The Icelandic volcano eruptions that have choked international travel are especially frustrating for those trying to get to Poland for the funeral of that country's president.
"It's discouraing," said Frank Spula, the president of the Polish National Alliance. "We have been on hold for several days. Initially we were supposed to take off yesterday and the flight cancelled. And then today our flight was cancelled."
Though not all of them were bound for Poland, nearly three dozen flights out of O'Hare International Airport were scrapped Saturday, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. And on Sunday, another 43 flights between O'Hare and Europe were grounded.
The Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 others died in a plane crash last Saturday in western Russia as they headed to a ceremony commemorating the slaughter of thousands of Poles 70 years ago.
Spula said the pain of the massacre and the loss of the president are made worse by not being able to be at the funeral.
Included in those who can't make the funeral is President Barack Obama.
Just six hours before the president was to travel to Poland, the White House cancelled the trip, citing hazardous flying conditions posed by the ash cloud.
"Michelle and I continue to have the Polish people in our thoughts and prayers, and will support them in any way I can as they recover from this terrible tragedy," he said in a statement.
The cloud has forced huge portions of European airspace to be closed. The fear is that microscopic particles of highly abrasive
ash could endanger passengers by causing aircraft engines to fail.