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Light at the End of the Tunnel for Europe?April 19, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox
In a beacon of hope for travelers to and from Europe, Lufthansa has announced that it will operate 50 long-haul flights with aircraft currently located abroad, to Germany. Those aircraft will take off from their respective locations in Asia, North and South America as well as Africa in the next hours. Of the 50 flights, 27 are planned today from North America to Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf, with arrivals in Germany tomorrow. In addition, Lufthansa will operate some flights from Germany to select long haul destinations, as well as some flights between Frankfurt, Munich and select German destinations. Only those passengers holding a confirmed booking for flights departing today are asked to go to the airport. Due to the current uncertain status of connecting flights, passengers will only be transported to Germany. Relevant visa requirements will therefore apply.
NASA image of ash cloud by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
Thousands of North Americans are still stranded overseas following the cancellation of numerous flights affected by the volcanic ash cloud. Many travelers desperate to get home are searching for alternative routes home, with flight site Skyscanner reporting a leap in flight searches to and from the European airports surrounding the periphery of the worst-affected areas.
There has been a 3,000 percent jump in searches for Stavanger airport in Norway, while Spain’s Madrid airport saw figures rise by 1,800 percent. The number of people searching for flights from Portuguese airports has also increased dramatically: with Faro airport rising by almost 800 percent and Lisbon airport by almost 600 percent.
According to the site, 31 percent of travelers believe that the flight-ban should be lifted. Over 300 people voted in a poll on the Skyscanner site this morning (April 19) in the wake of news that several European airlines have flown successful test flights through part of the volcanic ash cloud. While the majority of travelers would rather wait for the ash to clear from air traffic control, many would still fly if the airlines believe it is safe.
Other Ways Across the Pond
For those not willing to wait for an open flight across the Atlantic, CruiseCompete offers Transatlantic cruises. CruiseCompete is a competitive-quote travel website, which saves travelers time as all cruise lines are available and can be shopped at once. For updated information on travel options, visit AllThingsCruise.com.
Most Transatlantic cruises are currently sold out, with a few cabins available or possible wait listing. Crossing from one side of the Atlantic to the other can take anywhere from six to eight days, although longer cruises are available.