU countries or on EU airlines

If you are travelling from an EU airport or on an EU airline you are entitled to either a refund or to a later flight (or alternative transport home).

If you accept a refund for the return leg of your journey you end your relationship with the airline and will have no further entitlements.

Passengers who are rerouted onto a later flight will be entitled to assistance from the airline, including reasonable meals and overnight accommodation. You must confirm arrangements with your airline and should not assume that an airline will continue to pay for your existing accommodation.

As the volcano is beyond the control of the airlines, you will not be entitled to any additional financial compensation.

Flights from non-EU countries on non-EU airlines

Flights from non-EU countries on non-EU airlines are not covered by EU laws.

You will need to contact your airline, as your rights will depend on your airline’s conditions of carriage. A refund or later flight will generally be offered. You may also be covered by any travel insurance you have taken out.

For more information on your consumer rights, including what your travel insurance may cover, follow the link below.

Package holidays

In the current situation, return flights have been cancelled, meaning that the tour operator has not been able to provide a part of the package you have paid for. In this case the tour operator must provide alternative arrangements to get you home, at no extra cost to you.

In normal circumstances the tour operator is liable for every part of the package you pay for, including flights. However, given the unusual situation it is unlikely you would be able to claim any extra compensation. 

Even in these unusual circumstances tour operators must still provide help if you are in difficulty - for example, helping you find overnight accommodation. 

If you have run out of money

If you have run out of money you should ask a friend or relative to transfer money via a commercial money transfer service.

The British Embassy can advise you how to do this.

If you are running out of medication

If you are running out of medication, see if it is available at a local pharmacy or go to a local hospital or doctor. If you need help to find a hospital or doctor, call the British Embassy.

If you are admitted to hospital, contact the British Embassy.

If your visa has expired

If your visa has expired you should contact your tour operator or the British Embassy for advice.

Advice for Umra Pilgrims

Some Umra Pilgrims may find their visas are due to expire in the coming days.

All travellers should ensure their visas remain vaild at all times. If you don’t extend your visa validity before the expiry date you may be fined up to 10,000 SAR.

Umra Pilgrims should get their visas extended through their Umra agents. Visit/business visa holders should approach their sponsors in order to extend the validity of their visas.

Contacting a British national abroad

If you are calling from the UK and are concerned about a British national stranded overseas please call the FCO advice line on 020 7008 0000.

British nationals stranded overseas should contact their local embassy, high commission or consulate.

Search for your nearest embassy by following the link below.

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