Flights to and from Denpasar are in limbo as Mount Agung, a volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali, threatens to erupt. Locals have been evacuated from the immediate vicinity of the volcano but flights are still operating as normal… for now.

Aircraft cannot fly through volcanic ash for safety reasons. In 1982, British Airways flight BA9 lost power to all four engines when it flew through a volcanic ash cloud en-route to Perth.

If Mt Agung begins erupting, this may force the closure of some of the airspace around Bali. If this occurs, flight cancellations are likely. But it is not yet known if, or when, this may occur.

Airlines are taking precautions in anticipation of an eruption. Some Virgin Australia flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Bali are making en-route stops in Darwin to take on extra fuel. This will allow Virgin’s flights to return to Australia if Indonesian airspace is suddenly closed.

If you’re travelling to Bali in the coming weeks and have purchased travel insurance, the good news is that you’re likely covered. Most travel insurance policies will cover your cost of re-booking or extending your holiday if your flight back to Australia is cancelled. However, each policy treats events such as natural disasters differently. So it is vitally important that you check your travel insurance policy’s PDS carefully.

If you haven’t yet purchased travel insurance, it may unfortunately be too late now. The eruption of Mount Agung is already a known event so most travel insurance providers have placed an embargo on claims. Travel Insurance Direct and QBE Insurance will cover you as long as you purchased an eligible travel insurance policy prior to 20 or 21 September, respectively.

Airlines are advising passengers to ensure their contact details with the airline are up-to-date.

Some airlines are allowing customers to re-book or cancel without penalty. Virgin Australia customers can postpone travel to Bali, switch to a different destination or receive a travel credit. Singapore Airlines is offering refunds.

Virgin officiallly updates travel alerts will allow cancellations, reschedule or fly elsewhere. No refunds, credit only.

Several members have trips to Bali booked in the coming month, so are keeping a close eye on the situation.

We are off there in early Nov and friends are there now. The issue with ash cloud is where it sits in relation to flight paths.

This is impacting me, I am transiting through bali next month on VA. I am a little nervous.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]