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British Airways is hiking up the prices of long-haul tickets from airports where passengers remain stranded following the volcanic eruption in Iceland. The airline faces fierce criticism for placing tickets on sale for up to £4700.

Vlcano spewing moneyAngry passengers stuck in the US, China and India have hit out at BA for putting the tickets on the open market, while they are still stranded. They are desperate to get home but have been offered flights home that don't leave for another two weeks. Meanwhile tickets for flights leaving sooner are sold at sometimes exorbitant prices.

Stranded travellers have called reservations phonelines that take three hours to connect. They have had difficulty accessing the BA website from airports.

At Delhi airport today, dozens of stranded BA passengers queued for several hours in intense heat for just a handful of seats.

London School of Economics (LSE) lecturer Erica Weald has been told her earliest replacement flight from Mumbai is on 6 May. "It is pure greed", she says. "If they were interested in getting people back, they would just freeze all the seats. They told us initially they would not sell new seats. People are so desperate somebody will pay that money to get back."

She reports that only four out of 60 stranded passengers trying to catch Thursday's flight to London were allocated seats. Some hopeful passengers couldn't even get into the airport because they couldn't afford to bribe the security guards, she said.

Saleem Althaf is an Accident and Emergency doctor stuck in Chennai. He attempted to buy a ticket, but was informed by BA in India the flights were exclusively for new customers.

BA's naked pursuit of profit will come as no surprise to cabin crew staff. They recently took strike action against Willie Walsh's union-busting regime which is pursuing a race to the bottom in the airline industry.

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