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Volcanic Ash Returns to UK; More Flights Disrupted

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Some airports in the UK have been forced to close as the Volcanic Ash enters airspace used by some of Europe's busiest airports.

 As with the previous volcanic ash disruptions, travellers should contact their airline before travelling to the airport and ensure that the airline has all your latest contact details.

UK airports inside the no-fly zone include London Heathrow, Gatwick, Farnborough, London City, Shoreham, Biggin Hill, all airfields in Northern Ireland, Scottish Western Isles, Oban, Campbeltown, Caernarfon and Aberdeen. These airports will remain closed until at least 07:00 GMT on Monday, 17 May 2010. Cardiff is open, but NATS has warned that operations may be limited due to its close proximity to the no-fly zone.

The Irish Aviation Authority has extended restrictions on flights in and out of Dublin and Donegal Airports until at least 12:00 (11:00 GMT) on Monday, 17 May 2010. The status of other airports controlled by the IAA is as follows: Cork, Shannon and Kerry are open until further notice. Ireland West (Knock) and Sligo are expected to open at 09:00 local time on Monday. Galway and Waterford airports are expected to open at 06:00 on Monday 17 May.

The situation is fluid and therefore could change, travellers are advised to contact their airline asap.

Choose your Airline Carefully

If the volcanic ash problems have taught travellers anything, one of the most important things should be to choose the airline you fly with very carefully.

The EU-based airlines all have strict laws to abide to in providing accommodation, food etc, and the well known Middle Eastern airlines such as Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad did, at least according to the reports we received, take very good care of the stranded. Some other major carriers such as Singapore Airlines also received praise.

There were unfortunately other airlines, and one particular major Asia-based airline, that received scathing reviews from the stranded passengers, who, despite being paying passengers were treated "worse than cattle" one email we received said. It is shameful for any national carrier to treat passengers in that way, regardless of whether there is a legal obligation to do so, or not. So the next time you choose your airline, just consider for a moment how that airline reacted in the case of emergency, how it handled its passengers and if you are pleased with what you discover then fly with them, if not, let your wallet and hard-earned cash do the talking, and choose another.

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