Two families on a European cruise called Grant Road-based Bhatija Travels on Monday to check if they could cut short the holiday after they heard about flight disruptions across Europe caused by the second wave of volcanic ash.
This is the second such disruption in less than a month. Air traffic was paralysed for about a week from April 14 leaving several lakh people stranded and leading to losses worth billions.
“The group has two days’ stay booked in London as part of the travel package but they want to come back as soon as the cruise ends,” said Anup Kanuga, who owns Bhatija Travels.
European airports shut over the weekend reopened on Monday but many panicked travellers called travel agents in Mumbai to inquire about tickets.
On Sunday, 300 flights were grounded in Milan, Portugal, while 39 and 30 flights were cancelled in Lisbon and Turin respectively. In France, airspace remained open, but 70 flights bound for southern Europe were grounded at airports in Paris, Lyon, and Nice. Flights to London were not affected.
Unlike the disruptions last month, an erratic wind pattern in Europe since Saturday is making travel outside Europe more uncertain because airport across the continent were frequently shut down and re-opened.
“Last time fliers could check flight status from hotels because the whole aerospace was shut. Now they have to be on their toes because flights are either cancelled or clubbed at the last minute,” said Rajesh Rateria, cha-irman (western region) Travel Agents Association of India.
Flights arriving in the city from the US were running two to three hours behind schedule because aerospace managers advised airlines to take a longer route to avoid volcanic ash.
All transatlantic flights operated by Air India and Jet Airways to Indian cities were running late because they have been taking a longer route.
As a result airlines have additional fuel costs but they are yet to decide on whether that will affect fares.