All British airports, including London’s Heathrow – will reopen today at 5pm Eastern time (2100 GMT).
And British Airways immediately said it hoped to land as many as 25 flights this evening.
Great news for stranded passengers.
Contact your airline right away – either in person, online or via phone (and if you’re in a long line, try all three).
This unprecented event – the volcanic ash that shut down Europe – has been quite an ordeal for so many. To give you something to compare it with: in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, U.S. airspace (and airports) were shut down for three days. The UK shutdown has lasted twice as long.
For those of you looking to get in or out of England, both London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports remain closed until further notice.
There was applause at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport as flights began to take off again today, and the Associated Press reports that although German airspace remains officially closed, about 800 flights, flying at low altitudes, were allowed to take off and land.
Let me repeat myself – all this can change in the blink of an eye, so keep checking back – and most important, keep checking with your airline.
News from Ryanair:
Canary Islands to Madrid: Ryanair announced today that it will operate additional flights on Wed. (Apr. 21 and Thurs. (Apr. 22) from Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife – to Madrid.
This will allow passengers to get to mainland Europe - so they can make their return journeys via road, rail or ferry (onward travel from Madrid will be at each passenger’s own expense).
Ireland to England (UK): Ryanair will not operate any flights between Ireland and the UK until at least Friday, the company has said.
See my earlier posts here and here, and info in the Deals Blog for more information on European airport openings (and continued shutdowns).
More on European airport openings (and remember, this information can change at any time – this volcano ash is unpredictable and has canceled thousands of flights – stay connected to your airline):
- Dublin (DUB) is closed, but Shannon (SNN) is open for afternoon and early evening hours today
- Brussels (BRU) open for now, with delays
Please see our Deals Blog for further details.
Before I say anything else, once again let me remind you that the situation in Europe remains fluid, and can change at any time.
Stay in touch with your airline for the latest information.
That said, this we do know – as of this moment (thanks to the NY Times for its chart of open/closed European airports):
- Lisbon (LIS) and Porto (OPO) are open except for flights to/from countries with closed airspace
- Barcelona (BCN), Madrid (MAD), Son Sant Joan (PMI) are open except for flights to/from countries with closed airspace
United Kingdom, England, Scotland
Please see our Deals Blog for further details.
The latest figures are out on airline performance from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and it wasn’t such a good month, but weather played a part.
Here’s the scoop:
On-Time Performance: Airlines reported an overall on-time arrival rate of slightly more than 74% – worse than January, and substantially worse than February 2009 (blame it on some pretty major snowstorms) – not great
Baggage: There were 4.01 reports of “mishandled” bags per 1,000 passengers in February, an improvement over January – not bad
Pets: There were 3 pet deaths in February – not good.
Keep reading to see the Best and Worst airports for on-time performances…
Airline On-Time Performance Feb. Report Card: “C-”
Every now and then, we hear about a planeload of passengers who get trapped on the tarmac for hours and hours – something that’s supposed to end as of April 29, when the DOT implements its new “three hour rule” (which some airlines are already asking for exemptions from).
But they’re not the only travelers who get caught up in such delays.
In Scotland this week, more than 100 passengers were stuck on their train after it ran into a non-negotiable snowdrift 20 mile south of Inverness.
To add insult to injury, a second “rescue train” bringing them food and blankets, also got stuck in the snow.
The passengers were trapped on the train for about seven hours before a third train came along to take them away. The original journey was only supposed to have lasted about three hours. Wonder if those folks will begin agitating for “Passenger Rail Rights”?
The airports are hoping for more fliers this summer – at least more compared to the doldrums of last year – and if you’ll be joining the anticipated crowds, you’ll notice some changes (as USA Today did).
Some of you might feel the need for a refresher course in airline and security procedures. And naturally, I’m here to help.
Haven’t flown since Christmas? Since 2007? Since 9/11? I’ve got you covered – with the basics - so please keep reading…
So You Haven’t Flown in Awhile – What to Expect at the Airport