So as the end of my semester in London wrapped up I was getting excited for my next big backpacking trip. A friend and I booked a trip starting in Paris, then hitting Toulouse, Madrid and ending with a week of surfing in Morocco… Unfortunately thanks to the volcano that no one can pronounce, we made it as far as Toulouse before we had to turn around.
We sat there in the Toulouse airport (Easy Jet had just canceled the Toulouse-Madrid flight) trying to figure out any possible way to get down to Morocco in two days. We looked at trains, ferries, buses, and extra flights in and out of the Toulouse airport (which weren’t guaranteed to fly anyways). With a barrage of one way plane tickets, our plans were a total nightmare to stitch back together so we opted to try for London. At least we figured we’d be in a city we knew, and if the Spanish and Moroccan airports suddenly reopened, chances were we’d be able to jump a quick flight down and make part of the surfing weekend.
So we dropped 120 euro on a flight back to London (thank you Visa) and after a two-hour delay and a further 50 minutes waiting for the takeoff queue, we were finally airborne back to the UK. After swallowing several ibuprofen to ease our throbbing headaches, we lugged our stuff onto the Gatwick Express train and trudged back into central London. We were five days into our two week trip, and we were not happy.
I kept telling myself that it could be worse. Way worse. I talked to a British couple in the Toulouse airport who were stuck there for three days trying to get back. Budget airlines like Ryan air and Easy Jet aren’t super great about refunds, and they certainly won’t help you with any extra food or accommodation charges you accrue while being stuck. Some travel experts are expecting these delays and disruptions to last up to 18 months. London airports are now closed and expecting delays until Tuesday and most flights to Ireland, the and some to USA were canceled. I’m due to fly out from Heathrow back to the states on Wednesday, but with the ash shaking up Europe like this, there’s no telling when I’ll get home… on the upside, I’m “stuck” in one of my favorite cities in the entire world until further notice! I’ll take that.