HOLIDAYMAKERS from Chester are stranded in airports across the globe with many having to cancel holiday plans after volcano ash from Iceland blew across Britain and Europe.
Many tourists and business users travelled to Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester Airport on Thursday to find departure boards reporting all flights were cancelled.
Some people were stranded overseas, having to pay for longer stays in hotels because they have no insurance, while others have had business trips and holidays cancelled or postponed.
Helen and Graham Jones from Pulford, near Chester, were due to fly back from Naples, Florida on Thursday but have been stranded in America, with thousands of other passengers, uncertain as to when they will be able to travel back home.
“Airport staff thought it would be OK to fly across the Atlantic when we contacted them before we left Naples on Thursday. We flew from Naples to Fort Myers and then from there to Atlanta without any problem” said Helen.
“When we reached Atlanta for our connecting flight to Manchester it was a different story. It was chaotic with no one knowing what was going on. There were thousands of passengers just waiting.”
“They told us the earliest they could book us on a flight - because of the backlog - would be Tuesday (April 20) and that’s only if the airspace restrictions are lifted by then.”
Chester resident Jo McNee was coming to the end of a holiday in Australia when all flights to Britain were cancelled down under.
On Friday, she said: “I am stranded in Sydney because of the volcano. Been told that we won’t be leaving for at least 48 hours which would mean returning to Chester by Monday evening.”
Luxury travel operator Elegant Resorts, based on Little St John Street, Chester, has opted to pay for extended hotel stays for its clients, regardless of insurance.
Commercial director Alison Scott was herself due to go on a long weekend to Dubai on Thursday but had to cancel and was back in work on Friday.
She said: “There are a lot of people having to extend their stays. We are assisting that and funding their stays for them.
“It’s one of the most difficult situations but we’re dealing with it well. We’ve got it under control."
International Travel Connections Ltd, based on Canal Street, Chester said they were working to get clients on the next available flights.
“We are getting a large amount of calls from clients in resorts having to stay for an extra night,” said one switchboard operator.
Parmjit Dhillon, a spokesman from Thomas Cook, who have branches on Bridge Street and Northgate Row, said on Friday: “We are working closely with National Air Traffic Services and UK airports to understand the position as it develops.
“We are doing everything we can to assist our customers and further information and updates can be found on our website, www.thomascook.com.”
If you have been affected by the grounding of all flights, contact The Chronicle on 01244 606436 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.