Chaos on roads, rail and in the sky... it must be Easter

Strikes in France and Spain set to leave tens of thousands of passengers stranded at home

Tens of thousands of people hoping to spend Easter abroad found their travel plans in tatters yesterday, frustrated by a French air-traffic controllers' strike.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled and many others delayed by the industrial action, which is in protest against plans to cut jobs at France's regional hubs.

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair between them cancelled more than 200 flights – mostly to and from France, but with other destinations affected by the controllers' stoppage. Departures from Liverpool, Luton and Gatwick to Nice were among those cancelled, with severe delays on other routes – an Alicante-Glasgow flight was seven hours late.

EasyJet told passengers that it had "been forced to make a large number of cancellations and many other flights are subject to delays". The airline grounded more than 100 flights.

Around 90 Ryanair flights were affected. British Airways cancelled far fewer departures, but some passengers from Gatwick to Spain, Italy, Algeria and Holland found their planes grounded.

Many people took to Twitter to vent their frustration with the disruption.

"French strike has caused disruption across Europe. My Gatwick to Manchester flight has been cancelled. On a coach to Heathrow," wrote Martyn Bryant.

"Check in desk at Gatwick is a total joke. Six people on for nearly 200 passengers," wrote another traveller.

Thousands more passengers who were hoping to be home for Easter turned up at airports across France and beyond for their return journey, only to learn that their flight had fallen victim to the controllers' dispute.

Many holidaymakers who found their flights abruptly cancelled could be waiting days for alternatives. As the Easter getaway gathers momentum, flights are heavily booked.

Passengers flying from Stansted over the Easter weekend have seen the threat of a baggage-handling strike lifted. The GMB union and Swissport, the ground-handling company, issued a joint statement saying: "We will continue our talks in an attempt to reach a joint consensus."

British Airways' partner, Iberia, has already cancelled eight flights between Heathrow and Madrid on Easter Monday as the battle between the Spanish airline's management and pilots intensified. The pilots' union has called strikes every Monday and Friday from Easter until 20 July in a dispute over a new low-cost subsidiary, Iberia Express, which is taking over loss-making routes.

Holidaymakers who decide to stay in Britain, and travel by train, could also face frustration. While Maundy Thursday is traditionally the busiest day of the year on the railway, the Easter weekend – and particularly Sunday – is usually very quiet.

Planes, trains and automobiles: UK's transport meltdown

* French air traffic strike has grounded 200 flights to and from the UK, with many other passengers hit by delays of up to seven hours. Iberia flights to Madrid on Easter Monday axed due to pilots' strike.

* Engineering works will disrupt the UK railway network over Easter. On the West Coast main line, some journeys between London and Liverpool are scheduled to take nearly eight hours.

* Trunk roads in Aberdeenshire and elsewhere in Scotland closed due to heavy snow yesterday, with more disruption predicted for today in Grampian, Central Tayside and Fife.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent