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Boston Globe Discusses the Ash Clouds and Travel

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The following is an excerpt from the Boston Globe about the volcanic ash cloud that is affecting travel plans across Europe.

As a drifting ash from a volcano eruption in Iceland continued to disrupt international flights at airports worldwide yesterday, the travel industry began bracing for more potential scheduling problems heading into the summer.

One-sixth of the 36 scheduled flights between Logan International Airport and European destinations were canceled yesterday: two Icelandair flights between Reykjavik and Boston, an American Airlines flight from London, a Delta flight from Amsterdam, and two Aer Lingus flights from Dublin. Other airlines that fly between Boston and Europe were operating on a regular schedule yesterday, according to Logan officials.

The cancellations in Boston are the result of a worldwide ripple effect after aviation officials over the past weekend had to temporarily shutdown large airports in Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands, as well as London’s Heathrow Airport — Europe’s busiest airport — because of the ash cloud, which poses dangers to aircraft because microscopic particles can stall a jet engine.

The travel disruptions were the latest fallout from the volcano, which has been erupting for more than a month, stranding travelers, causing huge losses for airlines, and wreaking havoc at busy airports.

Travel insurance can provide relief for travelers impacted by the volcanic ash over Europe.

When catastrophic events affect coverage, travel insurance carriers release position statements about how the event will affect coverage.  When an eruption, or subsequent ash clouds become foreseeable events, policies purchased after that time will not cover that event.  Check the Squaremouth blog for updated travel insurance carriers’ position statements.

Coverage for a volcanic ash delay is provided in several different ways.

Travel Delay coverage reimburses the traveler for lodging, meals and transportation expenses while the traveler is delayed because of a common carrier.

Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption coverage reimburses the costs of unused trip arrangements and the costs of last minute transportation home.  Travel insurance carriers are interpreting the volcanic ash as one of two ways.  The first way is to consider the ash as inclement weather, while the second is a natural disaster. There is specific policy language for trip cancellation and trip interruption related to the two interpretations of coverage.   Again, it is important to check the insurance carrier’s position on how coverage will be applied.

Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details.