One year on and still out of pocket from the volcanic ash crisisInsurance claims hit and miss

15 April 2011


In April 2010 two million travellers had their plans disrupted due to the volcanic ash crisis in Iceland, but Which? is disappointed to find one year on, some travellers are still out of pocket.

Between 15–20 April 2010 European airports were forced to close after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Some travellers made alternative journeys home, extended their stays or had to cancel plans.

Natural disaster or extreme weather?

Opinion on whether the crisis was a natural disaster or an instance of extreme weather differs across the travel industry. Some insurance providers will cover flight disruption and cancellation caused by volcanic eruptions, others will not. Other policies are open to interpretation, which is causing problems with consumers' claims.

Delays in compensation are disappointing considering insurance companies and airlines have had a year to process the back log of requests.

Which? Travel's Rochelle Turner says: 'any person would feel it's quite ridiculous that it has taken a year to sort this out. Why it has taken this long, I have no idea.'

Complaining to the Financial Ombudsman Services

Advice for travellers still awaiting compensation is not to give up. If you have exhausted your insurance company's internal complaints procedure, or have been waiting for over eight weeks for the complaint to be resolved, you can escalate the issue to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Still out of pocket?

We've outlined the steps to obtaining compensation and provided template letters to draft your complaint. Read our advice on

  • for travel costs incurred as a result of the volcanic ash crisis.
  • Taking your complaint to an ombudsman.