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Byron Shire
March 28, 2023

Bali’s volcanic flight risk

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Desolate-Bali-Beach Desolate-Nusa-Dua Empty-Beaches-of-tourists Empty-restaurants-1 Flights-groundedStory and photos: Tracey Davis

With the holidays just around the corner, Bali’s surf beaches promise a well-deserved break. What might prove the best holiday decision, however, is to give yourself peace of mind in case of flight cancellations.

Mt Rinjani’s eruption grounded planes and closed Bali’s Denpasar airport as recently as mid November. Eruptions of Mt Raung in July and August had the same effect. Tourists left in droves when they could, leaving destinations empty, restaurants and beaches bare.

Meteorologists have since given aviation the thumbs up; there are clear skies and volcanic activity is calming down. Travel bookings are open again, but no-one can predict with certainty when either Mt Rinjani or Mt Raung will erupt again.

Traveller Sam Litt from Sydney was caught in Bali recently. He said, ‘We were delayed a week when our flights to leave Bali on Sunday were cancelled… We were tired of waiting; flying out via Singapore was easiest.’

What could be essential to ensure your holiday is memorable is to have adequate travel insurance with alternative flights planned.

Travel insurance agencies issue a product disclosure statement (PDS) with inclusions/exclusions you may overlook. In general, once an event starts, policies purchased don’t cover it, so buying your insurance early is good practice.

For example NRMA’s current advice to travellers says, ‘There is no cover for amendment or cancellation costs for policies issued on or after 03/11/2015 as the events in Bali [the eruption of Mt Rinjani] are no longer deemed an unforeseen event.’

Without insurance, you will need extra resources to cover your out-of-pocket expenses in the event your flights are cancelled, such as finding extra accommodation or another route home.

‘It became a daily event for us, waiting to get out. We didn’t take out travel insurance. We ran out of money and couldn’t go anywhere really, just wait’, said Marion from Melbourne.

Many travellers from Australia travel to Bali on the cheap, and save on travel insurance as well as other costs. If that’s you, be prepared to be flexible if your schedule changes and have a Plan B to ensure your trip to paradise is as fun as you planned.

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