Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Hurricane Sandy has left me stranded, how can I get home?

Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions

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?

Tony Lee

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, along with 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 position, 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 awayfromhome@fly.virgin.com with your journey details.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot