Friday, 1 Mar 2024

British passengers' misery trapped abroad as UK airspace is crippled

Holidaymakers reveal nightmares stranded across Europe because of UK traffic control meltdown with some facing 12 HOUR delays, planes stuck on tarmac and airport shelves stripped of all food and drink

  • BBC presenter Gabby Logan among those trapped on plane in Budapest
  • UK air traffic control LIVE: Follow for latest updates following air traffic failure 

British passengers stranded across Europe due to the UK’s air traffic control meltdown have shared their misery of being trapped on planes in searing heat with some facing 12 hour delays and airport shelves stripped of food and drink.

Holidaymakers, people attending hen dos, and a family travelling back from Disneyland are among those stuck on stuffy planes on the runway with one person being told there is at least a seven hour delay. 

Gabby Logan is one of those trapped on a plane on the runway at Budapest airport after NATS, the national air traffic controllers – based in Swanwick in Hampshire – said their system had failed.

Mrs Logan was flying back home following three weeks in the Hungarian capital where she was presenting the World Athletics Championships for the BBC alongside Jessica Ennis-Hill, Denise Lewis, and Michael Johnson. 

Writing on her X page, formerly known as Twitter, to her 450,000 followers, Mrs Logan revealed how she was agonisingly close to ‘hugging her family’ again. 

Beth McKendrick, 26, (left) and bride-to-be Elizabeth Spadea, 25, are currently stuck in Palma airport after spending time in the Spanish city for a hen do 

Beth McKendrick on a hen do with her friends in Palma before the ‘utter chaos’ at the airport with ‘people running back and forth between gates’

Passenger Eric Parzianello is on a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, which has been delayed by the air traffic control outage 

TV presenter Gabby Logan said she has been left stranded on the runway at Budapest Airport 

‘On a plane on the runway at Budapest airport,’ she wrote. ‘After almost 3 weeks away from home I am hours from hugging my family. 

READ MORE: ‘Huge network failure’ hits UK air traffic control: Nation-wide system failure causes chaos for travellers that could last DAYS

‘And have just been told UK airspace is shut. We could be here for 12 hours. So we sit on the plane and wait.’

Planes already airborne are currently able to land at the airport but are not being allowed to take off, the Welsh presenter said. 

But it appears she has tried to keep in high spirits by making light of the situation as she joked: ‘Now regretting my decision to miss breakfast.’ 

Only hours earlier Mrs Logan had posted a picture taken inside the National Athletics Centre to her Instagram page.  

The picture showed herself, Jessica Ennis-Hill, and Denise Lewis all wearing green outfits standing next to Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson wearing a blue shirt. 

She wrote: ‘One more night in Budapest with this lean green studio machine and @mjgold4 who didn’t open the WhatsApp in time to choose the right wardrobe (that was a joke this is a strange coincidence) @realdeniselewis @jessicaennishill @melissabourne @thembithems. 

‘NB I have nude underwear on under my @cefinnstudio dress but it looks white! Clearly I need to buy a green bra.

Sarah Massey is currently stuck on a Ryanair plane in Lanzarote hoping to fly back to Newcastle. The flight should have taken off at 11.40am

Simon Cullen is currently squashed in ‘like sardines’ on a British Airways flight at Thessaloniki in Greece 

David and Wendy Hewitt from Leigh-on-Sea, and Kevin and Debby Judd from Billericay are returning from their holiday in Fuertaventura

A long queue of passengers queueing outside the terminal in Mallorca following today’s air traffic control outage 

‘Also I have my @verifinerings RL necklace on for those asking.’

READ MORE: UK air traffic control news LIVE: Latest as flights grounded after airspace failure sparks chaos in ‘network-wide’ problem

Beth McKendrick, 26, is currently sitting on the floor of Palma airport with bride-to-be Elizabeth Spadea, 25, having been at the Spanish city for a hen do. 

She is trying to get back to Stansted and has described the situation as a Bachelorette trip from hell. 

‘When we attempted to jet-set back to the UK, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of an aviation nightmare,’ she told MailOnline. 

‘The entire air traffic control system in the UK has decided to take an unexpected bank holiday, leaving us stranded delayed for days on end. You might be thinking, ‘Surely, Ryanair saved the day!’ Think again. Not a peep of communication, let alone compensation, from the airline. Classic.

‘It’s utter chaos, people are running back and forth between gates.

‘They haven’t told us anything. The Ryanair app is still saying it’s boarding at the correct time. I don’t think we’re leaving today.

‘We arrived on Wednesday and endured the storm. We were right in the middle of the tornado actually.

‘The bride’s family are from New Jersey and their flight actually set off yesterday but the storm diverted them to Madrid, which is where they are.

One passenger, Danni – who is travelling back to the UK from Lanzarote – told MailOnline she had been told to expect a delay of at least 10 hours

‘It’s just me and the bride now, hungover and sitting on the floor. We’re making a joke of it, all the cafes are full and there’s sounds of screaming kids everywhere.’

Other Brits trapped abroad include Melissa Littlewood who was due to be flying back to London after a family holiday at Disneyland. 

She said: ‘We are on our way back to London from Disneyland and have just learnt we have a minimum of seven hour delay.

‘Waiting to speak to someone from BA [British Airways] to find out what options we have but won’t hold out breath.

‘Two tired and unhappy children with two adults not sure what to do next.’

One passenger, Danni – who is travelling back to the UK from Lanzarote – told MailOnline she had been told to expect a delay of at least 10 hours. 

Simon Cullen is currently sitting on a BA plane in Thessaloniki in Greece waiting to get home and described his situation as a ‘true nightmare’. 

He said: ‘All sitting on the plane waiting to get home. Also one passenger with a nut allergy onboard who is on and off the plane and freaking out the passengers.

‘No idea what’s going on apart from what we see on the news. Also BA business class is terrible with no room at all. Have a leg injury and we are squashed in like sardines.

‘Will never fly with them again and this is now turning out to be a true nightmare and we hope we get home to the UK.

‘Now we have a child in a wheelchair who is on a ventilator and the mother is freaking out as he will run out of air if the plane has to circle and can’t land in the UK.’

Passenger Eric Parzianello is on a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, which has been delayed by the air traffic control outage 

Matthew Tully is stuck at Heathrow waiting on a flight to New York. 

‘They just announced everything is delayed with no time for possible takeoff,’ he said.

Today is one of the busiest days for air travel of the year, making the ‘huge network failure’ all the more disruptive. This is a map showing flights currently in the air across Europe 

Others have complained of having no air-conditioning at some airports abroad with the searing heat making it even more uncomfortable.

Mark Leah said: ‘Delayed 4 hours (hopefully not longer), stuck in holding area to aircraft with no aircon at Porto Santo airport.

‘Just told the LGW flight which departed at 1055am is returning.’

James Hanson told Sky News he’s been stuck on the tarmac at Lanzarote Airport on a flight with Jet2.

‘Cabin crew and pilots limited working hours are nearly up so passengers will have to stay over the night til the next day,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Rob Miall has boarded a TUI flight from Split Croatia to Manchester.

‘Just been told to wait on board for at least an hour,’ he said. ‘It’s getting very hot on here.’

Vladi Ibberson is currently stuck at Sofia airport in Bulgaria. 

‘Two flights for the UK (Gatwick and Luton) are stuck with no information and 37C heat. Wish us luck.’

Susan Gilchrist is currently at Faro airport and said: ‘We were due to take off at 11.25am and sat at the gate for 40 mins, but have now been moved to a remote location.

‘We’ve had no update from this side but a friend is on an easy jet flight also at Faro and has been told to expect a six hour delay.’

BBC reporter Jeremy Gahagan is also caught up in the chaos in Croatia where he has been at a friend’s wedding. 

Although still at the hotel, he said Dubrovnik Airport’s terminal shelves had been cleared of food and drink, he told the BBC.  

Travel expert Simon Calder warned travellers now faced ‘absolute chaos’ – with widespread delays and cancellations. 

Mr Calder told Sky News: ‘What you will find is that if you are on the ground at Heathrow and Gatwick which are the busiest single runways in the world.

‘There is very little slack in the system. It’s going to be miserable. Meanwhile there and hundreds of planes up in the sky heading to the UK.

‘What’s going to happen to those aircraft, will some of them get down if they are in the vicinity of the airfield.

‘Otherwise you will see planes held on the ground in places like Amsterdam or otherwise being diverted if they’re on a longer flight. That would typically be to a continental airport or an Irish airport.’

Mr Calder said the shutdown would not cause safety issues because the system was ‘designed to cope’ with a shutdown and aircraft carried contingency fuel.

But he added: ‘This is of course one of the busiest days of the year. There are hundreds of thousands of people flying into the UK, frankly this is the last thing anyone needs.

‘It will at the very least have caused enough disruption for the system to be in disarray for certainly until the end of the day and possibly for a few further days ahead.’

The travel guru said air traffic controllers at Heathrow – the UK’s busiest airport – will be forced to reduce the frequency at which flights are able to land. 

The news was leaked out by the Scottish airline Loganair, which shared the news on Twitter.

It tweeted: ‘There has been a network-wide failure of UK air traffic control computer systems this morning.’

NATS said in a statement: ‘We are currently experiencing a technical issue and have applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety. Engineers are working to find and the fix the fault.

‘We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.’

Source: Read Full Article

Related Posts