Travel Alert June 2018: Volcanic Activity in Guatemala

At least 65 fatalities were reported as a result of the unexpected eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala just prior to noon on Sunday, June 3, 2018, which destroyed villages with hot rock fragments and mud; and a cloud of volcanic ash rose as high as 33,000 feet into the sky, causing daylight to darken enough to resemble nighttime.

Travel Alert June 2018: Volcanic Activity in Guatemala

The main problem is that the eruption also generated what are known as pyroclastic flows — which are mixtures of very hot gas of up to 700 degrees Celcius and ash, pumice, and other volcanic matter — that descended at a speed of approximately 50 miles per hour down the slopes and engulfed the communities below with little warning.

“In addition to ash, the plume contains gaseous components invisible to the human eye, including sulfur dioxide (SO2)”, according to this article from Earth Observatory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States, which is more popularly known as NASA. “The gas can affect human health — irritating the nose and throat when breathed in — and reacts with water vapor to produce acid rain. Sulfur dioxide also can react in the atmosphere to form aerosol particles, which can contribute to outbreaks of haze and sometimes cool the climate.”

Eruptions have reportedly ceased at the volcano. Teams are currently searching the affected areas for people to rescue who may still be alive.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to Guatemala City over the next few days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to the volcanic activity which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of the affected areas, watch out for deteriorating conditions and traffic problems.

Here are four airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of the volcanic activity in Guatemala:

  • American Airlines has issued a travel alert for Guatemala City for Sunday, June 3, 2018 through Tuesday, June 5, 2018; and Friday, June 8, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued a travel alert for Guatemala City for Sunday, June 3, 2018 through Tuesday, June 5, 2018; and Friday, June 8, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued a travel alert for Guatemala City for Sunday, June 3, 2018 through Monday, June 4, 2018; and Thursday, June 7, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Spirit Airlines has issued a travel alert for Guatemala City for Sunday, June 3, 2018 through Tuesday, June 5, 2018; and Friday, June 8, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: Earth Observatory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States.

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