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Europe

Images and stories from the travel chaos sparked by the ash cloud

Video by FRANCE 2 , Yuka ROYER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-21

Volcanic ash from Iceland has forced the cancellation of tens of thousands of flights in northern Europe. FRANCE 24 has put together a visual account of Iceland's volcano explosion and the ensuing aviation chaos it has caused.

Volcanic ash from Iceland has lead to unprecedented aviation chaos across Europe and the world.
 
While flight restrictions eased on Wednesday following the opening of several airports, traffic woes continue with airlines struggling to cope with a huge backlog of stranded passengers.
 
Stoical students and a Norwegian nightmare
 
It took them 53 hours to get home from Norway – and they were the lucky ones. The high school students from Isere in eastern France were stuck in Scandinavia, where they had been on a student exchange.
 
They contacted FRANCE24.com late Tuesday to talk about their experience.
 
“Travelling with 15 teenagers is a pretty epic experience at the best of times,” their teacher, Clément Breysse, said. “Including the two teachers, we had to find 17 places on coaches, ferries and trains. Luckily for us our Norwegian friends were very much on the ball and helped get the tickets sorted out. On our journey we met a great many people who were completely stuck.”
 
In the crowed station in central Copenhagen, the students came face-to-face with the grim reality of the situation.
 
“Even if they were tired, they remained stoical,” Breysse added. “This situation has matured them and brought them closer together as a group. We will see that they write up their experience when they get home and take full advantage of what they have lived through these last few days.”
  
Hotel bills, cancelled holidays and nights in the airport
 
Stuck in New York, holidaymakers Olivier and Cathy told FRANCE 24 in an online comment on Sunday that Air France had only paid for a single night at a hotel and that they were now footing the hotel bills. “Who will reimburse these unforeseen expenses?”
 
Vivi and her family told FRANCE 24 in an online comment, "We're stranded in Seoul and there are no flights before April 23. But our plight is not as bad as others who've been told they will be delayed for the next 15 days."
 
A lucky few ones received early warnings. “My travel agency called me just as I was taking a taxi to the airport,” said FRANCE 24 journalist Jean-Baptiste Marot, who was due to leave for Ethiopia on Thursday evening.
 
Boré, who was due to head back to Paris on Thursday, says he spent the past two nights at the Singapore airport but that airport authorities were providing food, sleeping bags, pillows and that he was given a tourist visa for a few hours.

 



Have your travel plans been disrupted by the the volcanic ash cloud? Are you stuck at the airport? Tell FRANCE 24 about your ordeal by posting your story below in the comment section.

Date created : 2010-04-16

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