Yesterday, travel disruption struck the UK due to heavy fog, following disruption the day before due to austerity strikes across Europe. The fog cause flight cancellations, some rail disruption and trouble with road travel. Even ferries had to be suspended for the morning rush hour.
Dozens of flights were delayed and cancelled over Thursday – with 78 flight cancellations at Heathrow Airport and at least 20 more at London City Airport. Passengers were advised to check on their airline’s websites for schedule updates before going to the airport.
A Heathrow Airport spokesperson said that 39 inbound and 39 outbound flights had to be cancelled for the day, but other than that, services were operating without delays. British Airways had to cancel about 30 of these services. The carrier said that customer safety is their top priority, and because of this, they have cancelled some short-haul services amid foggy conditions. They have been getting in touch with the customers who have been affected, giving them the option to rebook or claim a refund. The airline also advised that passengers check their website for the most up-to-date information.
There was severe disruption at London City airport during the morning, with most of its flights being diverted, delayed and cancelled. Some of these included inbound services from New York, which had to land at Gatwick Airport instead. Just a handful of flights operated as normal – like those to Amsterdam and Venice. However, a spokesperson said the fog was lifting, and they expected services to return to normal by 5pm. They refused to put a number on the affected flights.
On top of this, Southend Airport faced disruption due to what it called “inclement weather”. easyJet diverted some services from Southend to Stansted Airport, which was operating as normal. Some other cancellations included services between the airport and Ireland. Furthermore, Norwich Airport was affected by the weather as well, and some of its flights were diverted, delayed and cancelled. A spokesman said that passengers could stay updated on the status of their flights by checking the online arrivals and departures information on their website. He added that they hoped to get aircraft on their way as soon as the fog cleared.
Airports seemed to be hit the hardest, as pilots can’t take off or land if they can’t see where they’re going. However, some rail services were disrupted as well. The Docklands Light Railway, which serves London City Airport, suffered severe delays. Despite this, Network Rail said that its rail services were unaffected. Additionally, Woolwich Ferry services were suspended during the morning rush hour, but the company resumed its services soon after.
Road travel was a different story – much like the disruption to flights. Three lanes on the M25 were closed for an hour in the morning, stalling traffic. The M60 and M4 both had traffic jams after car crashes closed two lanes on each motorway. On the M6, a car fire caused delays, while the A40 was closed due to a broken down vehicle at Barnard Gate, which jammed up traffic on the A34 and A1. A lane on the M80 between junctions 5 and 6 was closed, while others were closed on the A38 and A45 as well. Police were warning drivers to be careful and were pulling over motorists if they looked to be putting themselves and other road users in danger.
A Met Office spokesperson said that the fog accumulated overnight – mostly in the Midlands and East Anglia. The fog was due to clear during the day, but some areas would clear slower than others. Patches of fog were expected to remain through the night, but the morning isn’t expected to be as bad as yesterday.