Logan international flights resume; UK airports reopen
More trans-Atlantic flights landed today at Logan International Airport as a volcanic ash cloud began to fade across European skies, but travel wasn't expected to return to normal levels before Friday.
About half of the 27,500 flights over Europe were in operation yesterday, a marked improvement over the last few days, and airports in London reopened last night. Two dozen British Airways flights bound from the United States, Africa, and Asia were expected to land at London's Heathrow Airport and other United Kingdom hubs early tomorrow morning.
Locally, the first flight from Germany in four days arrived in Boston yesterday afternoon, followed by a flight from France. About half of the European flights in and out of Logan were canceled yesterday, down from about 75 percent in the days following the April 14 eruption of the Ejjafjallajökull volcano, which has been spewing ash that could damage jet engines.
West Roxbury resident Ken Mace arrived at Logan from Frankfurt yesterday afternoon after a five-day business trip to Spain turned into an extended European layover. Instead of coming home from Spain last Friday as planned, Lufthansa flew him to Italy, then Germany, where he remained for four days.
“Nobody knew what was going on," said Mace, who was greeted at Logan by his wife, Monica. "The airlines would say one thing, and then the agencies would say they weren’t going to open up for days ... You just had to keep going back to the airport every six hours to see if it was open or not.”
Mace's employer, a medical diagnostics company in Westborough, picked up the hotel tab; room prices spiked from about $130 when he arrived, Mace said, to more than $500 a night by the time he left.
Vladimir Ovchinnikov of Newburyport wasn't so lucky. A stop in Frankfurt on the way back from a business trip to Russia became a four-day sleepover in the airport's business lounge. Ovchinnikov's 12-year-old daughter, Rachel, greeted him at Logan with a sign reading “Terminal 2, starring our dad!,” a reference to “The Terminal,” the 2004 movie in which Tom Hanks plays a man living at an airport.
“I was first on this plane,” he said, grinning.
Six days of flight cancellations and millions of stranded passengers have taken a toll around the world, and companies and travelers still are assessing the costs -- and adjusting their plans accordingly.
Marilyn Simmons and her husband, Harry, for instance, were supposed to leave Boston for a French river cruise last weekend booked through Grand Circle Travel. After most European flights were grounded, they found that they couldn't rebook their 13-day trip for a later date because they hadn't purchased insurance.
The travel company initially offered to put them on a flight Friday to join the cruise halfway through, said Simmons, but she wanted more. "We're not taking this lying down," she said. Today, she got her wish when the company said that it would offer 100 uninsured river cruisers a chance to go on a later trip.
Wires contributed to this report.