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Who should pay for the volcano disruption?

11:05 UK time, Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Recriminations are growing over the costs of the six-day airspace shutdown as thousands of Britons continue their slow journey back to the UK. Who should pay for the cost of this disruption?

Airlines want compensation for the volcanic ash disruption, estimated to have cost the industry more than £1bn. And passengers forced to abandon scheduled flights and fund their own journey home, as well as those still stranded abroad paying hotel and living expenses, are wondering who is going to foot the bill.

Almost all flights across Europe are expected to go ahead on Thursday. Although certain airports in Sweden and Norway were closed again when part of the volcanic ash cloud took an unexpected turn north.

Is it reasonable to expect a budget airline to reimburse such high expenses for a low cost ticket? How can airlines recoup the cost of this disruption? Who do you think should pay the cost of returning passengers to the UK?

Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    Mmm, the volcano didn't disrupt anything, it just did what comes naturally. The disruption was caused by having an infrastructure that hasn't got a plan B. Instead of spending loads of hard earned cash on fancy offices in Brussels and ragbag constitutional documents, the EU should have been doing something useful. So I think it is high time these fat cat bureaucrats were hung out to dry. Make them give all the money back.

  • Comment number 2.

    Big business always expects someone else to pay.......are we suckers?

  • Comment number 3.

    Who should pay?

    The companies affected should bear the costs themselves, its nobodies fault, just nature .

    Who will pay?

    Whatever happens the costs to the airline will be passed on directly to future passengers.

    Worse case scenario the air companies successfully sue the government for closing British airspace, and, wait for it... the taxpayer foots the bill yet again.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not an easy one to answer...

    Nowadays we seem to have taken a leaf out of the Amercians book and want to blame everything on to someone. This is clearly something that couldn't be prevented or possibly forseen. However, Airlines and holiday companies have a legal, contractual obligation to get you from A to B, so at that level their customers should bear no cost. On the other hand, the airlines etc have been saying it was all blown out of proportion and was indeed, at least at times, quite save to fly. So, those who say it wasn't safe could be held ultimately resposible along with those who had the the power to stop the flights.

  • Comment number 5.

    What resumption? All of the airports are stuffed with planes, and yet nearly 14 hours after the resumption, there has hardly been a single flight into or out of most airports. The airlines and ground crew seem totally unprepared. I think we should know why.

  • Comment number 6.

    IATA, the tour operators but certainly NOT the government. Reading an article in todays Guardian it is obvious that the airline operators were NOT prepared to sign off on a figure for the amount of particles that were in the air that would still allow flights. They now pretend that it is all the governments fault where in fact it is the likes of Walsh from BA and others who actually stymied an agreement that would have kept aircraft flying.

  • Comment number 7.

    Who should pay for the volcanic disruption?

    God!

  • Comment number 8.

    The Volcano should pay.

  • Comment number 9.

    I expect that pretty soon someone will say the greedy bankers should pay. Yawn.

  • Comment number 10.

    Maybe Iceland should pay. Its their Volcano.

    Honestly. Nobody should pay. It just shows how obsessed with money we have all become.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Government, which means the General public, unfortunately should pay as it was their decision to rely on the so called experts and close the airspace, when the risk was frankly so small. The Government had a choice. Don't tell me it wasn't their decision as it was, they often ignore the experts when it suits then. For example the Drug advisor board. The decision to reopen the air space was theirs as well as they realised they could not keep it close indefinitely and therefore change the goalposts, when in reality the conditions are exactly the same today as they were on Thursday.
    We can not really expect the airlines to pick up the cost as they are all loss making at the moment, and some very close to going out of business. It is quite frankly silly to expect an airline to pick up the costs of a customer which with hotels etc could run into thousands of pounds, when the original ticket cost say £50. It just isn't substainable. The airlines did not choose not to fly and cause inconvience to all their customers, it was the Government owned NATS authority, with advice from the Met office which is also Government owned.

  • Comment number 12.

    Any one but taxpayers!

    I'm in favour of insurance companies otherwise what's the point of them?

  • Comment number 13.

    You can safely say that if there was a major disaster, the majority of people wouldn't cope. Its as though most people have been wrapped in cotton wool all their lives. One person interviewed explained the situation, "it's like being a refugee". The soldier at the docks in Spain said it perfectly and correctly. "If you haven't got the money, it's a harsh reality, but move on".

    They are all looking for some sort of compensation, especially the airlines. I think the government should say, "it's an act of god", like most of the passengers will be told when they try to claim on insurance.

    Put it this way. If that volcano becomes more active and then possibly affects the other volcano nearby, then you can safely say, we will have a major disaster on our hands then.

  • Comment number 14.

    if anyone should pay its the insurance companies, they charge enough for their premiums, and make vast profits. lf not them then the airlines should stand it. Volcanoes, are an occupational hazard and they too announce vast profits, so should have enough for the occasional losses.
    but as usual when massive companies who have vast wealth, and sharehoulders, who are only interested in profit, it will probably fall to the tax payer to bail them out, just in time before they once again announce vast profits ie banks,

  • Comment number 15.

    While it's reasonable that airlines pay to look after people when delays and upsets are caused by factors within their control, it's not reasonable to expect them to have to pay for issues outside their control when they too are suffering. If people are stupid enough not to take out adequate insurance and responsibility for themselves when travelling, why should they assume that there will always be someone else to molly-coddle them or give them a handout?

  • Comment number 16.

    Not the tax payer if the airlines have lost out pass the cost on to the customer they should not get any help from the goverments of the EU.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think the person in NATS who over-reacted and closed airspace for no valid reason should pay. He'll be easy to spot. He's the one with the red face.

  • Comment number 18.

    I know who will end up paying for the volcano disruption, we the British taxpayer just like we the British taxpayer ended up bailing out the banks!

  • Comment number 19.

    Before deciding who should pay we should determine why any payment is required.

    Customers have had their flights cancelled because it was determined as an 'act of god'.

    If so, no one down here can be held responsible, surely?

  • Comment number 20.

    The airlines should bear the cost themselves. Nobody is to blame for this natural event but the airlines should have had a contingency to put in place, a business continuity plan to implement when events of this type occur. The airlines had no effective plan B and cannot and should not place the blame elsewhere because they failed to prepare properly. The ban was put in place for safety reasons. Those who imposed the ban may well be criticised by the airlines but they would have been equally criticised if they failed to put a ban in place and accidents occured. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  • Comment number 21.

    Split the cost between Goldman Sachs and The Vatican.

  • Comment number 22.

    Act of God - may be the Pope will foot the bill.

  • Comment number 23.

    The Airline companies are the first in line to quote the "Act of God" scenario when refusing compensation claims from their customers who have had considerable extra expense with hotel bills, etc.

    These customers are tax payers who are in effect being asked by these airlines to compensate 'them' for extra expenses and losses because of the same "Act of God".

    Its about time the general public treat the airline companies request with a refusal and the contempt it deserves, and give a strong message that we are not as gullable as they seem to think we are!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Each individual affected should pay. It isn't the planes operators fault. It isn't the governments fault - so why should they pay? If you have decent insurance, then this will cover it (some insurances are covering this incident) if you have a cheaper policy, or didn't check the small print then you aren't covered. Your fault for not checking. No one elses. We really have become a 'blame' society expecting compensation for everything. Wake up everyone - IT WAS A VOLCANO! NO ONE IS RESPONSIBLE!!

  • Comment number 25.

    As the volcano's emissions are what the insurers would describe as an Act of God, nobody should be asked to bear the costs of sorting out the air traffic chaos.

    It is just one of those unfortunate occurrences, and those caught out of place at their own expense must realise that nobody asked them to go where they went. Maybe they'll think twice before jumping on a plane, contributing to environmental damage.

  • Comment number 26.

    The regulator should pay because it was not able to regulate correctly.

  • Comment number 27.

    Well I know one thing for certain. The insurance companies will fall back on their old get-out of anything line - 'Act of God'. But this time it really would be true.

    Just because a nasty thing has happened why has it got to be someones fault. Apportioning blame is a thankless task and everyone involved must accept it for what it is. I am sure the air-lines will soon recoup their losses the expense of its passengers.

    Flight insurance has so many loopholes written into the system I would think that very few members of the public will get back what they paid out whilst stranded.

  • Comment number 28.

    Insurance I would imagine, but doesnt this come under the heading 'act of God' so maybe the pope should pay.

    The one group of people who should NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PAY,are the British taxpayer.

    But no doubt Walsh, O'Leary and Branson are already plotting........

  • Comment number 29.

    7
    "Who should pay for the volcanic disruption?

    God!"

    Funnily enough, I think you'll find the religious people are generally absolutely sure that god exists, and we should all respect her and those who believe in her.

    However, when we ask for a bit of help, they don't seem quite so sure.

    But I think you're right.

    The pope's a bit tied up with the paedophile priest thing at the moment, but I'm sure he can add this one to his do-list, next time he's in touch with the Boss.


  • Comment number 30.

    For gods sake, its a natural disaster, If people globe trot around the world, they should take out the insurance that covers Natural disasters.(that should do it).

  • Comment number 31.

    A reminder to us all that we don't own the Planet, we are simply passengers on it.

  • Comment number 32.

    PS:Now people are blaming the goverment for the flight delays. As one who handled the flight controls of an aircraft, safety is paramount. What would these people be saying if one of these large aircraft with 500 people on board crashed as a result of engine failure due to being clogged up with ash. I expect they would say that the government should have stepped in and stopped the flights. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. What planet are these people living on.

  • Comment number 33.

    If this is an act of God... Shouldn't the Christians pay...?

  • Comment number 34.

    If the volcano eruption was indeed an act of god, as people tend to call these things, then surely the church should pay?

  • Comment number 35.

    No good asking the insurance companies to pay.

    In that instance we will all pay afterwards when premiums go sky-high. As would airline costs if they have to pay - end of the line for Ryanair and Easyjet, I would think.

    You cannot insure against everything. Looking back over my own many years of travel, much of it long-haul, I am surprised at really how little major disruption there has been. We live on a planet which for many of us, especially in Western Europe, has been relatively benign. It isn't realistic to expect it always to be so.

  • Comment number 36.

    '1. At 11:28am on 21 Apr 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:
    Mmm, the volcano didn't disrupt anything, it just did what comes naturally. The disruption was caused by having an infrastructure that hasn't got a plan B. Instead of spending loads of hard earned cash on fancy offices in Brussels and ragbag constitutional documents, the EU should have been doing something useful. So I think it is high time these fat cat bureaucrats were hung out to dry. Make them give all the money back.'

    Haha! OMG are you serious?! You're blaming the disruption caused by a freak act of nature on the European Union? SERIOUSLY? Now I have definitely heard it all.
    Insurance companies shouldn't be able to hide behind the 'act of god' excuse. They make millions from us and should pay out when it's needed, as in now.

  • Comment number 37.

    This was a predictable event: volcanoes go off. If that is going to disrupt their members businesses The International Air Travel Association should have insisted members have contingency plans. Bail outs are not a contingency plan.

    Political parties are all talking about cuts in public services. These cuts are partly driven by the huge hand out to the banks. So, the taxpayer can bail out the airlines and increase those cuts. This is the consequence of bailing out private businesses: there is less cash for public services.

    Alternatively the shareholders in the Airlines - the ones supposedly taking the risk on the business - could bail out the Airlines. It seems the Shareholders wish to be rewarded with dividends for risk taking and bail outs for risks realised. Win if they win and win if they lose.

    Having been caught out with no contingency plans and no insurance, the airlines expect the free market to stop being a free market and bail them out. Wishful thinking at best and against WTO treaties at worst.

    After years of publically owned enterprises being chastised and instructed in the need to "reform" and be "businesslike" we discover "businesslike" is sponging corporate welfare off the taxpayer. Businesses rise or fall by the market. When they start demanding special treatment it should be for good reason. Failing to plan for disaster recovery and business continuity is not good reason.

    The volcanic eruption was an event that the industry has planned for, by using models to investigate and so on and on. They have, however, failed to do the one thing that there is a duty for their boards to do: act upon the planning. Which seems to be the default thinking in the "free market" these days: understand the risks so that you can price your bail out.

    If they needed insurance for such an event, the taxpayer should not be underwriting it. There are better things to be done with taxes than prop up failed business. In much the same way as the NHS is claimed to be overstaffed, the Air Industry probably has too many carriers - not employees, but carriers. Their commercial responses to this - how they have failed to insure themselves - should give a good indication of what the Taxpayers response should be.

  • Comment number 38.

    The simple reality is that Airlines simply don't make much money any more and with the last few years seeing the end of organic growth for the industry shareholders will not invest in this space and a lot of the airlines we consider our stewards of the skies will not be here. The days of 10% profitability targets are gone.

  • Comment number 39.

    Maybe we can ask God to stump up the necessary!

    One thing is for sure - if we are to witness a further taxpayer funded bail-out for yet another privately owned industry - we should all safely assume we live in a corporate fascist society!

    Oh what joy - I love working hard, paying my taxes dutifully only to see it magically end up in the grasping podgy fat little hands of some shareholder, some idle rich parasite living in an off shore paradise! What absolute self esteem I derive from the knowledge that my daily selfless sacrifices serves to protect and increase the profits of privately owned enterprises! My My how these Business Leaders, these guru's of mystic materialism have conspired with the political cliques to discover the perfect recipe for alchemy - its called me and my money!!! HoHoHo

  • Comment number 40.

    Any one finding their insurance company refusing to pay out, should issue a winding up order against said company. Refusal to pay could be deemed as 'unable' to pay, therefore insolvent.

    Destroy the leeches!

  • Comment number 41.

    Some of the nonsense being spouted by those who have been returning beggars belief.

    Anywone would think that european countries don't have public transport! I cannot image why you would need to take a taxi from madird to Calais, or hire a car! Even Spain has trains, faster than ours actually, and everyone (well at least I thought everyone) knew that France has the TGV! All european rail networks have been laying on extra trains, even the french, assuming they weren't on strike of course.

    It's a complete lack of common sense, and resourcefulness that has lead people to run up stupidly high bills, and you really cannot expect the public purse to shell out - nor the airlines who did not cause the problem. Perhaps God should be asked to chip in, after all according to the insurance industry it is one of His acts that caused the problem!!

  • Comment number 42.

    You would think in this day and age they would be able to do something about this volcanic eruption. Why don't they stuff it up with bankers?

    Vanessa

  • Comment number 43.

    It's a natural occurrence. An unpleasant one but it happens. If those aeroplanes had flown and crashed would they have sued the government for not stopping them. It's all a bit ridiculous really. It's like ice cream vendors suing the government for a wet cold summer where they don't sell much. It happens.

  • Comment number 44.

    2. At 11:33am on 21 Apr 2010, Matt wrote:
    //Big business always expects someone else to pay.......are we suckers?//

    No - we are all victims of the conspiracy between the Corporate fascists and the Political Cliques!

    What fun! I just love being their slave......

  • Comment number 45.

    i think brown should pay if we had known years and years ago about planes not flying in the air when there is ash in the air maybe they could of done something to stop it being a problem to the planes in the first place shows again how man is behind the times

  • Comment number 46.

    Every business has to have contingency plans for emergencys, airlines make huge profits...they should take their losses out of that.

  • Comment number 47.

    Iceland should pay !

    And in addition I think that all the Icelanders need to now travel around Europe sweeping up all the volcanic dust that their Volcano created !

  • Comment number 48.

    You can't legislate for 'sheer bad luck' unfortunately. However, I'll certainly be checking the small print of any travel insurance from now on and making sure it covers for natural disasters.

  • Comment number 49.

    Insurance companies.

    This is exactly the sort of unforseen event that individuals take out travel insurance against, while any prudent business will also arrange insurance to cover their being unable to ply their trade due to circumstances outwith their control. Any airline which does not have such cover deserves to be out-of-pocket, particularly after September 2001 showed how vulnerable their industry is to knee-jerk reactions to terrorist outrages.

    The only use of 'public' - i.e. OUR - money should be to ensure the safe repatriation of our citizens who are unable to arrange their own return to our shores.

    Taxes are paid to enable the government to meet its own obligations, not those of insurance companies and airlines.

  • Comment number 50.

    When the airlines and insurance companies make huge profits, no one talks about them. Because that is expected? Now that there is a little problem, they should naturally bring out of the gains they’ve been making for years. Life isn’t a bed of roses. And volcanoes don’t happen every day. So, airlines and insurance companies should sort it out amongst themselves and stop passing the buck.

  • Comment number 51.

    Well there we have it...surprise surprise!

    As predicted, the airline companies who were losing millions of pounds a day have pressurised the European governments into changing the rules to allow them to fly again. The ash is still in the air above us, just the same as it was last week. The only thing that has changed is that the zero tolerance approach on volcanic ash, which still aplies in the USA bye the way, has been dropped in favour of now allowing planes to fly in ash clouds. So the safety rules which all airlines have adhered to for many years have just been re-written after a few days of 'tests'. All because of profits.

    What this really means is that airlines cannot now say there is 'no risk' but tell us that the risk is so small as being unlikely to affect engines. They refer to the engineers who have advised them it is safe. Who are these engineers who can carry out systematic and conclusive tests under these conditions in a matter of a few days? Surely the engines would need to be tested for a long number of hours before they can properly be considered as 100% safe.

    Unfortunately, the poor passengers are the ones acting as Guinea Pigs for the airlines right now.

    Oh, and let's not even mention compensation for airlines. If it's an act of god (as it was) then everyone involved, including passengers, must take their share of the loss. That is what insurance is for, or am I so cynical as to think the insrance industry will try to avoid this one?

  • Comment number 52.

    While people are suggesting the airlines or insurers should pay, what about the French railway pickets - been lots of complaints about ferry and car hire companies making money out of people's hardship - what about the pickets on the French railways while there is a massive backlog of travellers?

    If the pickets are adding to the misery, perhaps we should look to their unions to pay.

  • Comment number 53.

    These are private companies and are not part of a nationalised Industry. To interfere with private economics by using public money to bail out and compensate these companies is against the principles of private ownership.

    Their fortunes should rise and fall according to chance, good business practise and risk.
    Yes, some may go bankrupt and fail, but thats the natural order of business. I will be very annoyed if any public money is given as compensation for what is essentially a business risk.

  • Comment number 54.

    "The Volcano god of ICELAND"

  • Comment number 55.

    #11. At 11:57am on 21 Apr 2010, David wrote:
    The Government, which means the General public, unfortunately should pay as it was their decision to rely on the so called experts and close the airspace, when the risk was frankly so small. The Government had a choice. Don't tell me it wasn't their decision as it was, they often ignore the experts when it suits then. For example the Drug advisor board. The decision to reopen the air space was theirs as well as they realised they could not keep it close indefinitely and therefore change the goalposts, when in reality the conditions are exactly the same today as they were on Thursday.
    We can not really expect the airlines to pick up the cost as they are all loss making at the moment, and some very close to going out of business. It is quite frankly silly to expect an airline to pick up the costs of a customer which with hotels etc could run into thousands of pounds, when the original ticket cost say £50. It just isn't substainable. The airlines did not choose not to fly and cause inconvience to all their customers, it was the Government owned NATS authority, with advice from the Met office which is also Government owned.

    ------------------------------

    Just what else would you expect the Government to to do. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. I didn't hear David Cameron or Nick Clegg coming up with any other solutions, just moaning about the Government afterwards.

    Just how would you have felt if NATS had decided not to close UK Airspace (even though the rest of Europe was closed) and there had been several air crashes with many people losing their life. NATS, the Met office, Gordon Brown and the Government were acting in the interests of the Health and Safety of the travelling public.

    It is up to the Airlines, the Tour Companies and the Insurance Companies to sort out any 'out of pocket' expenses and compensation that might be due to the travellers that got caught up in this incident.

  • Comment number 56.

    if people bought travel insurance that covered natural disasters then the insurer will have to pay, if people didn't bother checking their insurance and find they are not covered for these advents then they will have to foot the bill, and as for the chancer's who dont bother with travel insurance they deserve all they get!

  • Comment number 57.

    Iceland is a known geologically active area even if the ash wasn't predicted. Are they trying to tell us that the airlines have never ever factored a suspension of flights before? Not even after 9/11? Not even as a mental exercise if nothing else? Why?

    I bet they will now which means the cost of flights will go up, so we will pay in the long run.

    The cost of physcial damage casued by hurrican Katrina was estimated at $81 billion. Who paid? The US Government and the insurers so why shouldn't Europe and the insurers pay for this? It doesn't help in the economic climate we're in I admit, but who else can?

    After all they are both acts of nature.

  • Comment number 58.

    it's Iceland's volcano, they should pay..

    18. At 12:06pm on 21 Apr 2010, Dr Malcolm Williams wrote:

    I know who will end up paying for the volcano disruption, we the British taxpayer just like we the British taxpayer ended up bailing out the banks!

    got your tin foil hat on today?

  • Comment number 59.

    #34. At 12:46pm on 21 Apr 2010, Reasoned Rants wrote:
    If the volcano eruption was indeed an act of god, as people tend to call these things, then surely the church should pay?

    --------------------

    Reminds me of the film called "The Man who sued God" starring Billy Connolly - a good film and he wins the case in the end!

  • Comment number 60.

    The airlines' insurance agents should pay.

    This wasn't a political decision, so it doesn't rest with the government(s), and if the Civil Aviation Authorities (of various countries) are forced to pay, that could compromise their judgement in future.

    So, if it's not the governments, and not the CAAs, that just leaves the airlines, and their insurance agents.

  • Comment number 61.

    I don't know but I think that for once, it was nice to see the lack of contrails in the sky :)

  • Comment number 62.

    "At 12:27pm on 21 Apr 2010, milvusvestal wrote:

    Maybe they'll think twice before jumping on a plane, contributing to environmental damage. "

    According to calculations from a BBC news program, someone who had to get home from Norway generated more or less exactly the same carbon footprint using two trains, a taxi and ferry as they would if they had flown home on the plane they were originally booked on.

  • Comment number 63.

    When our houses need repair and the insurance assesment states that it's an act of God and they are not willing to pay, then so is this. So the losses are because of an act of God and no claim available.

    But as we all know, our government will bow down to any business that already has surplus cash and fund it from taxes, so eventually we will pay. I wonder how many banks will make a claim or MP's coming home from their fully funded expense holiday.

  • Comment number 64.

    no one is going to pay because Gordon lost all our money

  • Comment number 65.

    When you consider that the air quality is so good today, and that the colour of blue sky is bluer than it's been for ages, I think the air line industry should be paying compensation to whichever household their planes are flying over - especially when stacked for coming into land.

    I happen to live under one of those stacks on the West Pennine moors, and I cannot believe the difference in air quality.

    Pre and Post 9/11 a survey in Los Angles showed a remarkable difference a few days of no aeroplanes can make to the atmosphere, and I would like to know if anyone has been studying the air quality since the ban on flights was imposed.

    Thank you Iceland, thank you volcano. Please continue to erupt and rid the skies of these air polluting planes.

    And before anyone has a go about this bad gas or that bad gas or whatever pollution, the biggest output of CO2 is what humans breath out, so consider reducing the worlds population. :-)

  • Comment number 66.

    The question should not be 'who' should pay but 'who will' pay for this.

    Chances are it will be me & you & we won't have a say in the matter.

  • Comment number 67.

    No one. It is the individuals responsibility.
    It definately should NOT fall on the tax payer.

  • Comment number 68.

    #29. At 12:37pm on 21 Apr 2010, Apple-Eater wrote:
    7
    "Who should pay for the volcanic disruption?

    God!"

    “Funnily enough, I think you'll find the religious people are generally absolutely sure that god exists, and we should all respect her and those who believe in her.

    However, when we ask for a bit of help, they don't seem quite so sure.

    But I think you're right.

    The pope's a bit tied up with the paedophile priest thing at the moment, but I'm sure he can add this one to his do-list, next time he's in touch with the Boss.”

    Hehe

    Well the point I was trying to make was who else is going to take responsibility? You can’t blame the air safety authority; they were simply doing their jobs. You can’t blame the Icelandic government; it wasn’t their fault their volcano erupted. And you can’t blame the volcano itself, unless you’re planning to charge the expenses to the volcano’s account, give it a telling off and send it to bed without any supper?

    Since so often these things get classed as “an act of god” then if god exists he can bloody well get down here and pay for the trouble he’s caused, otherwise no one can be called up for blame!

  • Comment number 69.

    I was due to have a long weekend in France but it was cancelled due to the ash cloud.

    Currently my insurance company are refusing to pay and it's been impossible to get in touch with the tour operator as their phone line is either engaged or out of order - and I have been trying to contact them since Thursday.

    For all those people saying it's my fault for not getting adequate insurance, would you feel the same if you had saved up all year to have 1 long weekend holiday and it was cancelled? No-one seems willing to help and I can't afford to just write off the money I paid for the holiday. In the current economic climate I don't imagine many people could.

    What is the point of buying travel insurance if you're not covered by it when things go wrong?

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm waiting on someone to blame Israel or America, I know it won't be long.
    What utter stupidity Call it Mother Nature, Call it an Act of God, Blame it on the same entity causing Global Warming and your off to a good start. If all these airlines and the nations that sanction them did not plan for an occasional Volcanoe, Earthquake, or Mega Storm then perhaps their business model was flawed.

  • Comment number 71.

    God

  • Comment number 72.

    No one is to blame. No one is to recoup for losses. No one could predict volcanic eruption. Why should any institution recoup for money loss? Just to ponder over: would it be better if airline companies continued flights? What if volcanic ash really damaged airplanes? Then we could have a discussion who should pay not only for natural phenomenon but also for passengers’ life endangering…

  • Comment number 73.

    Simple, the insurance companies should, not Governments aka the tax payers.

  • Comment number 74.

    No one, i was in the moors on sunday and saw a beautiful un blemished blue sky and the best british countryside, and thank the volcano for a few days pollution free! marvellous, just a shame this country went in to meltdown while i was enjoyin it! to busy looking for someone to blame! oh wait there goes someone with brown skin and a beard, but i guess you've blamed them enough this year! try the eastern european!

  • Comment number 75.

    That's easy. A combination of insurance companies and airlines.

    If some airlines go to the wall because of this then that is OK. There is too much capacity in the industry anyway.

  • Comment number 76.

    Yet another huge bill to be paid by the tax payer for the benefit of big business... probably!

  • Comment number 77.

    The volcano should pay.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why should anyone pay. You take a trip abroad or at home, you take the risk. During all the travel by road disruption caused by the snow in January, did the government pay my additional costs associated with not being able to get home - No. And I didn't expect them to. Live with it, stop complaining and think of it as an experience.

  • Comment number 79.

    Simple. God.

  • Comment number 80.

    Some folks here say that this was an Act of God. If that is the case then go to the churches for a refund. It is the churches who represent God.

  • Comment number 81.

    I'm sorry to say, but this was NOT the airlines fault. This was an act of God. These things happen. With that being said, I think it would be a wonderful gesture on the airlines part to either refund some money or give a fly-voucher for the next trip. As for airlines recouping their loss, we know how it'll be handled - ticket prices will go up once again. I wish all stranded a speedy return home and a safe trip.

  • Comment number 82.

    Iceland - it's their volcano and they are responsible for it.

    Seriously it must be the airlines or, if they were sensible and have taken out insurance against delays oputside of their control,their insurance companies. It has nothing to do with anyone else. They are commercial companies and they and their investors need to accept the risks associated with a commercial venture.
    If Govs start bailing them out and protecting their shareholders are they going to be doing the same for car companies when the oil runs out or if OPEC ceased all exports? Are they going to bail out manufacturers if demand for their product falls? If the Gov bails out the airline because of a natural disaster then they should do the same for householders which would there would be no need for house insurance.

    Commercial company commercial risk OR the same bail out rule for everyone including the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 83.

    Iceland, it's their volcano! Oh, hang on, what about the wind that blew the ash?

    Seriously. Don't people have insurance when they travel? Don't airlines have insurance to cover loss of earnings? Oh, yeah, it's expensive, you have to pay for it!

    Maybe we have had too much, too cheap, travel for too long. Life is risky, business is risky, rushing everywhere is risky. If we were all paying the true cost of the risks we take perhaps there wouldn't be so many people taking so many flights to so many far flung parts of the world. Maybe there would be fewer people making more comfortable and leisurely journeys which would of course cost a lot more and require more time. Seeing the world on a budget isn't a God given right.

  • Comment number 84.

    Insurance companies should pay (assuming those affected were insured, otherwise it's just tough luck). Isn't that what they're there for?

    Mind you, no doubt they'll pull their usual tricks to avoid paying. I expect we'll see them pointing to clauses in the small print saying something such as "volcanic eruptions from any volcano with more than 8 letters in its name are excluded".

  • Comment number 85.

    Insurers should pay. That's what they're there for, right?

  • Comment number 86.

    Ever since this wretched volcano blew its top, I've been blowing mine!!

    This is a natural phenomenon & it isn't anybody's fault that it happened. It seems to me that our society has become so sanitised & so (falsely) safe that people are totally incapable of dealing with any situation that is beyond their everyday mundane existence.

    For example, the media & their bleeding heart stories about people who are "trapped" abroad when all they want to do is get back to Blighty (sob). It has turned it into the equivalent of some kind of warzone, where the innocent civilians have to be evacuated by any means.

    The authorities are blamed for stopping flights; can you imagine the reaction if they had allowed flights & there was an accident? They just can't win, can they.

    I'm sorry for people who are stranded, sure, but let's get things into some perspective.

  • Comment number 87.

    I strongly feel the tax payers should not be paying for a natural disaster. We shouldn't be bailing out companies of any sort. They're a profit making business and should manage their own money for times like these, not expect others to manage it for them.

    In the past its not been usual practice for insurance companies to payout for claims under natural disasters.

    I am thankful that the Volcano eruption did not have the same impact like the Haiti incident and the Tsunami in Thailand where there were loss of lives. Losing a relative or friend is more painful than flight cancellations.

    A natural disaster should not be turned into a political circus neither.

  • Comment number 88.

    Send the bill to God. It is supposed to be his handiwork. Of course, you might not collect.

  • Comment number 89.

    Isn't this what travel insurance is for?

  • Comment number 90.

    If anyone should pay it is the aviation industry, definitely not Governments!

    Since the near-disasterous BA flight on 1982, it was understood that a substantial risk existed if a flight few through ash. The industry, however decided to adopt the cheapest safe solution at the time: 'Zero Tolerance'.

    Had they decided to invest in research into what might be a safe level when that policy was adopted, far less airspace might have been closed, and for a shorter period.

    It is only because the cloud was in the busiest airspace in the world and giving it a wide berth was not feasible that the industry came together and discussed what would be safe. This is only the start of a long road. More than 0.002g per minute may be safe, maybe that limit is too high in the long-term.

    If they were happy about the limit, close inspections of the engines before and after every flight through contaminated air would not be necessary. Even now, the airlines are asking us to be passengers on test flights!

    In business you take risks every day. Every risk is identified and its likelihood and severity are examined. Control measures are identified to reduce the severity or likelihood. The airlines could have driven research into control measures that were less disruptive, but they decided that the likelihood and severity of an incident made that research too expensive. Their losses are largely due to their continuous short-sighted persiut of profit.

    The more businesses that are compensated by Governments for events they should have protected or insured themselves against, the more risks they will take.

    Businesses must grow up and stand on their own feet or it is right and proper that they should go to the wall.

  • Comment number 91.

    Raising the airfare could be the possibility, I see no other option to cover up the losses.

    If they need a bailout, also give them enough Parachute's to do that right.

    No doubt, English Channel will be over-crowded.

  • Comment number 92.

    We are a blame & claim nation, flying is a luxury.

    You shouldn't fly/travel without insurance for this reason. The insurance should be the ones to pay.

    It isn't the governments fault and it isn't the airlines. How much did we pay to get the Navy to collect tourists and travelers? £1000s. Why should the government fork out anymore?! The airline should help in a reasonable way to get people back, but they shouldn't put prices up and I don't see any reason why they should put on coaches/ferries.

    If you don't have insurance or holiday was ATOL protected, then tough luck, you won't travel again without it will you?

  • Comment number 93.

    The bankers should pay, even though it is not their fault but then the finantial crash was not ours.

  • Comment number 94.

    Shouldnt the insurance comapnies pay out? After all that is what insurance is about.

    Fine it may be an "Act of God" but the fact is they are more than happy to take our money but just want wiggle room when they should rightfully pay out. If the events were outside my control then I expect them to pay out!! Simples!

  • Comment number 95.

    Gordon Brown should pay personally. It was his dithering and ineptitude which led to the ban being unnecessarily extended. If he cared about this country rather than electioneering (to keep him in work) vital decisions might have been taken earlier and it was only Willie Walsh calling his bluff that put matters right. Furthermore, I suspect Labour wanted to release some good news before revealing the highest unemployment figure in our history.

  • Comment number 96.

    #33 Andy said "If this is an act of God... Shouldn't the Christians pay...?"

    Why? Who said it was MY god what dunnit? Given the volcano's location, if any deities were involved, ones like Thor and Vulcan are much more likely suspects.

  • Comment number 97.

    Nakor wrote:

    "The cost of physcial damage casued by hurrican Katrina was estimated at $81 billion. Who paid? The US Government and the insurers so why shouldn't Europe and the insurers pay for this? It doesn't help in the economic climate we're in I admit, but who else can?"

    Have you seen the state that the New Orleans remain in? "Acts of "God"" insurance clauses typify how cynical insurers can be, particularly when dealing with the cheaper bargin insurers, that most of the less wealthy residents rely on. The US government have always been "broke", and the entire army spent to Afghanistan and Iraq, leaving little coverage in response to that natural disaster.

    It's stark contrast to our situation, where the natural disaster didn't even happen in our country, and neither did it ruin peoples lives and homes. Truth is, purely insurers and not government should recompense for this situation, so I partially agree on this. However, the flight ban in the UK bares little parallels to Hurricane Katrina and the disaster that was New Orleans.

  • Comment number 98.

    It is the airlines that makes the profits, then they are the ones who should also eat the losses. I do not see why any of the airlines needs to be bailed out, it looks like the bigger the business the more liability on the shoulders of the common tax payers. Weather is a factor and so are other calamities in this world, every one doing business will have to be prepared for it in economic terms and in human comfort terms. Most recently airlines have lost all sympathy with the public by charging, over charging and continue to plug in new charges to the original price of the tickets, these greedy birds of the sky should also remember that the public will opt out of flying if they keep their greed unchecked.

  • Comment number 99.

    'Who should pay for volcano disruption'? caused to air travel. CERTAINLY NOT TAX-PAYERS OR LAWYERS!

    This volcano had great timing when so many families were on half-term break which added to the 'bulge in passenger volume?! We have to accept this is a fairly 'unique' situation - heavy air travel dependence combined with Nature event - over a very congested European airspace?

    Airlines: Should pass on cost via fares and claim from their own insurance company. It's not the price of the fare by the way - 'low cost' airlines have a contract with the passenger in law, and these airlines make great profits. The shareholders have to take the bad times as well as the good times like any other business.

    Insurance companies: should pay for those insured.

    Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, snow, fog etc., ground airlines all over the world all year round for safety reasons. Why should a volcanic ash cloud dispersed by weather patterns be any different?

    A LOT OF BAD-WILL has been created in a very short-time. THE BIG WINNERS WILL BE DECENT TRAVEL COMPANIES, DECENT INSURANCE COMPANIES, DECENT AIRLINES AND DECENT PEOPLE WHEN REAL STORIES REACH THE MEDIA.

  • Comment number 100.

    33. At 12:45pm on 21 Apr 2010, Andy wrote:
    If this is an act of God... Shouldn't the Christians pay...?

    Ah, but which God was it? Was it the Christian's god, Allah or the Jewish God? It wasn't Buddha!

 

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