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Situated in the middle of Southeast Asia is Indonesia, an archipelago nation the includes the island of Bali, synonymous with tropical cocktails, private luxury villas, and people with smiles as warm as the temps. There is one thing that can throw a wrench in the enjoyment of all of this paradise, however: a sleeping volcano that awakens.
That's just what happened late last week on the main island of Java, when Mount Kelud woke from its dormancy and began spewing ash, rock, and smoke into the sky. History has proved an issue for air travel when there's any type of ash in the atmosphere, so naturally planes were grounded across the region, even as far south as Australian flights en route to Bali, the Cocos Islands, and Christmas Island.
Oh heck—here we go with another big ash problem. This time it’s some volcanic activity down in Mexico that’s creating the problems, as Popocatepetl is the one messing up the atmosphere this time. This sucker is kind of half way between spots like Mexico City and Puebla, so if you have flights in or out of the area just be aware.
The delays and cancellations were all over the place last week, as carriers like Delta, United, American Airlines, and US Airways all had to mess with their schedules to accommodate the stuff up in the skies. At one point there were around 40 flights cancelled on just one day, so Popocatepetl is certainly less than friendly.
In case you missed it, over the weekend there was explosion over in Cleveland—but don’t worry—it wasn’t that Cleveland.
Apparently it’s time again for the annual volcanic eruption, and that means potential disruption to air travel. This time the ash and smoke is doing its thing up in Alaska, as the Cleveland volcano is getting a little cranky.
In case you want to know where to look for the troublemaker on the map, this volcano is roughly 940 miles southwest of Anchorage, stuck on Chuginadak Island within the Aleutian chain of islands.
We live in a travel world where, for better or worse, Jaunted maintains categories for volcanoes and for volcano travel, to say nothing of our originally lighthearted but eventually kind of depressing big ash problems tag. Every January we wait the first eruption-driven airline cancellations of year. On particularly bad years we've even been known to slip into theological spculation about which gods exactly travelers pissed off.
Aside from angering volcano deities, there are also more mundane explanations for why travelers, every year, get stuck in airports because of volcanoes. A lot of those reasons have as much to do with badly planned and implemented safety regulations as they do with actual eruptions. But as those bad regulations get get fixed and as new technology comes online, we're getting to the point where we just have to admit that sometimes volcanoes erupt, and sometimes that delays air travel, and sometimes there's nothing anyone can do about it.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / Travel News / Weather / Alaska Travel / → All Tags
As you know we’re still in the first week of the new year, but there’s already a brand new volcano—complete with ash-cloud potential—getting ready to wreak havoc on air travel. Unlike the volcanoes over in Europe or down in South America, this one’s a little closer to home, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to pronounce.
Mount Cleveland—just rolls off the tongue—is located within the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska, and scientists believe that it’s getting ready to celebrate 2012 by starting to shake, rattle, and roll. Just over a week ago there was a little volcano hiccup that sent a whole bunch of ash and other particulate into the skies, but things quickly dissipated and flights weren’t really affected. The concern still remains, as the tippy top of the volcano is right in the way of one of the main commercial flight paths between North America and Asia.
Has it already been nearly two years since the massive, international air travel mess that was the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano? We suppose it's awesome that the world hasn't ended in the meantime, but now when the holiday travel season rolls around, we get a little anxious. Any weird Earth-spewing activity can throw a wrench into the whole delicate system, but not if EasyJet has anything to say about it.
In June 2010, the European low-cost carrier announced that they'd had enough of this volcano nonsense and would take it into their own hands (and US government laboratories) to develop a system to detect ash in the air in the plane's flightpath. It's called AVOIDairborne volcanic object imaging detectorand that's exactly the idea, to avoid ash so it doesn't gum up the engine and crash or cause malfunctions in planes.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / Iceland Travel / Travel News / Weather / Katla / → All Tags
If you remember back to the not that long ago time known as yesterday, we mentioned how there’s one of those pesky volcanoes causing a little trouble on the bottom half of the earth. Well back up on the top half there might be some problems too, and once again we’re ready to blame Iceland.
At least this year it’ll be a little easier to pronounce and discuss, as the problem child is the Katla volcano. This pesky little sucker is located towards the country’s southern coastline, and unfortunately it’s much larger than the Eyjafjallajokul that we remember so well from last year. Some scientists even think that if Katla gets a little feisty that it could make last year’s ash problems seem small by comparison—oh boy.
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Here we go again, as it looks like there’s some volcanoes getting ready to wreck travel plans all over the globe. Something is already brewing again in Iceland—more on that tomorrow—but the latest stuff flying out of the earth is coming from south of the equator.
Chile's Puyehue volcano already caused trouble earlier this year, but its ash is now on the loose again and is messing up flights. Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires suspended pretty much all its flights on Sunday, as there was just too much darn particulate in the air to safely operate some jets.
Plenty of domestic flights were screwed up, but there were still some international routes available out of the city’s other airport.
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Well this is getting kind of tired. In March Big Ash Problems caused by erupting volcanoes grounding flights throughout Japan. Then in May it was Europe's turn, with the ash cloud from Iceland's Grimsvotn eruption disrupting air travel first in Scotland and then in other parts of the continent.
Now the Puyehue volcano in Chile has blown its top. First the ash cloud first wrecked havoc on Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Then over the weekend it traveled across the Pacific and shut down airports from Melbourne to New Zealand. With some flights still grounded indefinitely, 2011 is shaping up to be even worse than 2010, the year of vengeful air travel volcano gods.
Volcanoes / Big Ash Problems / Volunteer Travel / Volcano Travel / Hawaii Travel / Voluntourism / → All Tags
If you've had your travel plans disrupted by one of the many recent volcanoes, here's your chance to learn exactly how they work, and why they're becoming such a nuisance. Volcano Discovery is hosting several trips this year for small groups of novice vulcanologist, including an exhibition to the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.
During the trip, participants will spend their time studying volcanic activity with an experienced vulcanologist guide. The Kilauea volcano is considered the most active in the world and also features the longest known continuous lava tube, making it one of the best places on earth to learn about volcanoes.
The five day trip will take place between September 25-29 and costs $1790, which includes hotel costs, breakfast, dinner and transportation daily. Air transportation is not included. For more information, visit VolcanoDiscovery.com.
Travel Tweet of the Week / Twitter / Twitter Travel / Grimsvotn / Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / → All Tags
We love Tuesdays. Why, you ask? Because the day brings many travel tips and quips as "Travel Tuesday" on Twitter, and we're going to share our favorite with you. Got an avid travel twitterer we should follow? Let us know.
Today is a special edition of Travel Tweet of the Week, because we just couldn't make up our minds about who had the best. Instead, we've been entertained for a couple hours today just by searching "ash cloud" plus any expletive, and watching the vitriol pour in by delayed and concerned travelers around the world.
We'd even go so far as to say that right now, there's quite possibly no other inanimate thing being so actively hated on than the Icelandic Grimsvotn volcano and its ash cloud. Hmmis a volcanic ash cloud maybe considered animate? Whatevercome, be entertained with us:
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Iceland Travel / Grimsvotn / Delays / Travel News / Weather / Britain / Britain Travel / → All Tags
When the volcano started erupting on Rapture Day, experts at EuroControl, the European air safety organization, predicted literally zero impact on European airspace. Greenland had to cancel flights and Iceland's Keflavik airport was closed over the weekend, but the rest of Europe was supposed to escape a repeat of the Big Ash problems from last year's Eyjafjallajokull eruption.
Scientists pointed out that winds were blowing north rather than south, that the ash was large and coarse rather than fine and pointed (it matters for jet engines), and that the clouds were so heavy that the ash would fall to the ground. Gunnar Gudmundsson, of Iceland's Meteorological Office, insisted that the eruption would not "shut down airports abroad." Not so much, it turns out.