Fog Disrupts Over 20 Flights at Heathrow Airport

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 19, 2024 11:32 AMNews
Airplane wing above foggy landscape with shadow on the ground
Fog causes severe flight delays and cancellations. Source: unsplash

On an early foggy morning, London Heathrow Airport, the UK's busiest hub, faced significant travel disruptions. More than 20 flights were cancelled due to air-traffic control "flow restrictions," which were implemented to manage the rate at which aircraft could land safely in the low visibility conditions.

British Airways, holding over half the slots at Heathrow, was severely impacted. The airline grounded 18 flights, including domestic departures to Edinburgh and Glasgow, and inbound legs. Additionally, seven European round-trips to destinations such as Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Gothenburg, Faro, and Dublin were cancelled.

Other airlines also experienced cancellations. Aer Lingus cancelled its round-trip between Dublin and Heathrow, Air France cancelled its 9am flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Lufthansa grounded its 9.30am departure to Frankfurt. These flights often carry connecting passengers for long-haul journeys, some of whom were rebooked onto earlier departures.

Passengers affected by these cancellations are entitled to rebooking on any available flight to their destination on the same day. Airlines must also provide meals and accommodation if necessary. British Airways issued an apology, emphasizing their efforts to minimize disruptions and assist passengers in reaching their destinations as swiftly as possible.

The fog also caused delays for inbound flights, with some aircraft experiencing extended holding patterns before landing. For instance, American Airlines flight 50 from Dallas-Fort Worth hovered 20 miles south of Heathrow for over half an hour before it could land.

In addition to the immediate disruptions, Heathrow's management recently criticized government plans requiring international transit passengers to apply for an online permit and pay a £10 fee. This proposal has raised concerns about potential impacts on passenger convenience and travel efficiency.

The unexpected fog at Heathrow not only caused immediate travel disruptions but also highlighted ongoing challenges in airport management and passenger regulations. While airlines and airport authorities worked to manage the situation, passengers were reminded of their rights and the support available during such disruptions.

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