Storm Ciaran brings air, rail and sea chaos as travel warning issued

British Airways and KLM have cancelled around 100 flights between them and rail links are closed

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Friday 03 November 2023 07:29 GMT
Storm Ciaran rips through England as waves batter coastlines

Storm Ciaran, the latest bout of bad weather to hit the UK and neighbouring countries, is causing widespread travel disruption – with cancellations and delays expected to last until Saturday.

More than 100 UK flights are grounded. At sea, the worst conditions are in the Channel. Crossings from Dover to both Calais and Dunkirk are suspended.

Dozens of rail links are closed – some ahead of the expected storm, others because of fallen trees or flooding.

These are the key issues facing travellers.


British Airways and the Dutch airline KLM have between them cancelled around 100 flights to, from and within the UK due to Storm Ciaran.

Overnight, BA has increased the number of short-haul cancellations at Heathrow. The airline has grounded 40 domestic and European flights. In addition, all 10 flights are cancelled between Heathrow and Jersey – whose airport is closed all day. Guernsey and Alderney airports are also shut.

The cancellations including two round trips to each of Amsterdam, Belfast City, Brussels, Glasgow and Paris CDG.

A spokesperson said: “Like other airlines, we have had to make schedule adjustments due to the adverse weather conditions across the UK and Europe caused by Storm Ciaran.

“We’ve apologised to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans and our teams are working hard to get them on their way as quickly as possible.”

Passengers are being rebooked on other services, or can take a full refund.

In addition, KLM has cancelled dozens of flights between its hub in Amsterdam and the UK due to reduced runway capacity at the Dutch airport.

The carrier is telling passengers: “Due to the expected weather conditions at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the runway capacity has been reduced on Thursday 2 November. As a result, some of our flights have been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

All 17 UK airports served by KLM, from Bristol to Inverness, have had some departures and arrivals grounded. Almost 50 flights to and from Amsterdam are affected. London City, London Heathrow and Manchester are worst hit.

Passengers are entitled to be re-routed free of charge, with KLM required to provide hotels and meals as necessary until they reach their destinations – although the Dutch airline is telling passengers: “If your flight is delayed and you require accommodation, please find a hotel that meets your preferences.”

Among other UK airports, Southampton is worst hit – with 10 arrivals and departures cancelled in addition to all the Channel Islands flights.


Disruption is possible across the network, but these are the key problems at 8am on Thursday.

Great Western Railway

Late in the morning, GWR announced that the entire Great Western line between Newton Abbot in south Devon and Penzance in west Cornwall is closed.

“The advice is not to attempt to travel on this route before midday and expect significant disruption to continue for the rest of the day.”

No trains will run before this afternoon on several lines:

  • Taunton-Exeter
  • Newton Abbot-Penzance (inclusive of branch lines)
  • Salisbury-Southampton
  • Reading-Gatwick airport


“Work from home if you can. There is a strong risk of fallen trees and debris being blown onto the tracks, with major disruption likely to the service on Thursday morning. Where lines are closed due to the storm it is unlikely that staff will be able to provide rail replacement transport. Teams expect road conditions to be very poor.”

A tree is blocking the line from Croydon to Uckfield.


The first trampoline-related disruption has been reported at Hastings station in East Sussex. Southeastern posted on X: “The trampoline now arriving at Platform 4.... Our friends at Network Rail SE have just had to remove this from the track at Hastings.

“If you've a trampoline in your garden, please make sure it's secure – it's going to be very windy out there.”

More widely, Southeastern ”strongly advises” that passengers do not attempt to travel on the following routes this morning:

  • Ashford International - London via Maidstone East or Tonbridge
  • Dover Priory - London via Canterbury East or Tonbridge
  • Faversham - London via Chatham
  • Hastings - London via Tunbridge Wells or Tonbridge
  • Ramsgate - London via Canterbury West, Faversham or Dover
  • Paddock Wood - Strood


Multiple problems across the network due to flooding and trees on lines:

  • Salisbury-Southampton
  • Ash-Wanborough
  • Leatherhead-Effingham Junction
  • Fareham-Swanwick

London Underground Piccadilly Line

“No service between Acton Town and Rayners Lane while we remove an obstruction on the track at Alperton.”

Transport for Wales

Heart of Wales Line and Conwy Valley Line are both closed on Thursday. A tree on the line between Shrewsbury and Telford has blocked the line through Shropshire


Delays and cancellations between Newcastle and Carlisle due to speed restriction.


From 10.30am on Thursday until Saturday, LNER will not run between Aberdeen and Edinburgh. From 3pm on Thursday until end of service on Friday, half the trains between Edinburgh and Newcastle will be cut. Services that run “will be subject to delays of up to 40 minutes due to a speed restriction in place on this route”.


Many routes are heavily disrupted, with most Channel sailings suspended.

Irish Ferries

Cancellations and delays on Irish Sea and Channel routes – though, unlike other operators, Dover-Calais ferries are expected to operate.

DFDS Ferries

All sailings between the UK and France have been cancelled until late on Thursday night or Friday morning, on the Dover-Calais/Dunkirk and Newhaven-Dieppe routes.

P&O Ferries

The operator said: “Due to Storm Ciaran, our services are suspended until further notice. We are reviewing weather conditions and will resume once it is safe to do so.”

Brittany Ferries

All UK-Spain voyages planned to cross the Bay of Biscay on Thursday are cancelled.

Condor Ferries

All sailings to and from Jersey cancelled until Saturday.


Overnight Portsmouth-Fishbourne services were cancelled, but most sailings are said to be normal on Thursday.

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