Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Nightmare before Christmas: Misery as passengers face being stranded

Passengers wait for flights
A family walking through a forest in the mountains overlooking Belfast in County Antrim
Heavy Snow on the Glenshane Pass on Tuesday 28th Oct 08. Photo by Conor McDonald, Maghera

Snow has continued to play havoc with Christmas plans as blizzards struck parts of Scotland and south east England and a thick fog hung over Belfast International Airport.

A flight to Edinburgh was cancelled due to the snow causing thousands of passengers to fear their Christmas plans could be ruined.

Rev Dr Eric Culbertson, rector of Newmills Church of Ireland parish in Dungannon, his wife Kay and 17-year-old daughter Sarah had been hoping to get home from Belfast International Airport to Edinburgh .

“We were up very early this morning for a 7am flight. My daughter fell asleep on the plane and when she woke up to people getting off the plane, she thought we had landed in Scotland, but sadly not.

“We are planning to spend Christmas with my wife’s father and my other daughter Mary is travelling up from Canterbury to join us there — we are just hoping we manage to make it. People are starting to get a bit crotchety because of the early start but we are keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to make it.”

Isobel Wylie from Londonderry had planned to spent Christmas with her daughter in Edinburgh.

She got to Belfast International Airport at half five yesterday morning only to find out that her flight had been cancelled. I couldn’t believe it, I thought the flight would most likely have been delayed because of the snow, but I was not expecting it to be cancelled. My Christmas plans are ruind,e” she said.

“My son is travelling from London up to his sister in Edinburgh. I hope he isn’t experiencing any of the problems that I have.”

Andrew Smyth was flying from Liverpool to City of Derry Airport with Ryanair yesterday afternoon to spend Christmas with his family in Limavady but the flight was diverted to Dublin Airport after heavy fog closed Derry Airport.

Twenty minutes before the plane was due to land at Derry, passengers were informed of the possibility that their flight might be diverted and when the fog failed to clear they were told they would be flying to Dublin.

Mr Smyth said: ”When we landed at Dublin, we were told to go to arrivals which we did and then they told us to go to the Ryanair sales desk.

“When we got there we were told to go downstairs and then we met some woman who told us to go to the other side of the airport to get a bus. We then waited outside about 45 minutes for the buses to arrive.

“It’s an absolute disgrace. I don’t understand why we couldn’t land at Belfast City. It seems ridiculous to suggest that the runway at Belfast would be unsuitable for our flight when we were supposed to be landing at Derry City, which is a much smaller airport.”

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