Monday, December 19, 2011

BA gives in to the snow as 500,000 Christmas holidays wrecked



Bleak: A British Airways jet on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport today, which had to shut its runways

Half-a-million Christmas travellers had their holiday plans ruined yesterday as heavy snowfalls caused massive disruption nationwide.

Major airports were shut and motorways left at a standstill.

Families heading for the sun queued for hours at check-ins in a desperate bid to re-book flights as Gatwick and Heathrow were closed for much of the day.

British Airways cancelled all its flights from Heathrow yesterday, hours before snow forced the airport to close.

Snow joke: A snow man sit on tarmac at 'Heathrow's Terminal 5 where many flights were cancelled

As rival airlines flew out, BA cancelled 50 flights, stranding 2,000 furious passengers.

Amid angry scenes, BA customers demanded to know why the national carrier was unable to continue operating before the weather closed runways.

Snow has caused heavy disruption at Heathrow which has closed while runways are cleared

Officials at Gatwick, which was shut by snow for two days at the beginning of the month, seemed to have learned from that crisis as it reopened at 2.45pm after 47 snow ploughs had cleared runways.

Heathrow remained closed last night, despite a huge operation involving 50 specialist workers and 60 snow-clearing vehicles, each worth £250,000.

The M6 ground to a halt after snow caused a lorry to jack-knife. Many spent the night on in their vehicles

The forecast is for more until Christmas and possibly beyond. Tomorrow is due to stay bitterly cold, with snow, sleet or rain in most areas. After a slight let-up on Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures are set to plunge again, enveloping the country in yet more snow, severe overnight frost and freezing fog.

A quarter of all train services were delayed yesterday. Eurostar trips were taking up to an hour longer.

Only two Premier League football matches survived and race meetings at Ascot, Newcastle, Lingfield and Haydock – and today’s at Carlisle – were postponed.

Motorists are going nowhere fast on the A3 near Guildford as one driver clears snow from the front of his van

A motorist looks ahead from outside his vehicle as snow brings traffic to a stand still on the A3 highway from Portsmouth to London near Liphook, Hampshire

A train pulls into Hunts Cross Station, Liverpool in the snow. Many train companies are running an amended timetable

Wintry: Tourists in London struggle in the snow and shelter under umbrellas near Tower Bridge

Beating the freeze: A postman continues his round in the snow near Emsworth, Hampshire

Motoring groups said the South was worst-affected, with drivers suffering most problems within the M25 and in the Home Counties. But no part of Britain was spared and North West England was hit by a ten-inch deluge of snow.

Ambulance patient Daniel Martin, 31, died when the vehicle skidded off a road near Eastbourne and crashed into a bush.

An unnamed teenage girl died in Cork, Ireland, when she sledged down a slope at a golf course and crashed into a tree.

No traffic on the M61 in Lancashire as heavy snow shuts part of the motorway

Snow Palace: Taxis and cars edge there way along a snowy Mall with Buckingham Palace in the background

Winter scene: A lake in St James's Park, Central London. The last time temperatures dropped this low, the Thames and Cam rivers froze over, with students able to skate on the Cam

More Snow in London England 18. 12. 2010

Groudle Glen Railway at Christmas Time in the Snow 2010(2/2)

Snow on The Settle and Carlisle railway Sat 18th Dec 2010.

London Snow December 18 2010 - Swakeleys to Ruislip

source: dailymail [endtext]