UK weather latest: Snow and ice leave travellers stranded, flights cancelled and trains delayed

Two BBC broadcasters were stranded abroad and could not present their Saturday programmes

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
@SimonCalder
Saturday 03 March 2018 19:56
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UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

Thousands of frustrated travellers have endured another day of chaos – with further disruption expected on Sunday as a consequence of the extreme weather.

Passengers trying to get away on holiday from Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh and other airports found many flights cancelled or delayed.

Many easyJet ski flights to Geneva were either cancelled or running several hours late. The budget airline cancelled more than 60 flights to, from and within the UK.

At Edinburgh airport, 34 flights were cancelled out of the 215 planned operations.

Long delays built up at many airports during the day, with one TUI flight to Gran Canaria from Birmingham 11 hours late.

At other airports, some late departures jeopardised onward connections, such as the two-hour delays from Gatwick on Emirates to Dubai, TAP Portugal to Lisbon and Turkish Airlines to Istanbul.

A two-hour delay leaving Gatwick for Hurghada in Egypt, blamed on “air traffic control restrictions”, meant the inbound plane diverted to Milan for the crew to be changed, with arrival at 2am on Sunday – more than three hours late. Passengers were told: “We’re sorry your flight is planned to divert to Malpensa today to swap the crew operating your flight before continuing onward to Gatwick.”

Passengers using Gatwick on Sunday will find the rail line from London closed for scheduled engineering work.

Just after 6am, the first flight to arrive at Dublin for nearly two days touched down. The Qatar Airways flight from Doha was followed by several Aer Lingus transatlantic flights, but dozens of departures between the Irish capital and the UK are cancelled for the day.

Almost all services to and from Cork airport were cancelled, though some arrivals were diverted to Shannon.

Furious passengers complained about the lack of information. Stacey Leeves tweeted: “My partner has been left at Shannon airport! You have NO staff to help at all.

“Been trying to get home since Thursday. He’s now getting a coach to Belfast to travel with a different airline.”

Aer Lingus responded: “We’re sorry to hear you’ve been left disappointed, Stacey. It’s been challenging over the last few days.

“All flights are operating with delays today. Apologies, we can assure you we’re doing what we can to get as many flights away as possible.”

Many Ryanair flights between Ireland and the UK were delayed, with some morning services cancelled.

Two BBC broadcasters were unable to present their regular Saturday programmes. Danny Baker of 5 Live was stuck in Rotterdam after flying there from Amsterdam on a diverted British Airways aircraft.

He tweeted: “At Amsterdam Airport today. Got on delayed plane. Doors closed. Then all told to get off again. Four hours later. Got on again. Took off hour later. Circled London for two more. Then they abandoned that and went back to Holland. In Rotterdam now.”

He later said he had arrived home after “a 45-minute flight that lasted 21 hours”.

On BBC Radio 2, Paddy O’Connell stepped in to replace Graham Norton, who was unable to fly in from Dublin.

Gibraltar airport is closed following a rockfall, which damaged equipment at the airport. Flights are being diverted to Malaga.

Rail services across the UK are gradually improving, but Arriva Trains Wales warned: “The situation is extremely changeable and train services continue to be severely impacted with extensive cancellations and last-minute significant changes.

“The start of service on Monday 5 March is also likely to be severely impacted.”

Dorset is still cut off by rail, and cancellations are continuing in many other parts of the country .

One success was on the east coast main line from Edinburgh to Newcastle, where Virgin Trains East Coast services began running for the first time since Wednesday.

Mark Smith, the rail expert and founder of Seat61.com, was on board the first southbound departure. He had spent three days trying to reach England by rail, and tweeted: “Hello Newcastle, such a welcome sight.”

One through train ran all the way from London to Aberdeen.

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