European Airports Cancel Hundreds of Flights After Huge Winter Storm
50,000 passengers were stranded at Heathrow alone.
December travel to the U.K. just got a little less merry.
According to The Independent, more than 50,000 travelers on British Airways, the busiest airline at Heathrow Airport, ended up stranded in London after a winter storm made deicing operations nearly impossible until the first flights of the morning were scheduled for take off.
And British Airways was not the only airline hurting from the adverse weather. Out of all the airlines flying out of Heathrow, 300 flights ended up canceled on Sunday and over 130 have been canceled so far on Monday, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.
Many flights from Europe, including some from Paris, Iceland, Finland, and Athens were sent to Newcastle, while planes from Zurich, Zagreb, Vienna, Gibraltar, Nice, and Madrid went to Cardiff, Wales.
Other flights also were rerouted to Paris, Dublin, and Frankfurt. Many passengers have taken to social media to complain about the confusion.
However, BA is offering passengers booked to fly on Monday (Dec. 11) the option to re-book on alternative flights up to Monday, Dec. 18, for free.
The winter storm didn’t only disrupt flights at Heathrow. Other airports in the U.K. including London Stansted and London Luton also needed to suspend flights to clear runways.
In parts of western Europe, airlines like Lufthansa, KLM Austrian Airlines, and Swiss Airlines also canceled flights to and from their hubs, according to USA Today.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in particular faced incredible cancellations due to the weather, with over 400 flights canceled and a few hundred more delayed on Sunday. Frankfurt Airport in Germany also reported comparable flight issues, which made matters worse for travelers who were rerouted there. Most weather-related cancellations at both airports were improved by Monday.
Always check your flight schedule before heading to the airport this winter — and be ready with a Plan B.