Volcanic ash-triggered air traffic troubles raise travel questions

At Frankfurt airport, December 5, 2009

As I write this post, ash spewed by the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano in Iceland continues to paralyze air travel in many parts of Europe.

The chaos has raised so many questions in my mind.

What if my visa expires on that day? Would I be allowed to extend my stay? Or would I be forced to stay at the airport?

Assuming that it’s okay for me to stay beyond the stated date on my visa (because a natural occurrence is not anyone’s fault), who would pay for my accommodation? I believe that while EU-based airlines are bound by law to pay for such things, their non EU-based counterparts are not.

Governments and airlines ought to find ways of protecting passengers from the effects of such natural incidents.

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