Snow chaos leaves hundreds stranded at Bristol International Airport
Hundreds of passengers were left stranded at Bristol International Airport after horrendous weather conditions elsewhere in the UK and Europe meant flights had to be cancelled.
Snow at airports across Britain and the Continent meant eight easyJet flights due to leave the Lulsgate airport were grounded yesterday, while five due to arrive were cancelled when planes were unable to take off. Other flights were diverted to Bristol because of the conditions at airports in the South East.
This afternoon another seven easyJet flights were cancelled, for Amsterdam, Glasgow, Rome, Milan, Madrid, Berlin and Edinburgh.
The flights cancelled yesterday were from Bristol to Inverness, Nice, Geneva, Amsterdam, Milan, Newcastle and two to Paris, forcing more than 700 passengers to make alternative travel plans.
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A Continental Airlines flight to New York was delayed for more than seven and a half hours because of a heavy snowfall at Newark Airport, and a number of other flights suffered shorter delays.
The check-in lounge at Bristol International was full as passengers queued for hours to try to book alternative flights and make other arrangements.
Many were offered coaches to Liverpool, Gatwick and Luton airports, while others were given hotel rooms.
The bad weather caused havoc for hundreds of passengers who were trying to visit their families for Christmas.
Bob and Christine Marks were driven to Bristol International from Portsmouth by their son yesterday morning so they could catch a 1.55pm flight to Inverness.
The couple were going to visit their heavily pregnant daughter in nearby Elgin.
Their flight was due to go ahead when they left Portsmouth, but by the time they arrived at 10.45am it was cancelled.
Mr Marks, 67, said: "We queued for an hour and a half to see if we could change our flight.
"Finally we got a flight to Glasgow, and it was delayed as well.
"All being well our son-in-law will travel down from Elgin and pick us up.
"We were extremely annoyed and dissatisfied.
"A bit of warning would have been OK, as it would have saved us a two-and-a-half-hour car journey.
"Since we have got here it has been chaotic.
"The girl on the easyJet counter was helpful and said they would put us up overnight, but we took the Glasgow flight.
"But the whole room was full of people milling around, and they just couldn't cater for it."
Igor Kuiper, 40, had been holidaying in Bristol with his wife Edna and twin babies Ieuan and Ceynwen, and they were due to fly home to Amsterdam.
They checked in for their 3pm flight, but at 2.30pm were told it was cancelled.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Kuiper, 40, said: "We had to pick up our baggage and wait to find out what was happening."
He said they were eventually offered a coach to Gatwick Airport, where they could get a flight.
He added: "These things happen, and it is not easyJet's fault.
"They gave us vouchers for a meal, and we are just killing time."
Chris Hazell, 22, from Bradford-on-Avon, was due to fly to Nice in France with his mum and sister to visit family.
But when their easyJet flight was cancelled they had to get a coach to Liverpool, where they will stay until they fly tomorrow morning.
Mr Hazell said: "The flight was due to leave at 1pm, but when we arrived at 11.30am we found it was cancelled.
"We queued for two hours to try to rearrange our flights, but we couldn't re-book anything.
"The easyJet staff were really helpful and gave us coffee vouchers."
EasyJet spokesman Andrew McConnell said: "As a result of significant snowfall across the UK and parts of Europe, easyJet has experienced disruption this weekend.
"A small number of our flights were cancelled from Bristol Airport, due to the knock-on effect of this disruption.
"We sincerely apologise to customers who have been affected by this disruption, and are doing everything we can to minimise cancellations and delays.
"Passengers should be aware, given this is a busy time of year, there is little availability over the next few days, so passengers whose flights have been cancelled today may not be able to transfer on to flights for a few days."
Jacqui Mills, spokeswoman for Bristol International Airport, said delays could continue over the coming days.
She said: "Bristol International is working hard with the airlines to reduce the impact to customers.
"Customers are advised to keep up-to-date by checking their airline's website."