Hundreds of flights cancelled in UK as fog wreaks travel chaos

As fog blankets south-east England, airline travellers face a frustrating start to the working week. More than 100 of today’s flights have been cancelled by British Airways – mostly to and from its main base, London Heathrow, and the Docklands airport, London City.

BA is asking passengers: “Please do not come to the airport unless you have a confirmed booking on a flight that is operating.”

Many other airlines have cancelled flights to and from Heathrow, which is the busiest in Europe. KLM, the Polish airline Lot and Brussels Airlines have cancelled their first departures of the day from Heathrow, jeopardising dozens of connections for thousands of passengers.

Most of the cancellations are of domestic and short-haul European flights, but some intercontinental services have been affected – including a United Airlines flight to Chicago. BA’s business-class only flight from New York to London City diverted to Gatwick.

London City is effectively closed, with visibility down to around 50 metres. Flybe, CityJet and Swiss have cancelled multiple operations.

At Gatwick, easyJet cancelled many flights yesterday, with even more are expected today. The low-cost airline has by far the largest number of services at the Sussex airport. It is telling passengers: “We continue to suffer from major network disruption today due to poor weather conditions throughout Europe causing low visibility. This has resulted in a large number of aircraft and crew out of place for flights today. In addition we are seeing a lot of Air Traffic Control restrictions which has resulted in some delays, diversions and cancellations.”

Some passengers delayed at Heathrow overnight by cancellations of flights complained that their airlines failed to provide accommodation, as EU rules demand. Following the massive disruption at Heathrow because of snow at Christmas 2010, airlines were told to have plans in place. But Peter Webster, booked to fly on Air India to Delhi, said he had to fix his own hotel room and pay £40 for a taxi to reach it. He told The Independent that the airline staff seemed unable to cope with the cancellation: “There was no attempt to communicate what they were doing.”

Among arrivals, the Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi has been diverted, though the airline has not revealed where it has landed.


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