Tour operators are putting contingency plans in place before Anzac Day in case flights are still grounded in London at the weekend due to Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud.

Thousands of Aussies and Kiwis have booked an Anzac tour for this weekend, so what happens if you can’t get out to Turkey before April 25?

On the Go Tours head of marketing Pru Goudie said: “If flights are still grounded by the 25th, we can offer various options to our clients, depending on their personal circumstances and what tour they are on. Deferment is an option – some might want to defer their tour until next year.”

Goudie added: “We will do everything we can to work around the situation and make sure we look after our clients, but we’re hoping that everything will be okay by ANZAC day.”

First Festival Travel is also offering its Anzac tour clients the option to take another tour in Turkey at a later date or delay the tour until next year if they’re unable to leave London before the weekend.

Alternative travel to Turkey for Anzac Day

Alternatively, imaginative travellers could try to find an alternative way of reaching Turkey. 

“Istanbul airport isn’t closed so if people can get to Madrid, they could take a flight from there to Istanbul, but obviously everyone is trying to get to Madrid at the moment,” said Christine Wilson at First Festival Travel.

“The other option is to take the bus, but that takes about 48 hours non-stop.”

On a positive note, First Festival Travel say that sales have gone through the roof for their ANZAC tour of Belgium and France on April 25, reachable by Eurostar.

Meanwhile, tour leaders from Topdeck Travel are currently being driven from London to Istanbul in order to have a crew in Turkey before the weekend.

Top Deck’s managing director James Nathan said Topdeck was operating all Anzac trips as scheduled and he encouraged them to seek any transport means to get to Istanbul.

“We will guarantee any passengers who arrive in Istanbul by Friday evening 23 April, regardless of when their trip was scheduled to start, that we will ensure they get to Anzac Cove in time for the Dawn ceremony,” Nathan said.

“We are aware however that some passengers won’t be able to get to Istanbul. For these passengers we are encouraging them to speak to their travel Insurance companies to seek compensation for monies lost.

He said Topdeck was finalising a “very attractive offer” to enable clients disadvantaged by the natural disaster to travel on an alternative Topdeck trip to Turkey in 2010.

“Details of this offer and possibly a second one will be published later this week when we can quantify the total number of passengers disadvantaged.”