$5,500 Cab Ride? Volcanic Ash Strands Thousands at Airport, Even Grounds Jet Set

Even the jet set is grounded as European airports wait for dangerous ash spewed from an Iceland volcano to subside.

Ordinary travelers by and large are being forced to sit and wait at shut-down airports, but one celebrity paid $5,500 for a 15-hour cab ride, another was forced onto a boat and others may not be able to make it to huge U.S. gigs.

Monty Python comedian John Cleese spent roughly $5,500 on a taxi ride from Oslo to Brussels after getting stranded by the volcano. The 930-mile trip was expected to take him more than 15 hours. Cleese hired three drivers who apparently were taking turns at the wheel, according to Norwegian media reports.

"We checked every option, but there were no boats and no train tickets available," Cleese told Norwegian TV2. "That's when my fabulous assistant determined the easiest thing would be to take a taxi."

VIDEO: Iceland Volcano Shuts Down U.K. Airports
Volcano in Iceland Shuts Down Airports

Singer Whitney Houston took to the seas to make it to Dublin for the next stop in her world tour. The singer and her entourage ended up on a 3 hour, 15 minute car ferry across the Irish Sea from Holyhead, Wales to Dublin.

Halfway around the world, other music fans were not so lucky. Several bands scheduled to play at California's Coachella Music and Arts Festival this weekend had to back out because of canceled flights.

The Cribs, Los Campesinos!, Gary Numan and Bad Lieutenant were among the acts that have struggled to make it to the California venue.

From Turkey, to Russia to even parts of Asia, travelers are stuck with no relief in sight. Passengers frantically are trying any method possible to get home, to a business meeting or just to start their vacation.

Most of them have not met success and are left stranded in random cities, some being forced to spend the night on emergency airport cots in places from London to Paris to major U.S. air hubs to Europe.

"We're right in the middle of crisis central," said Heather Dolstra of Democracy Travel in Washington, D.C. Dolstra and other agents have been feverishly working to get their customers to their destinations any way possible.

"It's just as bad, in many ways, as anything we saw on 9/11," she said. "All of the rerouting is impossible."

The airports in Europe are some of the world's busiest connection points. A passenger going from Africa or India to the United States, for instance, is likely to change planes in London, Paris, Frankfurt or Amsterdam. All of those hubs, and numerous smaller airports, have been closed thanks to volcanic ash in the skies above that can cause airplane engines to lose power and fail.

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The volcano hasn't stopped everybody from doing their jobs though.

Norway's prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, was photographed in a British Airways lounge at New York's JFK Airport using the latest Apple product. The headline in the New York tabloids summed it up this way: "He governs via iPad."

Stoltenberg finally made it to Munich on a plane Thursday night and then took a train home.

In Boston, organizers of the city's marathon, scheduled for Monday, extended the traditional Sunday night check-in deadline and may even allow day-of-race check-in because many runners are stranded overseas.

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