As the effects of another terrorist outrage reverberate through the travel industry, thousands of travellers will wake up this morning in places they do not wish to be. Some are trying to reach Paris but have been thwarted by flight delays and cancellations, while many tourists currently in Paris want to leave for fear of trespassing on the city’s grief as it mourns the dead.
Dozens of flights to and from the French capital were cancelled or delayed on 14 November, partly as a result of decisions taken on Friday night. News of the events in the French capital reached the US just as the early-evening wave of flights to France was departing. One Air France flight from New York to Paris was turned around in mid-air; after an hour on the ground at JFK airport it took off again again for the French capital where it landed safely. But American Airlines cancelled a service from Dallas, while its flight from Chicago ran four hours late.
The Brazilian airline TAM delayed its flight from Sao Paulo to Paris by four hours. The corresponding return services also ran late, and some French domestic flights were up to two hours late.
In the French capital, with attractions from street markets to Disneyland Paris closed after the attacks, thousands of tourists scrambled for seats on trains and planes out of a city in lockdown. The Foreign Office advised British travellers still in the city “to exercise caution in public places and follow the advice of the local authorities”.
Transport operators offered passengers who were booked to travel to Paris the chance to postpone or switch destinations without the usual penalties.
Eurostar and easyJet warned passengers departing from Paris to allow extra time for tougher security checks.
At Gatwick, bomb-disposal experts were called to the airport’s North Terminal after what Sussex Police described as "suspicious actions by a man who discarded an item at the airport”. The terminal was evacuated, causing delays and cancellations affecting thousands of passengers.
Detective Superintendent Nick May said: "Given the events in Paris on Friday evening, there is heightened awareness around any such incident and it is best that we treat the matter in all seriousness.”
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