Stansted Airport passengers voice anger after snow and ice leaves dozens of flights cancelled
- Credit: Sophia Sleigh/PA
Passengers at Stansted Airport have told of their “nightmare” after snow and ice forced dozens of Ryanair and easyJet flights to be cancelled or delayed.
Up to 300 passengers had to wait in the terminal on Wednesday evening while trying to rebook flights, with some sleeping in queues through the night and others unable to get return flights home for days.
The airport appeared to be returning to normal by mid Thursday morning, but many passengers whose flights were cancelled on Wednesday remained in the terminal.
Anwschka Weabers, 37, said she was stranded in the UK with her two young children after their flight back to Eindhoven in the Netherlands was cancelled on Wednesday night.
They had been on a four-day holiday to London, and she said her rescheduled flight is not until Saturday.
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“I don’t have a penny in my pocket,” she said. “We’re stuck here.
“I tried to call Ryanair but they don’t pick up - I’m still on the phone, my phone bill is going to be crazy.
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“With two children it’s a nightmare. By myself it would be OK but not with two children.
“They need to have breakfast, they need to have clean clothes, we have nothing.
“They’ve just let us be like homeless people.”
Camie Gornall, 25, said she queued through the night with her husband after their flight back to Stockholm was cancelled.
They had been to the UK to visit her husband’s family for Christmas and she said she was now missing work.
“We were sleeping in the queue here,” she said. “People were everywhere. There were little children lying, trying to sleep.”
She added: “We’ve not had any Ryanair staff speaking to us.”
Paul Watts, 56, was in the UK for a three-day holiday and his flight back to Oslo was cancelled.
He said there was initial confusion about whether his 6pm flight was delayed or cancelled until he said he received a text message from Ryanair at around midnight.
“The queue was up and down the hall three times last night,” he said. “But if you need a flight home, what can you do?
“I don’t know when we’re going to get home.”
Images posted on social media showed people trying to sleep on seats in the arrivals hall in the early hours of Thursday.
There were reports of outgoing passengers having to wait for hours to reclaim their luggage after their flights had been axed, with some complaining of a “shocking” lack of communication by officials.
Stansted Airport officials said they were providing beds and blankets for people stuck at the airport.
A London Stansted spokeswoman said on Wednesday: “Due to adverse weather conditions today, Ryanair and easyJet cancelled a number of flights. There are up to 300 passengers in the terminal waiting to rebook flights.
“Passengers unable to return home are being looked after by Stansted Airport with beds and blankets, and additional help for elderly passengers or those with young children.
“Free food and drinks have been provided to delayed passengers throughout the day.
“All passengers due to travel are advised to check the status of their flights with their airline before travelling to the airport.”
The spokeswoman said 27 inbound and 27 outbound Ryanair flights had been cancelled as a result of the weather.
Stansted said all flights were anticipated to operate as scheduled on Thursday, although passengers were reminded to check their flight’s status before travelling to the airport.
EasyJet confirmed that it had to cancel eight flights to and from the airport and another three were diverted to nearby airports.
The airline said in a statement on Thursday: “Whilst the circumstances are outside of the airline’s control, easyJet apologises for any inconvenience caused.
“We are continuing to review the situation at the airport and would like to reassure passengers that we are doing everything possible to minimise the disruption.
“We would strongly advise that all passengers due to fly with us from London Stansted today check the status of their flights on our Flight Tracker page at www.easyjet.com/en/flight-tracker for real-time information.”
A Ryanair spokesman said in a statement on Thursday: “Due to snow-related runway closures at several UK airports (including Liverpool, Luton and Stansted) we regret we were forced to cancel a small number of flights on Wednesday.
“All affected customers were contacted by email and SMS text message and advised of their rebooking options.
“We sincerely apologise to all customers affected by these weather cancellations and disruptions, which are entirely beyond our control.
“Flights are operating as scheduled today with some minor knock-on delays.
“We advise customers to check the status of their flight on the Ryanair.com website before travelling to the airport.”