Eurotunnel four-hour delays due to ‘extreme weather’


Passengers are experiencing four-hour delays at Eurotunnel because of “extreme” weather conditions.

Holidaymakers face a long wait at Folkestone as the shuttle service deals with “restricted shuttle capacity” because air conditioning on some of its trains has failed.

At Stansted, restrictions placed on flights overnight due to thundery weather have had a knock-on effect into the morning, leading to delays and cancellations.

A Eurotunnel spokesman said: “Waiting time due to restricted shuttle capacity caused by the extreme and prolonged high temperatures.

“Ticket sales for travel today currently unavailable.

“The prolonged and unprecedented temperatures in the South East of England are affecting the air conditioning on board our shuttles. Due to the high level of traffic booked, we are currently unable to check-in any customers arriving more than two hours before their booked crossing time.

“We strongly recommend that you stock up with water and take a comfort break prior to arriving at our Folkestone Terminal.”

At 11am, a new update told people to expect delays of two-and-a-half hours, for low-sided vehicles, and four hours for high-sided ones.

Those crossing the channel by ferry may also be delayed by up to two hours at the Port of Dover.

A P&O ferry tweet explained: “Please be advised that there are long queues on the approach roads into the Port and it’s taking at least 2 hours to get through Border Checks. Rest assured that if you miss your sailing we’ll get you on the next available ferry. We’re very sorry for your wait.

“If you’re travelling to the Port of Dover today please note that we expect long queues. We advise you bring plenty of drinks, snacks & entertainment for your wait. Toilets can be found in the terminal building and there are portable toilets in front of Border Controls.”

Some were forced to go back home after missing their flights
Image: Some were forced to go back home after missing their flights
Crowds have been forming throughout the day
Image: Crowds have been forming throughout the day

A later tweet added: “We would like to apologise to all passengers currently affected by traffic congestion in Dover. Please rest assured, we are working closely with all port authorities to clear these queues swiftly and will accommodate you on the first available departure once you get to check-in.”

Extra crossings were put on to accommodate the number of passengers.

Poor weather also impacted Stansted, leading to restrictions on flights, and the knock-on effect has resulted in delays and cancellations.

A spokesman for Stansted insisted there had been “no cancellations but there are delays because of the knock-on effect and some restrictions because of storm activity in Europe”.

He added: “All the advice is, if you are due to travel today, check with your airline about your individual flight.”

However, its online live departures board showed several flights had been cancelled including ones to Budapest, Lisbon and Oslo, and Ryanair told Sky News it had cancelled 14 flights.

Passengers hoping for some information from the Stansted boards
Image: Passengers hoping for some information from the Stansted boards

A Ryanair spokesman said: “”Due to thunderstorms in Stansted last night (27 July), Ryanair were forced to cancel a number of flights. The knock on effect of this and ATC staff shortages has caused further disruptions today (28 July) including delays and cancellations.

“Affected customers have been notified by email and SMS text message and advised of their options of a refund or free move to the next available flight. Ryanair sincerely apologise for these weather and ATC disruptions which are entirely beyond our control.”

Gatwick and Luton airports are also facing delays as a result of the adverse weather.

At Heathrow, a spokesman said there “seem to be minor delays”.

Queues in the Eurotunnel terminal on Friday, when there was also disruption
Image: Queues in the Eurotunnel terminal on Friday, when there was also disruption

Nats, the UK air traffic control service, said in a statement: “Nats is working closely with the airports and airlines to ensure safety and to continue providing the most efficient operation possible during this adverse weather period.

“Dealing with bad weather is one of the most difficult things for air traffic controllers to manage.

“Its unpredictable nature means aircraft are not able to fly their usual routes, which results in unusual flight patterns.

“Thunderstorms are particularly disruptive as they effectively block large swathes of airspace because aircraft cannot fly through them.”

Mark Coxhead tweeted to Stansted: “I think there are about 10,000 customers who deserve some kind of explanation for the complete meltdown of your systems and communication tonight.”

Tom Happold, director of Happen, told Sky News: “I’ve missed my flight with my family. I’ve got two kids with me and my wife.

“It’s complete chaos here. There’s lots of arguments, babies crying, lots of pushing and shoving.

“There’s a lack of staff both from the airport and the airlines. Nobody knows where they’re going, where they’re queuing, people are getting to the front of the queues and then finding the flight is shut, which is what happened to us.

Delays at Stansted have caused chaos on Saturday morning 0:48
Video: Tom Happold explains the chaos at Stansted

“We got to the front of the queue and found out the travel company we are with hadn’t been in touch with our airline, but we can’t call them because they don’t open until 9am.”

He said many people were sticking it out, despite getting to the front of the queue and finding their flights shut.

He said: “If they just had a few more staff it would just work so much better.

“We are trying to find out what we can do because we have missed a flight. There’s no information on the tannoy here, some of the staff are helpful but there’s so few of them.

“We only know anything about the weather because we are looking it up. Couldn’t they have brought more staff in today?”

Mr Happold and his partner Susie Steiner eventually decided they would have to go home.

She tweeted: “We missed our flight and are having to take tearful children home instead of on holiday. Couldn’t get near dep gates. Devastated.”

It follows a string of travel problems for Britons as thunderstorms and rain hit after weeks of high temperatures.

More from UK

Thousands of tickets for Eurotunnel were cancelled on Friday, with the rail operator blaming weather again.

Lightning damaged signalling systems in York, causing problems for services on Northern and London North Eastern Railway (LNER).

From – SkyNews


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