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Alternatives to flying during the flight ban

Posted by Richard Hammond at 08:30 on Friday 16 April 2010

Ferry bookings are up as a result of yesterday's ash fall outFerry bookings are up as a result of yesterday's ash fall outUpdate:

Monday, 17.18 The BBC reports the following:

SeaFrance, which operates the Calais-Dover service, says it has space available for cars on its sailings on Monday and is taking foot passenger bookings for sailings up until 2000 BST. Foot passenger bookings are only available at the port and cannot be placed online or by phone.

LD Lines has capacity on its crossings to the UK from Le Havre, Boulogne, Dieppe and Ostend. Some of the vessels on some of the crossings take foot passengers.

P&O operates a service to northern Spain. Its ship from Bilbao docks at Portsmouth at 1630 BST on Monday and is reported to be full to capacity. Contact the ferry company directly for spaces for its next available services.

Eurotunnel says it is putting on additional services through the week.

Brittany Ferries says it has no space on any Spanish services until Wednesday 28 April. Contact the company if you want to travel as a foot passenger on sailings into Portsmouth from the French ports of Caen, Cherbough and St Malo.

Condor Ferries, which operate to the Channel Islands, say bookings are very much larger than normal. They have laid on additional sailings and a small number of spaces for foot passengers are still available on routes from Weymouth and Poole.

16.45: P&O Irish Sea Ferries has announced it is putting on extra ferries for the following services:

From Larne              1630hrs to Cairnryan and 1730hrs to Troon, and 2000hrs to Cairnryan
From Cairnryan          1500hrs, 1630hrs and 2000hrs to Larne
From Troon              2020hrs to Larne 

From Larne: 1630hrs and 2000hrs to Cairnryan, and 1730hrs to Troon
From Cairnryan: 1500hrs, 1630hrs and 2000hrs to Larne
From Troon: 2020hrs to Larne 

14.37: Eurostar has announced that between Tuesday 20 and Sunday 25 April inclusive, all 30,000 of the available standard class seats on its trains will be on offer at a special price of £89 one-way. 

Sunday, 22.08 Guardian reports that "Government plan to bring back 200,000 stranded Britons will involve Navy if crisis worsens"

22.01: The Foreign Office has issued advice to Britons stranded by airports shutdown.

15.30: BBC reports that "UK flight restrictions are extended to 0700 BST on Monday" and that "P&O ferry crossings between Portsmouth and Bilbao are fully booked until Wednesday, as are those from Hull to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam over the weekend".

"Saturday, 17.25 BBC reports that "The threat posed by volcanic ash will restrict UK flights until at least 0700 BST on Sunday": 

10.16am: BBC reports that Eurostar trains are now fully booked until Monday.

9.25am: Brittany Ferries tweets that it still has plenty of Cross-Channel availability for this weekend.

Friday, 10:55am Fastnet line says it currently has availability on tonight's 21:00 Swansea - Cork crossing.

10.18am: SeaFrance says it is currently operating a Foot Passenger service today (Friday), bookable at Dover Port or through its Reservations Department. Its website says it "has plenty of space available for cars and other vehicles looking to travel to the continent".

10.28: P&O Irish Sea services are currently operating to schedule with spaces available for both vehicles and foot passengers on the Troon and Cairnryan routes.

10.27: P&O website says "Dover-Calais - If you are planning on travelling as a foot passenger in the next 24 hours we have no space available. For bookings after this period, please call the contact centre for latest availability".

10.15am: Virgin Trains says it is putting on 2000 extra trains for 16 April. Priority has been given to Anglo - Scottish services.

7.20am: Norfolkline says its Dover Dunkirk Ferries are operating to schedule with space currently available.

Thursday 7pm: Brittany Ferries tweets that it still has availability on UK to France ferry routes & UK to Spain ferry routes.

Thursday 6pm: Raileurope tweets that there is no availability on Eurostar trains for the rest of today Thursday 15 and Friday 16 April.

Thursday 5pm: Norfolkline says its Irish Sea Ferries for this evening (Thursday 15th) are now fully booked but on Friday 16th April all daytime sailings "have space available but cabins are subject to availability," and evening sailings "have space available but limited cabin space."

More updates to follow...

If you're looking for an alternative way to travel this weekend because of the ash fallout, here are a few suggestions for flight-free travel:

Book ferry tickets

Check availability and book ferry tickets using this unique ferry booking system for the major ferry routes in Europe:

  • ferries from the UK to the Channel Islands, France, Belgium, Holland, Spain & Scandinavia
  • ferries to and from Ireland
  • ferries from southern France and Italy to the Mediterranean Islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily
  • ferries from southern Spain to Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza
  • ferries from Spain to North Africa.

We've used this unique booking system and have found it a safe, secure and reliable system that takes the hassle out of booking ferry tickets: www.greentraveller.co.uk/book-ferry-ticket

Book rail tickets

See our exclusive guide to over 80 train routes across Europe via Eurostar, including trains to Paris, Brussels, Lille, Cologne and Geneva. We suggest 'stopover hotels' en route, which you can book directly via a safe and secure reservations system, for hotels in the major Northern European cities and further afield to Barcelona (for crossing over to Ibiza and Mallorca), Nice and Marseilles (for crossing over to Corsica and Sardinia) and Algeciras (for crossings over to Morocco).

See also our detailed guide to How to travel to and from Ireland without flying.

Book a holiday by train/ferry

Choose from over 200 low impact holidays that can be conveniently reached by train, from kayaking in the Scottish Outer Hebrides and cycling in Brittany to walking in the Pyrenees and dog-sledding in Sweden. Browse the selection then follow the links to the full itineraries of the ones you're interested in. At the foot of each entry is a guide to how to reach each holiday by train.

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