According to reports from top British airlines, extreme fog in London led to the delays of several flights from three of the city’s key airports during the last week of December 2016. Passengers planning to travel for the Christmas weekend were met with bad news on the morning of 22nd December as Gatwick, London and Heathrow were held up with flight delays that were caused by severe weather conditions.
A spokesperson from Heathrow mentioned that some of the early flights from the airport had to be rescheduled, which led to knock-on delays for the rest of the day. British Airways took to Twitter to state that they were well aware of the situation and requested passengers to update themselves regarding their flight status by checking it online. The airline also mentioned that there were only a handful of spare seats left due to the heavy Christmas bookings and cancellations were unlikely. The tweet went on to read that 3000 passengers were affected and that if flights were cancelled, the passengers of the cancelled flights would not get re-booked onto the next flight as the original passengers of said flight will be prioritised.
At Gatwick, it was reported that around 5 to 6 flights from the previous night were re-directed to other airports. The reasons given for the diversion were fog and runway maintenance. The reports came from a Gatwick spokeswoman, who also added that normal services resumed the following morning (23rd December) and that the airport has been accommodating flights re-directed from London.
Speaking of flight cancellations, 20 short-haul flights were cancelled at the Heathrow airport. These flights were either scheduled to land or depart from the busy airport. Many of these flights belonged to British Airways, which has the maximum number of operations here.
Some of the cancelled British Airways flights included those headed to Milan, Edinburgh, Basel, Amsterdam, Brussels, Newcastle and Aberdeen. Similarly, Aer Lingus’s operations also fell victim to cancellations, with flights from and to Shannon, Belfast, and Cork being cancelled. Lufthansa flights from and to Frankfurt were cancelled as well. Gatwick and London saw the cancellation of departures to Glasgow and the Isle of Man respectively.
The delays occurred just prior to Storm Barbara, which, as predicted, caused quite the damage in the following days. Scotland was badly hit by the storm, with most of the damage being caused by the strong winds. However, warnings about the storm were provided well ahead of time. According to Graham Madge, a Met Office spokesperson, weather warnings can, fortunately, be given much ahead of time, which gives people enough room to make changes in their travel plans.
The UK Coastguard had also provided warnings regarding the storm. Rose Greenhill, Area Commander, mentioned that the coastguard always provides advanced warnings and advise people to keep themselves updated on weather conditions.
In the event of fog-related delays or cancellations, passengers are not entitled to any flight delay compensation. However, they are entitled to accommodation and meals from their respective airline.