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Friday, 5 September 2014 12:00 AM

Holiday Interruption Due To Volcanic Ash

Don’t panic, a volcano in Iceland may be currently active but there’s no sign of ash plumes such as occurred in 2010 that affect flights, so enjoy your holiday to Morocco.

From 14 to 20 April 2010 Eyjafjallajokull, a volcano in Iceland, erupted sending volcanic ash into the atmosphere. The ash cloud migrated south into much of the airspace of Europe forcing the closure of much of its airspace. This affected around 100,000 flights and 10 million travellers, including holiday flights to Morocco.

There has been recent seismic activity in 2014 in Iceland with several hundred earthquakes recorded around the volcano Bardarbunga. Although this activity has only to date led to lava flows rather than ash plumes, it is useful to know your rights so that you can be confident that your holiday to Morocco is safe if events do take an unexpected and unwelcome turn in future.

Cancellations or Delays In Flights To Morocco

Cancellations or delays in flights if within or starting or ending in the EU/ EEA for events such as volcanic activity should be covered in 2 categories – where you have yet to start your holiday (it occurs before you depart); and where you are on holiday (waiting to return).

Before Your Holiday To Morocco Starts

Where you have yet to start your holiday, due to the extraordinary circumstances of the event causing the delay or cancellation, you are not entitled to the compensation for a “long delay” (of more than 3 hours); however, under EU rules (regulation (EC) 261/2004) you are entitled to claim a welfare package (including food and drink and accommodation if overnight) if significantly delayed; or a refund or rebook your flight for another date if cancelled – which you would contact your flight company directly about.

Your travel insurance may (some holiday insurance covers such events, some do not) allow you to reclaim any sums paid to accommodation if that accommodation will not repay you (their own Terms and Conditions will apply, along with their goodwill) but, if you have booked through Naturally Morocco, we will usually be able to work with your accommodation to hold over your booking for an alternative holiday date.

Before You Come Back From Morocco

Where you are waiting in Morocco to return from your holiday, under EU rules (regulation (EC) 261/2004) the flight company has a duty of care to you and is liable to provide accommodation and basic sustenance during your delay (even though an exceptional circumstance).

In the case of the 2010 events this caused the flight companies to incur huge costs that they were unhappy in accepting, but they had to accept. In practice some significant flight companies provided accommodation for their customers, others did not and customers had to claim for reasonable costs on their return direct from their flight company. Where customers did not accept the offer of accommodation from the flight company, those customers could not then later claim for additional costs incurred; those customers that tried to travel overland home also absolved the flight company of their responsibility – hence, if it happens again, put yourself in the hands of the flight company if you do not want to incur personal costs.