Christmas travel update

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The Independent Online

* PLANES

Flight cancellations and delays persisted yesterday with Heathrow the worst affected airport. There were cancellations at Gatwick and delays at Stansted and Luton. Flights to Heathrow from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen were also affected.

The lingering freezing fog meant that, by lunchtime, 174 flights had been cancelled at Heathrow including all BA domestic departures. BA has announced that passengers whose flights had been cancelled would be entitled to a full refund.

The Met Office said they expected the fog to start clearing during the night and a BA spokesman said it was hoped things could begin to return to normal today. There are likely to be more delays even if the weather does improve because crews and aircraft will need to be relocated.

* TRAINS

Rail passengers trying to make their Christmas getaway had to endure standing-room only conditions on many services yesterday. Already fully booked trains were packed with travellers whose flights had been cancelled trying to reach their destinations before the 58-hour rail shutdown begins on Christmas Eve. Train operators lifted ticket restrictions and some extra services were laid on. Although engineering work has been kept to a minimum there will still be significant disruptions today on East Coast mainline services to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen with bus replacement services between York, Grantham and Doncaster. There will be no trains from Portsmouth Harbour to Petersfield, Fareham and Chichester from today. There will be no available seats on Eurostar services from Waterloo until late this afternoon.

* AUTOMOBILES

A serious accident closed the A303 at Mere in Wiltshire and caused misery for drivers heading to the West Country yesterday. There were two accidents in poor visibility on the M25 and long queues on the M1 in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

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