Still Stranded In Germany Due To Volcanic Ash?

Europe is certainly having its share of transportation troubles this year. First there was that big snow in January, which made Berlin (and Germany as a whole) a winter wonderland but grounded flights on occasion.

Now we have a volcanic ash cloud over Europe, and the majority of its airspace is closed.

If you are stranded in Germany due to volcanic ash, don’t despair. While I would love for you to stay in my beautiful country, I understand you want to go home.

Here are some of the other ways to get around Germany and Europe when the airports are closed:

  • Take An Airplane — I agree, this may sound very strange… they say the airspace is closed, so how in the world can one travel through Europe using an airplane? The thing is that most people are unaware of the fact that airspace below 6,000 meters is still open! (Note: The normal air traffic takes place at an altitude of between 6,000 and 11,000 meters.) So, contact your air carrier and ask them if they provide (or know of another carrier that provides) flights below the 6,000 meter mark (ex., Cessna flights). Or ask around small-sized airports and airfields for these type of flights.
  • Take A Train — The German Rail System is one of the most efficient and advanced networks on the planet. Trains run to and from all of the major airports and cities, so book a Deutsche Bahn rail ticket for local and international travel. Remember, airports in Portugal and Spain are still open!
  • Take A Bus — Though our train system is more famous, German bus lines are also very good and give you many options for getting around the country and even Europe. The Berlin Linien Bus company is one of the most well known, and I also offer an online bus tour booking service which covers convenient coach tours through Europe. As I mentioned just above, in just one or two days you could be in Spain or Portugal and then get back home from there since their airports are still open!
  • Rent A Car — I told you just last week how easy it is to rent a car in Germany. The German airports are closed, but the German highways remain open!
  • Take A Taxi — With more than 50,000 taxis in Germany, you should be able to find one at the nearest taxi stand, at the airport, or near any transit hub. If none are at the stand, ask to use the taxi phone (Taxirufsäule) or call the city’s taxi hotline, Taxi-Zentrale, which is in every phone directory. Fares over 50 km can be negotiated, and international travel is allowed but likely will be expensive — plan to pay at least 1 euro/km. You can also use this table of taxi fares by city as a guide (German).
  • Share A Ride — In Germany, we have several Carpool services, which pairs travelers with others looking to share the cost of travel. It may be a bit adventurous, especially for those with no German skills (although, many drivers do speak English), but why be stuck when you can make a new friend and get moving?

Either way, I wish all of my readers stuck around Germany the very best as you try to get home. In the meantime, you can book a hotel room (special prices included) and watch the visual map of the ash cloud online or read the latest airport closing updates.

Good Luck!

—Marcus

 

2 Responses to “Still Stranded In Germany Due To Volcanic Ash?”

  1. Jen says:

    For those looking for a flight under 6,000 feet, it can be helpful to look at Germany’s list of regional airports.

    You have a great list here, Marcus: http://www.mygermancity.com/airports-in-germany

    I’ve hunted through the visual map, and looking at the list, it seems like Black Forest Airport Lahr might be a great choice for low flying flights, since they offer so many charter services out of the airport. Just a pity they don’t have real time flight updates – one will have to call to book!

    Still…options where once there were none! Thanks!

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