So there we were in North Italy, looking at a computer screen with the latest reports of the volcanic ash spreading over Europe.... We were to drive back to Belgium on Saturday, and on Sunday I was to take a flight back to Rome. On Tuesday morning, I am scheduled to fly from Rome, back to the Dominican Republic.
On Friday, the airspace above most of Northern Europe was closed. Just to be on the safe side, we decided Tine would drive back to Belgium with the kids, and I would take a flight from Bolzano to Rome, just to make sure I would be back in time for my flight to the Dominican. I booked the flight to Rome in the evening.
On Saturday morning, the hotel owner told me all flights from North Italy would be cancelled too, so I booked a rental car from Bolzano airport. By the time we got to the airport, they confirmed all flights out of Bolzano were cancelled. There were already people sitting around the airport trying to figure out what to do. A couple trying to get back to England, were to take the train to Munich, and then... "Well, once in Munich, we will see how we can get to one of the Channel crossing points", they said. I drove the 400 miles to Rome and Tine drove the 600 miles to Belgium.
Arriving in Rome, I dropped the car at the Hertz office in Fiumicino airport. I took a look around the airport, and seeing all the flight cancellations, and the hundreds of people queueing up to rebook their flights, it looked like we took the right decision to drive.
By the time I got in my apartment and had a look on the Internet, Brussels Airlines had already cancelled all flights until Monday... at least. We will see if I can fly to the Dominican on Tuesday. It seems the volcanic ash cloud is spreading all the way to Rome now...
On Humanitarian News, you can find the latest news articles on the volcanic ash spreading.
The NY Times has a good overview on the EU airport status.
As many airport and airline websites are melting under the heavy traffic, to track flights, and flights' status, use FlightStats instead.