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Summer getaways disrupted as extreme weather hits planes and trains

Flights have been cancelled, while ferry and cross-Channel rail passengers faced long delays.

Thousands of holidaymakers suffered travel disruption as extreme weather and high passenger numbers caused cancelled flights and long delays for ferries and cross-Channel trains.

Eurotunnel warned its customers they faced a three-hour wait and 90-minute check-in time at Folkestone, advising people to take plenty of drinking water.

The cross-Channel rail operator blamed “recent severe weather conditions” for the delays, saying that its “shuttle capacity” is still recovering.

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Traffic queueing on the M20 approaching the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone, Kent (John Stillwell/PA)

Budget airline Ryanair said the knock-on effect of Friday night’s thunderstorms, along with air traffic control staff shortages, was responsible for up to 14 cancelled flights out of Stansted Airport on Saturday.

A spokesman for the airport said no other airline had cancelled flights although there were more delays following the UK’s extreme weather and thunderstorms in Europe.

He said long queues shown in pictures posted on social media on Saturday morning were caused by passengers who stayed overnight in the airport trying to re-book cancelled flights with airlines.

Luton Airport and Gatwick Airport also warned of delays and cancellations due to thunderstorms in Europe, advising passengers to contact their airline for travel information.

A Heathrow Airport spokeswoman said: “Due to adverse weather across the UK and Europe, some of today’s flights may be subject to delays.”

Nats, the UK air traffic control service, which was due to handle 8,841 flights in 24 hours, said thunderstorms have affected flights across the UK.

“Nats is working closely with the airports and airlines to ensure safety and to continue providing the most efficient operation possible during this adverse weather period,” a statement said.

“Dealing with bad weather is one of the most difficult things for air traffic controllers to manage.

“Its unpredictable nature means aircraft are not able to fly their usual routes, which results in unusual flight patterns.

“Thunderstorms are particularly disruptive as they effectively block large swathes of airspace because aircraft cannot fly through them.

“Passengers are advised to contact their airline for the latest information on individual flights.”

Meanwhile, there was heavy traffic around the Port of Dover as families headed for summer getaways on the Continent by ferry.

Passengers were told to expect long queues on the roads into the port, with a minimum two-hour wait to get through border checks.

P&O ferries advised its customers to take plenty of drinks, snacks and entertainment for the wait.

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