Hurricane Sandy stranded me New York, what do I do?
Q&A: Travel unravelled
Tuesday 30 October 2012
Q. I am stranded in New York due to Hurricane Sandy. My flight has been
cancelled by Virgin. I have my mobile phone but calls are so expensive and I was
on hold to Virgin for almost an hour last night before I got cut off. I have to
vacate my apartment at 11am this morning and have nowhere to go, and no idea
when Virgin can fly me home. There is no public transport so getting anywhere is
very difficult. Any advice?
A. You are among tens of thousands of passengers stranded on either side of the Atlantic by the wholesale cancellation of flights as a result of Hurricane Sandy. On Monday, Virgin Atlantic, BA and other airlines, cancelled almost all flights to and from the key airports of Boston, New York JFK, Newark and Washington DC. BA also cancelled its Philadelphia and Baltimore flights.
Once schedules revert to normal, the bad news is that you and your fellow passengers will be at the back of the queue; Virgin says it is considering additional flights, "As well as securing seats on other carriers where possible". Even so, it will take some days to clear the backlog. So what do you do in the meantime?
The good news is that Virgin Atlantic has a duty of care to provide accommodation and meals in the event of disruption at an American airport; US airlines do not. Because Virgin has thousands of passengers out of situation, it is not in a good position to organise this for you, but during previous episodes of disruption it has allowed passengers to make their own arrangements and then claim refunds. Of course, you should keep all receipts.
It may well be that your accommodation provider is willing to extend your booking, or can recommend something close by; after all, many apartments and hotel rooms are empty because the booked guests cannot reach New York.
You will need to stay in touch with Virgin to find out about your journey home; to save your mobile phone bill, use the US toll-free number from a landline: 1 800 862 8621 ("You may experience longer than normal call waiting times for which we apologise," warns the airline) or email email@example.com with your journey details.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...
£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...
£15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...