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‘Disgraceful’: Kids sleep on airport floor as flights delayed by snow

Travellers described being ;left to fend for themselves’ amid flight diversions and delays of up to five hours

Ella Doyle
Tuesday 13 December 2022 12:00 GMT
Gatwick chaos: Passenger reveals she's been stranded at airport for 17 hours

Children at Gatwick and Stansted airports were left to sleep on the floor after snowfall caused travel chaos across the UK.

A number of airports closed runways following the snow on Sunday night (11 December), and travellers saw flights diverted and cancelled.

James Brookbank, a father of three children aged three, seven and eight, toldSky News that after their Ryanair flight to Helsinki was diverted to Brussels, he and his family had to sleep on the floor.

“Disgraceful doesn’t cover it,” he said. Mr Brookbank claimed Ryanair did not offer adequate support to his family, adding that there was “nobody from Ryanair, no vouchers, no communication" when they arrived in Brussels at 3am.

He said they were “just fending for ourselves really”, with “children, people of all ages strewn across the floor”.

Derek Hills, meanwhile, waited at Bristol airport for three hours after his easyJet flight from Milan to Gatwick was diverted there, and claims he was told to “make our own way home and reclaim the money”.

“I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to be able to do that, many others didn’t,” he added, noting that he arrived home at 4.30am “£300 lighter” and “extremely tired”.

Another passenger, Gemma Craggs, had an Emirates flight cancelled from Gatwick to Dubai. She said service following the cancellation was “incredibly poor”, and that travellers were left to “fend for themselves”.

Ms Craggs was flying to Mauritius for her honeymoon. The trip had already been delayed by two years due to Covid.

She was told her flight was cancelled following a three hour delay. At that point, airport shops were shut, nearby hotels were fully booked and trains were no longer running.

She described crowds of people, long queues and “people with tiny children that were just crying”, before she and her partner gave up and took an Uber home.

A spokesman for easyJet told Sky News: “We did everything possible to minimise the disruption for our customers and were advised they will be reimbursed for their onward travel and any other expenses they may have incurred including accommodation and meals.

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority and while this is outside of our control, we would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused as a result of the weather.”

A spokesperson for Ryanair saidthat “affected passengers have been notified and advised of their options” following the extreme weather, adding: “As the snowy weather continues across the UK, our teams are working hard to minimise disruption to customers.

“We sincerely apologise for these weather-related disruptions which are entirely beyond our control.”

An Emirates spokesperson told The Independent: “Emirates can confirm flight EK009 from Dubai to Gatwick Airport on 11 December was diverted to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport due to the closure of London Gatwick Airport for snow removal. Due to ongoing slot delays from Amsterdam, a night stop was declared for EK009.

“The flight departed from Amsterdam to Gatwick and the return flight, EK 10 was subsequently delayed and left Gatwick yesterday evening, 12 December, at 21:15hrs local time. During this time, we have been working hard to support our customers and get them to their destinations as soon as possible. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

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