Guide for the perplexed air traveler
If you have a ticket for a previous date, don't bother going to the airport until you contact a travel agent or the airline, and change the date of your flight.
What if you had booked the flight with a company that operates only over Internet, such as easyJet?
These airlines say that temporarily, they will not honor boarding passes that had been printed in the course of checking in by Internet. All passengers must come to the airport and check-in to their flights at the manned service counters. To repeat - online check-in won't count. The reason, explain the airlines, is to enable them to fly as many passengers on the seats they have available.
What should you check before going to the airport?
Before going to the airport, look on the airline's Web site, even if you didn't order your tickets by Internet. The site is the best place to see updates on possible delays or other service disruptions. Because of the fluid state of the ash cloud, so to speak, and because of changes in weather conditions, notice about flight cancelations or delays may be very short. Also, call flight information at Ben-Gurion Airport or check its Web site before leaving home.
Check your e-mail too: Some companies take the trouble to keep their passengers advised by e-mail, for instance if the flight has been canceled. The e-mail should also advise you of your possible courses of action.
Should I go to the airport if my flight has been canceled?
I rescheduled my flight and it hasn't been canceled. How long before the flight should I get to the airport?
Take into account that through the next few days, the airports are going to be very crowded as all the stranded passengers head for home (or their destinations). Which means, the lines to check-in, security and everything else will be very long. In normal times, one should arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport three hours before the flight: Now make that four hours. At worst you can have more time relaxing over a coffee at the duty-free.
Am I due compensation for my costs incurred because my flight had been canceled?
After the first day, the airlines stopped covering hotel, meal and other costs for stranded passengers, citing force majeure. It seems that legally, they won't be held liable for passengers' costs. It hasn't been tested in court yet.
What should I do if I simply give up and don't want to use my ticket?
If you want to redeem an unused ticket, you can get your money back in full, or set an alternative date without paying a rescheduling fee.