Iceland: Are flights still running? Can I get a refund if I cancel, is it safe - latest Foreign Office travel advice
The latest updates on whether flights are still going to Iceland amid volcano eruption fears - and is it possible to get a refund if you want to cancel?
Fears of an impending volcanic eruption are mounting in Iceland with authorities continuing to monitor the situation. Hundreds of small earthquakes have rocked the Reykjanes Peninsula, the island nation’s most populated region, for more than two weeks, and the island has declared a state of emergency.
The town of Grindavík was evacuated and some roads have been closed and visitors are advised to stay away from the area. The much-loved Blue Lagoon geothermal spa has closed due to the heightened geological activity and is expected to reopen on 16 November.
The Foreign Office said it is “increasingly possible” an eruption could occur and those heading to the island “should monitor local media for updates and follow the authorities advice on travel to the area.” At the moment it does not advise against travel to Iceland meaning that airlines and holiday companies are operating as normal.
Here’s everything you need to know about if flights are going ahead, what happens if you have a flight or holiday booked and what the current advice is from the Foreign Office.
Are flights to Iceland still running?
Despite fears of an impending volcanic eruption, flights from the UK to Keflavik international airport 10 miles north of the eruption site are going ahead as usual. On Sunday 12 November, all scheduled flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Manchester landed without incident.
On Monday 13 November, all flights were also still going ahead. These included the 6.20am easyJet departure from Manchester, the 7.15am Wizz Air flight from London Luton, the 7.35am easyJet service from Luton and a British Airways flight from Heathrow. Flights are continuing to operate as normal.
A spokesperson for easyJet said: “Our flying schedule is currently operating as normal, however we are monitoring the situation closely and should this change we will contact customers directly to advise on their flights.” A spokesperson for British Airways told the Mirror: "Our flights are operating as planned and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We will be in touch with customers directly should the situation change."
Will I get a refund if I want to cancel my flight to Iceland?
As there is no Foreign Office advice against travelling, those who want to cancel their flights to Iceland are unlikely to get a refund, unless they have comprehensive travel insurance or bought a flexi-ticket. If travellers choose not to go on holiday they may be subject to a cancellation fee, so it is advised to check the terms of your holiday booking.
If travellers are unsure about travelling they can get in touch with their airline or hotel as many have flexible booking policies in place since Covid. Some offer customers the chance to rebook to a later date - but this will depend on the terms of the specific booking.
In 2010 the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption caused air travel across much of Europe to stop for a week. The disruption was extensive because the blast of lava was cooled by a glacier atop the volcano which turned the dust cloud into tiny fragments that posed a threat to aircraft. It is expected that the lava from Fagradalsfjall is more likely to remain on the ground and so it is unlikely that it will close Iceland's airports for a long period.
What is the latest advice from the Foreign Office?
The Foreign Office ramped up its travel advice on 11 November, saying the threat of a volcanic eruption is increasingly possible. Were it to warn against travel to parts of Iceland, holidaymakers already there would be moved and no further departures would operate to those areas.
The official advice reads: “Earthquakes and indications of volcanic activity have increased above normal levels on the Reykjanes peninsula, southwest of Reykjavik. The Icelandic authorities continue to monitor the area closely, particularly the area northwest of Mt Thorbjörn near the Svartsengi power plant and the Blue Lagoon. On 10 November, a Civil Protection Alert was declared after an intense swarm of earthquakes. The town of Grindavík was evacuated as a precaution. Some roads have been closed and visitors are advised to stay away from the area.
“Keflavik International Airport is operating as normal. While there is no current eruption, it is increasingly possible that one could occur. You should monitor local media for updates and follow the authorities advice on travel to the area.”