British couple stranded 1000 miles from their children

April 20, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A British couple stranded because of the flight ban have told how they are stranded more than 1000 miles from their children – in ICELAND.

Penny and Andrew Maunder forked out £1,000 to Icelandair for a four-day package holiday to Reykjavik to celebrate their 40th birthdays.

They arrived in the Icelandic capital on April 12th and enjoyed the country’s sweeping views and hot springs for the first two days of their trip – until volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted on the 14th.

Flights out of the country stopped the next day and the couple became stranded 1,750 miles from their sons Sam, 10, and Tom, eight – with no way home.

The Maunders yesterday told of the ”frustration” and ”feelings of hysteria” among tourists stuck on the volcanic isle.

Teaching assistant Penny, of Bristol, said: ”It’s been a disaster, financially and emotionally.

”The frustration is the lack of information, of accurate information, and the fact that we’re spending hours and hours on the phone just to be cut off.

”We’ve phoned the foreign office helpline number and been on hold for 45 minutes and still been cut off.

”We went to the British embassy yesterday, which is only open for three hours a day, and we were told that there weren’t enough Brits in Iceland for the government to worry about us.

”On the news all the focus is on people in Europe but they have a route out. They have roads and ferries – we have no way off this island.

”We’ve got two small children that are separated from us and miss us and they can’t go to school because they’re stuck on the other side of the country with their grandparents.

”There’s no communication, it’s costing us a fortune, and we’re worried about our children.”

Those stuck in Iceland can only leave via a three-day ferry ride to Denmark, but this service is booked solid for the next two weeks.

The Maunders, who have so far spent an extra £600 for food and shelter, have they will not be reimbursed for the extra accomodation costs.

They have rebooked for a flight to Heathrow due to leave tomorrow afternoon, but the air space around the London airports has still not opened for business.

Mrs Maunder added: ”We’re absolutely desperate to get home.”

A spokeswoman for Iceland Air said: ”Icelandair has been working with all of our passengers to get them back to the UK safely.

”Since the airspace restrictions were put in place last week, we have regrettably not been able to fly any flights to London Heathrow.

”Passengers bound for London Heathrow have been given the option of a refund or re-booking on the next available flight to Heathrow.

”We have also been able to accommodate some passengers on special flights to Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

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