British travellers looking to get away for the first weekend of the summer vacations were hit with severe delays at Stansted Airport as thunderstorms caused chaos at the Eurotunnel in Folkestone. The storms caused delays and cancellations across Europe, which lasted from Friday night to the early hours of Saturday.
According to airport officials, ATC had to implement restriction due to the bad weather and advised travellers to keep an eye on their flight status.
Some passengers reported delays of 9 hours and over. Many of them took to Twitter to vent out their frustrations. One passenger, an Aaron Barriscale, tweeted that not a single member of the airport staff was present to offer help, despite people queuing up. The passenger also mentioned that he and his fellow travellers were forced to miss their flight due to a backlog of people at the bag drop.
Thank you @Ryanair and #StanstedAirport for being the most disorganised and unhelpful people ever. Because of the insane backlog of people at bag drop we missed our flight and in our whole time queuing up, not one member of staff was anywhere to be seen. Disgraceful! pic.twitter.com/zgjaXuKEhC
— Aaron Barriscale (@abarr3000) July 28, 2018
Another passenger, an Abigail Watt tweeted that Stansted was in a “mess.” Apparently, it took her more than an hour to complete the check-in process. From there on, things supposedly got worse because the plane was located in a different place.
Stansted offers an explanation
A Stansted spokesman issued a statement mentioning that the cancellations and delays were a result of the restrictions put in position by ATC due to adverse weather conditions. The spokesperson added that the current delays would lead to further delays and that the restrictions applied to airports across Europe.
Though the airport remained operational, passengers were asked to check their flight status just in case. The spokesperson mentioned that continued delays were a “likely” scenario due to the restrictions.
It is believed that the queues at the terminals were caused by passengers who chose to stay back and re-book their flights. However, things did get better later on and the queues were contained within the check-in areas.
Other airports hit by delays as well
Stansted wasn’t the only airport to be affected. Gatwick issued a notice that adverse weather conditions across the continent had affected inbound and outbound flights. The airport requested travellers to monitor their flight statuses.
However, it was the Eurotunnel that was affected the worst, with queues building up at Folkestone till the third day. Passengers reportedly had to experience delays of 2 hours and over on Saturday morning. Eventually, a notice was sent out requesting travellers to avoid turning up too early or too late for their crossing. For some travellers, the delays lasted longer than 5 hours.
Thunderstorms had caused chaos across the UK at the start of the weekend, after several months of extremely hot weather. In fact, the country went through one of its hottest seasons in 4 decades prior to this.
The heat meant that several holidaymakers had planned to travel for the weekend. Predictions suggested that it would be one of the busiest periods for the airports. Almost 2000 flights were scheduled to depart from all of the major airports in the UK. However, the sudden thunderstorms played spoilsport.