Valdosta man stranded in Europe returns home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta man stranded in Europe returns home

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –Thousands of travelers remain stranded because of the volcano eruption in Iceland.

Tenacity paid off for one south Georgia man who took rental cars and trains to get to an open airport in Madrid.

It took a Valdosta man a week to get home because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Joe Demmons was in England on a business trip.

"We were wrapping things up and that Wednesday the volcanic cloud appeared and we kind of thought that Iceland was attacking England," said Demmons.

At this point, Demmons wasn't sure how this might impact his travel plans.

"We looked outside that day and it was clear skies blue skies even on Thursday it was just beautiful weather there," said Demmons.

But soon his ticket from the Gatwick Airport in London back to the states was canceled, then rescheduled to leave from the Heathrow airport, then canceled again.

"We were starting to get a little concerned because things were shutting down all over Europe," said Demmons.

Like thousands of other travelers, Demmons learned the international airport in Madrid was still open.

"The masses once they heard an airport was open it was like everyone from Europe converged at the airport," said Demmons.

And getting there posed a bigger problem.

"It was definitely planes, trains, and automobiles," said Demmons as he laughed.

He took the Eurostar from England to Paris, then the metro to Gar du Nord to the Charles de Gualle airport, rented a car, and picked up a few of his colleagues. They made the 14-hour trip to Madrid, rested at a hotel, then finally made it to the airport.  

"There were executives from Microsoft, Google, IBM, all stranded in Europe and what their companies were doing was buying all the tickets on any flight that was available to give out to their folks to get home," said Demmons.

Luckily, Demmons had already booked his flight and made it home safe to Valdosta Wednesday night.

Joe Demmons says he doesn't plan to travel in the near future.


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