Frustration as stranded passengers seek information

By Dedee Wirjapranata

Claudia Sandoval, who is trying to get home to Chile, sits at Auckland Airport after flights were cancelled due to ash from the eruption in her homeland. Photo / Dean Purcell
Claudia Sandoval, who is trying to get home to Chile, sits at Auckland Airport after flights were cancelled due to ash from the eruption in her homeland. Photo / Dean Purcell

Chilean Claudia Sandoval has been trying to get home from Auckland for one and a half weeks.

"They gave me another route at the moment to go to Australia, but now the ash cloud has gone to Sydney, so I can't take my flight again," she says.

Yesterday, the actress had been waiting for four hours, and it was her fourth visit to the airport.

Sandoval was given some assistance in the first week, but is now left to fend for herself.

"In the beginning they helped me with money for food and accommodation but after, I had to do it for myself.

"So I have a problem with my visa too, because it's finished. Nobody tell me what to do exactly.

"It's like it's my responsibility and my problem, but it's not my fault too," Sandoval says.

"In one way I'm so happy that my family and friends are all right with the volcano. So I don't have to go back really quickly.

"I'm a little bit relaxed at the moment. The volcano is in the south of Chile, and I live in Santiago, the capital, so everything is all right for me."

Another traveller, Mary Avis, said she had come with her husband from Tauranga. They were on their way to London.

"We can't go home because there's English people taking over our house - we're exchanging houses."

They had arranged a house-swap holiday with a family in Nottingham, and were going to visit their son in England.

"I've just had a text from Qantas that said I won't be flying today. Well, they could have sent it earlier; the flights have been cancelled since lunchtime."

- NZ Herald

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