Flight disasters – cancellations, volcanic ash and over size

Gunung Agung volcano, Bali, http://www.visitedplanet.com

I am currently sitting in Jakarta airport waiting for a flight to Kuala Lumpur. We’re lucky the flight is leaving at all because of all the volcanic ash thrown up by the erupting Mt Merapi.

Unlike the Eyjafallajoekull volcano that erupted in March this year that grounded flights right across Europe, this one fortunately hasn’t caused too much disruption. Even US President Barack Obama managed to still keep to his scheduled visit earlier this week. It was kind of fun to be with him here, although traffic was worse than usual – although when is it not bad in Jakarta?

Anyway the likelihood of a problem with this flight has led me to contemplate all the problems I’ve had with flights over the years. When you travel a lot, the chance of a mishap increases. Here’s a few of my flight-related tales:
1. Overcharged for luggage
…by Ryan Air 70 euro because I had two hand luggage items instead of one. You are allowed only one bag but it can weigh up to 10kg. Mine in total weighed 8kg but I was charged because I had more than one – them’s the rules on Ryan Air. I do recommend you read the fine print! Easily solved on the next flight – bought a bigger bag that would fit both small bags inside.

2. Date confusion
Almost missed a flight out of Bali because it left just after midnight, which is really the evening of the night before! Realized the day of the flight and quickly changed accommodation reservations and got to the airport.

3. No credit card – no flight!
My brother was not allowed to depart from an Asian airport because he could not produce the credit card he had booked the flight with – it was in luggage he had posted a few days earlier.

4. Bankrupt airline
What are the odds? Swiss Air went bankrupt the day of a flight from London to New Delhi. Fortunately I saw the news on the television moments before departing for Heathrow and I was able to ring the travel agent who booked it who got me on another flight about three days later.

5. A close call
Almost missed a flight from Bristol to Dublin because one of our party had to return our hire car and almost missed checkin. The budget airline desk, Ryan Air or EasyJet, was threatening to close the desk but fortunately another passenger arrived at that moment to checkin and during the 5 mins or so they spent with them, our other travelling partner arrived. Phew.

Have you got a bad flying tale? Feel free to send it in.


Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at blog@vipbackpackers.com


2 thoughts on “Flight disasters – cancellations, volcanic ash and over size

  1. We’ve mixed up that time thing quite often – we missed one flight, and realized very late in the day on another, what a drama that was then getting to the airport on time. If the flight leaves in the early hours of the morning you’re best to think of it as being the night before!

  2. I’ve been charged for overweight – haven’t we all. It’s so much better when you don’t bring much stuff anyway but I’m a surfer and have to have my boards. Some airlines are really unhelpful about them or charge you extra morre because of the size than the weight. You can’t really transport them on buses and trains in Europe anyway. Asia is fine of course, you can get them into a taxi or whatever. I guess in Europe you could also hire a car.

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