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“Should I cancel my stay for the All Saints holidays?”

LE FIGARO ANSWERS YOU – The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano is currently disrupting flight connections to the Spanish island of La Palma. Bad luck, our reader has planned to go to the Canary Islands at the end of October. Cancel, not cancel?

Question from Louis

I have planned to travel to the Canaries on All Saints Day, should I cancel due to the eruption?

Dear Louis,

If you have planned to visit the island of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera or El Hierro, there is no reason at this stage to cancel your stay. If, on the other hand, you are going to the island of La Palma, it is still a bit early to answer your questions, as the All Saints’ Day holidays begin on October 23 and the situation there remains very fluctuating to this day.

As a reminder, the Cumbre Vieja volcano, located on the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canary archipelago, erupted on Sunday September 19. A first in 50 years. The eruption has not caused any casualties at this stage but has caused significant damage. According to the latest data from the European geospatial measurement system Copernicus, 589 buildings were destroyed by the lava, which covered 258 hectares of land.

After a brief interruption on Monday morning, the volcano began to spit ash again in the middle of the day, the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) told AFP. The volcano knows for some time an alternation of expulsion jets (of lava and volcanic material) and pauses “, explained David Calvo while confirming a slight” decrease in activity compared to previous days “. “ We must remain very attentive to its evolution because the scenario can change very quickly “, for its part warned the Institute of Geosciences of Madrid.

SEE ALSO – Lava from Cumbre Vieja reaches the ocean, raising fears of the release of toxic gases

The lava flows finally reached the ocean overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, releasing a large amount of smoke. Nearly 6,000 people were evacuated from their homes and the inhabitants of several districts of Tazacorte (San Borondon, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa) were called upon to confine themselves due to fears of the emanation of toxic gases that could cause the arrival of lava in the ocean.

READ ALSO: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote… Which Canary Island to choose? Our travel guide

What the Embassy recommends

Stopped on Saturday due to an accumulation of ash, La Palma airport has been operational again since Monday but flights remained suspended until Tuesday. The local company Binter Canaries thought it could resume its connections on Monday but was forced to postpone them, considering that the security conditions were not yet met. “ This Tuesday, September 28, the situation has not improved: reports from the Toulouse Volcanic Ash Observation Center and those from the National Meteorological Agency still indicate the presence of ash, and flights cannot therefore not be insured “, tweeted the company Tuesday in the middle of the day.

Contacted by us, the French Embassy in Spain recalls that at this stage, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs only recommends canceling the stays planned for the next few weeks on the island of La Palma, in the localities affected by the eruption (mainly around Tazacorte, El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane). The ministry advises to contact his travel agency or airline to ensure that his flight has not been canceled and invites travelers to strictly follow the safety instructions of local authorities.

If you have planned a stay on another Canary Island, there is therefore no reason today to cancel or postpone it. “ The phenomenon has no consequences on travel conditions elsewhere on the island and in the whole of the archipelago. “, confirms to Figaro José Juan Lorenzo, director of the Canary Islands tourist office.

READ ALSO: Volcanic eruption in La Palma: “Tourists can maintain their stay”

What about plane tickets in the event of canceled flights?

With regard to the conditions of cancellation and reimbursement of air tickets, a volcanic eruption is considered “ an extraordinary circumstance which is not the responsibility of the airlines, recalls Anaïs Escudié, founder of the RetardVol.fr site. As a result, passengers cannot claim lump sum compensation to compensate for the damage suffered by the cancellation of a flight, as is normally required by European Regulation No. 261/2004. However, the company is obliged to reimburse the tickets for canceled flights. “ It can also offer the traveler a flight at a later date, which the passenger is entitled to refuse and which opens the way to a refund, possibly in the form of a credit “, she explains.

Following the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, Iberia is thus offering its customers who have booked a flight scheduled between September 18 and October 30 to postpone their trip until January 31, 2022. You can also ask for a refund of your ticket in the form of an exchange voucher “says the company. “ Each company has its own rules and it is strongly advised to examine in detail the general conditions of sale “, advises Anaïs Escudié who recalls that legally, if the traveler decides to cancel his ticket himself while his flight is maintained, nothing obliges the company to reimburse him.

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