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Freezing fog grounds a number of flights from Belfast to London

By Rebecca Black

There has been anger among Ulster holiday makers after their plans to celebrate the New Year in London were grounded due to freezing fog.

A number of flights to London airports from both Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport were cancelled on Friday.

The cancelled flights included services operated by British Airways, Flybe, Easyjet and Ryanair to airports including London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton and Southampton.

Co Antrim man Craig Lutton told the Belfast Telegraph he and his family have missed out on his planned New Years celebrations in London due to the chaos.

He said their trip had been booked and looked forward to since Feburary.

They had been booked on to a Flybe flight to London City Airport due to depart at 1.25pm on Friday, but instead he left the airport to return home to Ballymena on Friday evening.

“Totally devastated missing our family trip to London for NYE,” he said.

“No one for answering questions. A shambolic day, George Best would have been ashamed of his airport!”

Mr Lutton said it was not confirmed that the flight was cancelled until 4pm leaving a number of passengers extremely frustrated.

He is a music student studying in London and said while the flight he has been offered will get him back in time for the new term

Belfast man David McCleery was also due to be on the same flight, and described the scenes as “chaos”.

“We checked in, then no info until we were told flight cancelled at 4pm,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“Totally understand the problems with weather, but the airport lack of management was disgraceful with no-one prepared to take ownership of the total chaos - only a few junior airport staff sent out with no info to pass on - and it was really unfair on them to be put in that situation amongst hundreds of stranded passengers.”

Mr McCleery currently lives in Bristol and had been home in Belfast for the festive season.

“I managed to get help by contacting Flybe on Twitter - and got them to rebook me on a flight to Exeter tomorrow (Saturday) - as it looked like that was the only way of getting back to England before 2 or 3 Jan (I checked all airlines, from both Belfast airports, Derry, Knock and Dublin!).

“I was due to go to Suffolk for NYE but have cancelled those plans, as by the time I get back to London, it will be too late to head up to Suffolk!”

A spokeswoman for Flybe said the airline has "experienced disruption to a number of its flights to the South of England today due to heavy fog".

"Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are being accommodated on the next available flight or offered a full refund," she said.

"Passengers who are delayed for two hours or more will be given refreshment vouchers in the airport by airport staff.

"Flybe regrets the inconvenience experienced due to the adverse weather conditions that are entirely out of its control.

"The safety of its passengers and crew is the airline’s number one priority and it would like to thank its customers for their continued patience."

The blanket of fog covered the south east of England on Friday causing cancellations and delays at major airports.

A spokesman for Belfast City Airport said it remained fully operational, but the adverse weather conditions in southern England caused a number of flights to be cancelled.

A spokesman for Belfast International Airport confirmed flights had been cancelled there too.

He advised passengers hoping to travel to London this weekend to keep in contact with airlines for further information.

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