Posted: 2010-06-01 00:45:00
I hope you are well. Let me see if I can help...
First of all, the Eyafjoell Volcano is no longer erupting, so we do not anticipate any more volcanic ash disruption. Until, of course, it erupts again or worse, its neighbour the Ketla Volcano suddenly erupts. The Ketla is about 10 times larger and often erupted after the Eyafjoell.
Second, if you are flying via London, which is in the EU, the airline has to provide assistance as required by the EU law (Regulation [EC]261/2004 with later amendments) - see the link below:
How much assistance they need to provide depends on the length of the delay, and if you are travelling with a carrier that has its headquarters or main operations in the EU, from or to an EU airport. If you are travelling with a non-EU airline then these rules will not apply. And you would need to see what your airline is offering.
If you are travelling on an EU carrier, then if you are stuck in London and/or Cairo, then the airline will have to provide you with free meals, phonecalls and accommodation. Or refund you for the entire ticket and take you back to the point of origin, if you decide not to continue to travel. I am guessing that from Cairo you might be travelling on an African airline. Reputable African airlines (including Egypt Air, Ethiopian and Kenya Airways) are excellent in taking care of stranded passengers, they provide meals and high quality accommodation. Even the domestic airlines in Africa are much better than any US carrier I had been on.
If you are stuck in London for a few hours, then you can come to have a peek at the city. If you are travelling via LHR, then I would not recommend leaving the airport if your delay is shorter than 4 hours, if via LGW - shorter than 5 hours, if via STN - shorter than 5.5 hours. And that would leave you with about 2-3 hours on the city. Not much, but you could catch a glimpse of Westminster and perhaps West End.
Third, if you are travelling on British Airways, then it is possible that you might get delayed due to industrial actions (strike) and complications for a few days following the end of the actions. There is currently a 5 day strike going on, and two other 5 day strikes are planned to take place within a few weeks.
Fourth, if you are delayed for a few days (extremely unlikely, unless a volcano erupts again), then the only route you could take is south to France or Belgium via Eurostar train or a ferry, and try your luck from Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam in Holland (v good connections with Africa - Kenyan are a subsidiary of KLM, so excellent links to Kenya). But if ash happened again, trains and ferries would be extremely busy.
[edited by krisek at 2010-06-01 00:45]
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