Are you a Kiwi currently waiting to return home?
Send the Herald your airport photos.
The quiet of the no-fly zone has been replaced by the roar of airplane engines across Britain today.
Jets finally took to the skies to clear the backlog of delays and cancellations, while recriminations flew over whether the British government had been too cautious in backing the six-day ban.
Opposition parties demanded an inquiry into the Civil Aviation Authority's ban on flights in UK airspace from Thursday to Tuesday, when the regulator announced new guidelines allowing the re-opening of airspace closed by the volcanic activity in Iceland.
As some of the 150,000 passengers stuck abroad returned home - with many complaining about a lack of government help - the Conservative leader, David Cameron, called for a "rapid inquiry" into the handling of the crisis. "It is clear that there has been some muddle and confusion in government about some of the information people have been given that doesn't seem to quite stack up," he said.
The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, whose three young sons were stranded in Spain, called for a "post-mortem" into the Government's response. And the tour giant Tui Travel complained that the Transport Secretary Lord Adonis had given "no clear reason" why the ban had lasted so long. "The Government's response to the crisis has been a shambles," said Peter Long, chief executive of the company, which includes holiday firms Thomson and First Choice.
But Gordon Brown defended the Government's handling of the crisis, stressing that passenger safety had to come first.
Asked why the Government had delayed for six days before lifting the ban on flying, the Prime Minister replied: "To get the right scientific advice. You have got to make sure that people are safe and secure. We would never be forgiven if we had let planes fly and there was a real danger to people's lives."
Speaking on the campaign trail in Cardiff, he added: "We have got the best meteorological office in Europe really... They had to look at what was happening to the volcano, they had to look at how much ash was in the environment. Some of it was actually falling to the ground, so they had to send up test flights with the airlines to look at where and at what altitudes we were seeing these ash clouds."
He was backed by the CAA's chief executive, Andrew Haines, who said said he "made no apologies" for the length of the no-fly period and added that any inquiry into the crisis would support the regulator's actions.
He denied that his organisation had been under government pressure to re-open UK airspace. "A genuine, independent inquiry would back our position. Our position was a robust and safe one," he said. "Lord Adonis has been fantastic over this. Not once did he pressure us to make a decision. We have developed new international guidance which has been applied across Europe."
All UK airports re-opened today, but many services were cancelled. Budget airline Ryanair was unable to operate any flights at all. Fellow budget carrier easyJet, which ran about 86 per cent of its scheduled operations, said it was launching 15 special rescue flights to bring back stranded tourists. Bmi said it would operate 90 per cent of its international flights out of Heathrow today and 50 per cent of its domestic services.
British Airways, whose chief executive, Willie Walsh, said he did not believe the "blanket ban" on airspace had been necessary, said it would take time to return to a "full flying programme" as many of its planes and crew were out of position.
Airlines were also criticised for flouting EU regulations which require them to cover stranded passengers' reasonable expenses. Some have been limiting payments for hotel rooms to several days, while Ryanair said it would reimburse travellers only the original price of their fare.
Mike Carrivick, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives, which represents more than 90 airlines, said the EU regulations were "unfair" and were never intended to cover cases such as the ash cloud crisis.
However, whilst most carriers took to the skies today, the planes of Australian airline Qantas remained resolutely on the ground – much to passengers' annoyance.
Qantas last night (NZ time) cancelled flight QF8230 from Heathrow to Melbourne and has delayed a flight to Sydney, QF32, by more than 11 hours.
Passengers are furious as flights from other international carriers continue to depart Heathrow unencumbered.
After a series of delays, QF32 passengers boarded the plane but were then disembarked after news that another volcanic cloud might be approaching Heathrow airspace.
"Every other airline that has flown out of Heathrow today has done so without any problem whatsoever," Qantas passenger Justin Davis told AAP from Heathrow airport.
"I've seen British Airways leaving, Finnair leaving, Nigeria (Airlines) leaving - you name it."
He and others were perplexed by consecutive Qantas announcements stating that the airline needed approval from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to depart.
"Qantas has no balls and they need to get final approval from CASA to fly out of European air space," Mr Davis.
"The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) in Europe has let all the European airlines fly but Qantas can't make a f***ing decision."
- INDEPENDENT, additional reporting by AAPBy Andy McSmith, Martin Hickman