UPDATE: He’s home at last.
Just because airspace is opening up throughout Europe, don’t think everyone can just hop on a plane and head home.
With so many thousands of canceled flights, the airlines will be struggling for days to come.
Which of course means stranded passengers will too – people like freelance lighting director Ross Williams – who graciously spoke to my editor earlier today via his Blackberry.
Williams, who lives outside London, is currently residing in Las Vegas where he attended the National Association of Broadcasters convention (which ended April 15). The biggest hardship so far – the personal and professional commitments he’s missing: “I’ve missed my only son’s first day of pre-school.”
Then there’s the financial hit he’s taking: “Being self-employed, each day we are away equals a lack of income,” and he added, “I’m due to fly to India on 28th. I won’t make this trip if things stay as they are.”
So how is Vegas? People have been treating him right, he says – but the airlines are another story. Keep reading…
On the plus side, Williams hasn’t been gouged in Vegas – on the contrary: “Here in Las Vegas hotels have been very kind. [The] Wynn extended the convention rates for us for 2 days until we could get ourselves organised. [Then he and a colleague] moved to apartments today which have offered reduced rates, free wifi and no cancellation charges if we can get home sooner than expected.”
So, have the airlines been cooperative? Not really.
Williams said his carrier, Virgin Atlantic wanted nearly $2700 to upgrade his class of travel so he could get onto an earlier departure. “They will not transfer passengers onto other airlines even though they supposedly have an alliance. BA had economy one-way on sale for $9800. It’s been a similar case for most US carriers.”
Right now he’s not scheduled to fly out until April 27 – he hopes he can move that up without breaking the bank, but right now, he doesn’t sound particularly optimistic – and notes that each call to Virgin Atlantic takes about 4 hours to complete.
Miserable. Hope you get home soon, Ross.