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Business

The planes are flying, but not everyone can get a seat

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-22

While air traffic approached normal levels over Europe on Thursday, traffic woes continue for thousands of passengers, as airlines struggle to cope with a huge client backlog.

Are you still stranded far from home? Tell FRANCE 24 about your ordeal by posting your story below in the comment section.

 

 

Airline executives are jubilant over the reopening of airspace over most of Europe on Thursday, after reporting tens of millions of euros in losses after volcanic ash from Iceland grounded their fleets.
 
Eurocontrol, Europe's air-safety authority, said they expected air traffic to be "almost 100 percent" on Thursday.
 
But not everyone is seeing blue skies. A huge backlog has left thousands of passengers stranded far from home, in many cases without any financial compensation.
 
Gérard Milhau, a high-school history teacher from France, accompanied a group of students on six-day tour of western US national parks. On Thursday he was told the earliest his group could return home was April 28, a full week away.
 
Although accommodations have been provided by a New York-based tour group, the students were running out of money. “The parents are worried of course,” said Milhau.
 
Paying for their next meal was not their only concern. “They are going to miss mandatory final exams on Monday,” the history teacher lamented.
 
Laure, a French holidaymaker stuck in New Delhi, was told by Air India that she may be able to board a homebound plane Friday, but was given no ticket or confirmation.
 
“The situation is really stressful,” she said. “Some of the people that were in the same predicament left today, but we are still here and everyone says they can’t help us.”
 
Not all stranded passengers were in a rush to get back, however.
 
Carmi Cimicata considers herself among the lucky travellers affected by the volcanic ash. She was unable to return to Canada from holidays in Paris, but rented an apartment from the same company that organised her trip for an additional week.

“There isn't a person at home in Canada that feels bad about my predicament. Being stuck in Paris does seem like a very nice bonus. Even I can't believe it,” Cimicata told France24.com.

 

Date created : 2010-04-22

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