Saturday, June 18, 2011

Volcano Didn't Blow the Vacation

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in London when the first reports of Iceland’s volcanic eruption flashed across the television screen. I suppose we should have started fretting about the affect it might have on our flight home – via Iceland – later in the week. 

You know us better than that by now:  we started thinking that we might have to stay in Europe longer: Tough duty! 

cretan peoplenplaces 002 Meanwhile in Greece, our friends, Bill and Val Kitson were trying to return to England. . .and this is their story:





ICELAND ERUPTS - AGAIN! 

Having lost 10 days of our holiday to the volcanic ash cloud last year, we couldn’t believe it when our travel plans were disrupted again. This time it was the return journey, however, and the delay was only 24-hours.

Having said that, we were uncertain whether or not the flight was going until check-in time at the Heraklion, Crete airport.

Having learned that nobody was flying to Newcastle that night, our next concern was, what would happen during the delay?

As independent travelers, we had booked “flight only” on a plane carrying mostly package holidaymakers. They would be catered for, but what of the independents?
crete 2010 003 We needn’t have worried.

We were with Thomas Cook, the oldest travel agents in the world. Instead of a night in the Crete airport lounge, we were taken by coach to a resort complex twenty minutes away to Gouves Park Resort complex, an all-inclusive center catering for mostly family holidays.

Although it was way past the normal hour, a buffet-style evening meal awaited us. Then we checked in to a comfortable ground floor room. Because of the distance from reception, there was a golf buggy to take our luggage. Breakfast and lunch next day were provided, and when we returned to the airport, we were at last able to set off home, even though we’d a wait while they sorted a small technical problem with the plane.

On arrival at Newcastle, we were handed a letter by Thomas Cook’s representative, confirming details of the delay, should we wish to claim on our insurance. Although some travelers might have had to do this, with connecting flights, or lost working time, as all we’d had to pay for was one glass of beer and one glass of wine, we didn’t think it worth bothering!

Full marks to the Thomas Cook team at Heraklion airport and the staff at Gouves Park Resort, for turning what could have been a highly stressful experience into a relaxed end to the holiday.

Note:  Click the link to read an article that outlines EU airline responsibilities in event Mother Nature vents her pent up steam.

To those of you wanting to find Bill Kitson’s novels: go to the Amazon carousel on our home page and click on either of his books to get to the full list.

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