This is a situation that no one ever predicted. Normally the winds would be from the south/south-west, blowing the ash AWAY from us. But, we finally have a stable high pressure system, which we would normally enjoy. This system has given us BEAUTIFUL spring weather, though still chilly.... and is sending the ash directly toward us!
The first countries to close their airspace for IFR flights was Scanadavia (hi Elin and Melody!), followed by Ireland, Scotland, England. Then the Benelux countries and Holland joined in (hello Wizardress!), followed by Germany, France, Poland, etc. etc. etc. Some countries have also forbidden all VFR flights, i.e. flights conducted unter visual regulations.
But in Germany those flights are still allowed.... and I even got to fly yesterday! Visibility was hazy, which is normal under high pressure systems. No sign of any ash anywhere, but the experts, including pilots that have flown into the muck, say it is so fine it can't be seen by the naked eye. The reason for canceling all flights.... the ash can cause the engines of jets to shut down! So, closing the air space is a necesssary precaution. Lufthansa did ferry 10 planes (B 747's and Airbus's) from Munich to Frankfurt, but they carried NO passengers and flew under VFR! At the lower altitudes they had to fly at (below the ash level), it is not allowed to carry passengers. Needless to say, those planes are going through a thorough inspection to see if any ash damage occured. Some ash has touched the ground in England from what I hear (take care Susannanne, Fakebrunette, Simon, Dave, Stig and all others on the Islands).
It looks like this volcano is going to be active for some time and will continue causing havoc over European air space.
As I mentioned, the ash is invisible, making a lot of people think it doesn't exist. But it does make for pretty sunsets..... this taken last night: