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Heathrow Airport like a ‘refugee camp’ after weather disruption

People were stranded in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport after the heavy snow caused flight cancellations. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire People were stranded in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport after the heavy snow caused flight cancellations. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Saturday, January 19, 2013
9:11 AM

One hundred flights have been cancelled at Heathrow so far today in a hangover from yesterday’s snowfall.

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Travellers were forced to sleep on floors. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA WireTravellers were forced to sleep on floors. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

But the runways have re-opened, a spokesman confirmed. Sixty-seven of the cancellations are departures.

Simon Calder, travel editor of the Independent, said Heathrow looked like “a refugee camp”, with people sleeping on the floor.

Mr Calder said people were angry at the lack of information and the short notice of flights being cancelled.

He told the BBC people were stuck on planes “for many hours” last night as they waited to take off because the rate at which planes departed was dramatically cut.

There are delays of up to 20 hours on flights arriving from Europe, he added.

A spokesman for British Airways said: “We have unfortunately had to make a number of cancellations today, mainly due to knock-on disruption from yesterday, so we’ve got a number of aircraft out of position and it’s quite a complex operation to put that back together, so that’s what we’re working on at the moment.”

Commenting on the number of flights affected, he added: “It’s in the region of 30. Those are predominantly short-haul flights to domestic and European locations.”

BA is now offering customers who no longer wish to travel this weekend the chance to rebook their flight for a later date.

It is also providing refunds and overnight accommodation to those who could not fly, or letters for them to make a claim at a later date.

Meanwhile, Gatwick Airport is operating as normal today, with no knock-on from yesterday’s bad weather, a spokeswoman said.

No major cancellations are expected, and 505 flights are scheduled for the day.

“We are advising passengers to check their plans before they travel, and urge people who are travelling this weekend to be aware that there could be disruptions at airports across Europe or in other parts of the UK,” said the spokeswoman.

Stansted Airport announced via its Twitter feed: “Overnight snow clearance means flights operating as normal this morning @STN_Airport. Passengers can check flight status on airline website.”

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