Many city families leaving for a vacation in the US in the near future are avoiding flights operating via Europe as volcanic ash clouds grounded 250 flights in Europe on Tuesday.
Travel agents said that people are either opting for a non-stop flight between Mumbai and New York or flying via Dubai.
“Air India’s non-stop flights to New York and Chicago are the best options. Gulf carriers such as Qatar Airways, Emirates that fly via Dubai are also a good alternative,” said Anup Kanuga from Bathija Travels.
Tour operators said that vacationers are sceptical about booking European carriers that operate US-bound flights with stopovers at cities such as London, Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels. Ash clouds resulting from the eruption of Iceland’s most active volcano Grimsvotn last week are likely to disrupt air traffic in the UK, France and Spain by Wednesday, added airline sources.
“We are also getting many inquiries for airlines operating in the north of the Atlantic such the Malaysian Airlines and Cathay Pacific,” said Jay Bhatia, western region chairman, Travel Agents Association of India.
On Tuesday, flights to London operated as per schedule from Indian metros. Mumbaiites currently holidaying in Europe were forced to make changes to their itineraries.
“Our flight from Scotland to London was cancelled. But, British Airways booked train tickets for us,” said Lalit Parwani, a city-based businessman. Panic calls from travellers kept travel agents occupied for the second consecutive day.