Back in October, we were so pleased to find an AWESOME deal on a flight back to Belgium. We are supposed to take a Jetstar flight to a stopover in Bali for 10 days, and then a flight back via Bangkok straight to Brussels. Included in our plan was a stay in a fancy hotel, with in-house massage, and great food. All of this was cheaper than flying directly from Australia to Belgium in the week before Christmas.
The only weird thing about it, was a checkbox on the optional Jetstar travel insurance, which said it wouldn’t cover any volcanic eruptions that might occur. In particular, it was there because of a volcano in Bali which had been rumbling for weeks already. So, we thought: “Well, our flight is in two months! How long can it really take to erupt?”
Turns out: pretty f’ing long… Mt Agung has been spewing ash for weeks, yet hasn’t fully erupted so far. Every evening before we went to bed, we hoped that it would just blow already, but every morning we found out it hasn’t. Now we’re getting to a point where our flight to Bali is in 10 days, and there’s no change in sight. The airport was closed for 3 days and stranded thousands of people on the island, but it has reopened in the meantime. Now we’re facing even more dillemas:
- Find an alternate route at extra cost: Jetstar offers “alternative destinations” for no extra cost, which sounds awesome at first, until you learn that they’re all fully booked (at least if we want to be in Belgium for the holidays). Then there’s the matter of getting to Belgium from those “alternative destinations”. We can cancel our Thai Airways flight and get a refund (minus 130 EUR in fees), but all new flights cost almost twice what we paid in the first place! We can’t even “skip” the first leg from Bali to Bangkok, just take a cheap flight there from an alternative destination, and hop on our second flight to Brussels. Apparently, if you miss one leg of a journey, the entire thing is cancelled automatically… So, we’re looking at an extra cost of at least 500 EUR for our little “holiday at the end of a holiday”.
- Cancel the whole thing and pay even more: We can get a credit voucher for Jetstar as a refund (which is great for Aussies, but pretty useless to us) and we get most of the Thai Airways flight back. However, this doesn’t cover the cost of flying directly to Belgium the week before Christmas by a long shot (it’s about 1000 euros more).
- F it and go anyway: We’re very tempted to just see what happens, and fly to Bali if we can. But then what happens when the volcano erupts while we’re there? The tourist resort where we’re staying should be well within the safe zone, but the wind can always blow volcanic ash toward the airport, causing it to shut down.
- F it all and just stay in Australia until January: The flights become massively cheaper after Christmas, and even more so after new year’s. Our visa doesn’t expire until January 13th, so we could just stick around and fly home then. That does mean that we’ll miss all family and friend events we had planned…
Seriously guys, we’re open to suggestions (and donations ;-)) at this point. Fire away!