While sad, it is worth pointing out that the volcanic ash emanating from Iceland is highlighting how some people are balanced on a knife’s edge when it comes to their finances.
I have read stories of how some people (who until now have been stranded a maximum of 5 days) can no longer afford to stay in hotels while stranded and have taken to sleeping in the terminals, streets, or what have you. I realize that hotels can be more expensive in Europe than here, but regardless there are some issues here.
For those that have travel insurance or are covered under their credit card’s travel interruption features, they should be getting their money back. So if they have insurance and are leaving the hotels this means they didn’t have enough liquid cash or credit to afford dealing with these few nights of extreme inconvenience.
For those without any form of insurance, it’s slightly different as some may have decided they didn’t want to spend the money/credit they had in exchange for a hotel room.
One last note: anyone taking travel insurance now will not be covered for interruptions due to the volcanic ash as it is now an established problem that could knowingly cause future delays. Make sure you know what is excluded with your policy.