Storm Caroline: 50,000 British Airways passengers stranded after severe weather causes cancellations and diversions

Hundreds of flights grounded due to bad weather

Estimated 50,000 British Airways passengers left stranded after extreme weather

Monday, December 11, 2017

It is estimated that 50,000 British Airways passengers have been left stranded by the ongoing weather chaos that has covered the UK and much of Europe in snow.

The Independent has suggested that 27,000 BA passengers have been left stranded in London, 20,000 in European airports and a further 3,000 in other UK airports and countries as a result of the current inclement weather. 

On Sunday night at Heathrow, BA's operation almost completely shut down with 140 short-haul departure flights and 26 long-haul cancelled.

Before dawn on Sunday, torrential rainfall meant that staff were unable to begin de-icing until the first flights were scheduled to leave. This meant that delays formed quickly, and by 7am planes were already departing almost four hours late. 

As sleet and snow started to fall, planes that had already been prepared for departure had to be de-iced again before they could take off.

By 10am, BA had cancelled 10 flights in order to allow the staff to catch up and to prevent further cancellations later in the day. As the day went on, however, further problems arose.

Planes unable to depart blocked the stands, whilst those that had managed to arrive were unable to unload their passengers, leading to queues on the tarmac which were exacerbated as space ran out, causing in-bound flights to be diverted.

Following the weekend's bad weather, it could take several days for BA's backlog of flights to be delivered and to get all passengers to their desired locations. 

The airline is currently offering those passengers booked onto flights departing between December 11 and Decemer 18 the chance to re-book on alternative flights, free of charge. Those stranded had to find accommodation for themselves or choose to sleep on terminal floors.

British Airways is telling passengers "Temperatures have remained low, and safety is our number one priority, there is a requirement to de-ice every individual aircraft before it departs. We are sorry for the difficulties caused by the poor weather and will do all we can to minimise the effect it has on our operations."