Passengers stuck on ground by “act of God”

Can airlines justify abandoning passengers due to an “act of God”?

Yesterday, on the 4th page of the London Evening Standard’s, journalists Ross Lydall and Rashid Razaq wrote the following paragraph in an article about the ash cloud:

“At Heathrow, travellers faced a second night sleeping in the terminal building after being abandonned by their airlines.They were told they were not entitled to hotels because the disruption was due to an ‘act of God’.”

Can an “act of God” be considered a decent-enough justification for airlines to treat their passengers as such as they have?

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