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Travel in an Ashy Summer

Most of the volcano ash travel coverage I’ve read lately has focused on the short term, addressing concerns of travel within the coming week or weeks. But this Associated Press article takes a slightly longer view of the issue, and looks at the summer forecast.

While there’s no telling when the volcano will spew more ash (cue “cloud of uncertainty” puns), or how major the North Atlantic and trans-Atlantic air travel disruptions will be, it seems likely that this is an issue that will plague summer travelers. According to the article, experts agree that “the continent must be braced indefinitely for rapid shutdowns of air services as computerized projections try to pinpoint where the ash clouds will float next at the whim of shifting winds.”

So what does that mean for travelers who have trips to Europe already lined up?

This will be a particularly important summer to know your rights in the case of mass flight cancellations, so check out Ed Perkins’ primer on the topic. If the ash does bring travel to a standstill again, as it did last month, airlines will likely offer travel waivers to passengers who want to postpone trips. If you do travel, build some flexibility into your itinerary and be prepared in case you need to wait out an ash cloud for a few days in your departure city.

Were you or someone you know stranded by the recent ash event? Have you ever found yourself stuck in a destination unexpectedly? How did you manage?

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