Thousands seek alternative flights as wintry weather sweeps across Britain #Business [Video]

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Thousands of airline passengers are urgently seeking alternative flights as another bout of wintry weather sweeps across Britain.  Bristol Airport has been closed because of heavy snow, and will not open until the afternoon at the earliest. It told travellers: “Despite all the efforts...

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Thousands of airline passengers are urgently seeking alternative flights as another bout of wintry weather sweeps across Britain. 

Bristol Airport has been closed because of heavy snow, and will not open until the afternoon at the earliest. It told travellers: “Despite all the efforts of our snow clearing team, the runway will remain closed until 12.00.

“Please contact your airline for specific flight information.”

More than 50 flights have been cancelled so far and a Ryanair arrival from Malaga was diverted to Birmingham. The worst affected airlines are easyJet, Ryanair and BMI Regional.

Among the cancellations are winter sports services to the Alps and links to the Canary Islands, for which alternatives will be difficult to find.  

Dozens more flights are delayed, which is likely to result in many more cancellations later in the day.

More than 10,000 airline passengers booked to fly to or from Heathrow Airport have had their flights cancelled because of wintry weather.

Almost flights have been proactively cancelled in a bid to allow other flights to keep to schedule.

Once again, a large majority of the flights grounded by cold weather are with British Airways. The airline has cancelled a round-trip from Heathrow Airport to New York Newark and 66 short-haul flights, with travellers booked on alternative departures.

British Airways told passengers: “We have merged a small number of flights travelling to or from Heathrow Airport.

“During cold weather conditions, aircraft have to be de-iced prior to departure to ensure that they are safe and additional measures are taken to ensure the safety of our operation is maintained at all times.”

The airline is allowing passengers booked on Sunday to postpone to Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday without penalty. 

But with many flights delayed, thousands of travellers will miss connections as the day progresses.

Aer Lingus, a sister airline to British Airways, has cancelled one round trip to both Belfast and Dublin.

Lufthansa has cancelled one departure from Heathrow Airport to each of its hubs, Frankfurt and Munich, while its budget subsidiary Eurowings has grounded a flight to Dusseldorf.

Air France, KLM, Swiss and TAP Portugal have each cancelled a round trip from their hubs at Paris CDG, Amsterdam, Zurich and Lisbon respectively.

On Saturday, more than 100 flights were cancelled from Heathrow Airport, along with others at Gatwick and London City airports.

Travellers whose flights are severely delayed or cancelled due to bad weather cannot claim cash compensation – but the airline must provide meals and if necessary accommodation, until the journey can be completed.

Reaching Heathrow Airport is proving difficult for many, with all Heathrow Connect services being suspended between London Paddington and the airport and half the Heathrow Express trains cancelled.

GWR, which connects Paddington with the West of England and South Wales, warns: “Trains across the whole Great Western Railway network may be cancelled, delayed or revised.

“Customers are advised not to travel as where trains are cancelled, road transport will not be provided due to the poor road conditions.” Passengers with tickets dated for Sunday 18 March will be able to use their tickets tomorrow on Monday.

TransPennine Express reported: “A large snow drift in the Chinley area means the line between Stockport and Sheffield is blocked. Road vehicles have not been requested, due to the weather conditions, they are proving hard to source.”

Northern Rail passengers face a range of problems, with many trains across the Pennines and into Derbyshire suspended. In addition, some lines are closed because of pre-planned engineering work and replacement buses are unable to run.

The worst-affected train operator is Island Line, which runs a short route on the Isle of Wight – currently complete suspended. 

The operator says: “Tickets will be accepted on local buses, however you will need to catch them from main roads only, as they cannot access side roads.”

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