Volcanic ash from Chile eruption disrupts air travel

The Miami HeraldJune 15, 2011 

Ash from a volcanic eruption in Chile continued to frustrate travelers Tuesday as flights were grounded in South America, Australia and New Zealand.

The impact on Miami, a major gateway to Latin America, wasn’t as severe. Six arriving flights and one departure were canceled Tuesday, according to a spokesman for Miami International Airport.

Still, anyone with plans to travel to South America is being urged to sign up for flight status alerts with their airline and check for updates online before heading to the airport.

“This is something that changes depending on the wind and the weather,” said Martha Pantín, a Miami spokeswoman for American Airlines.

American is allowing customers who have tickets to or from Buenos Aires, Argentina or Montevideo, Uruguay, between now and June 24 to change their flights without penalty. Travelers had to have booked by June 14; travel dates can be changed to as late as June 30.

Two American flights that left Miami for Buenos Aires on Sunday had not reached their destination Tuesday afternoon. The planes were rerouted to Chile because of ash in Argentina from the nearby Cordon Caulle volcano and were expected to leave for Buenos Aires late Tuesday.

LAN Airlines, which canceled dozens of flights Tuesday, said U.S.-based passengers whose flights have been affected can change the date of their travel without penalty subject to some conditions, change their route without penalty (subject to fare differences) or request a refund if they can’t reschedule. Passengers can call 866-435-9526 and ask for Option 4 or check online at www.lan.com.

The ash affected not only tourists and business travelers, but political and sports activity as well.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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