Snow has fallen across large parts of the country over the past couple of days, leaving roads closed, trains delayed, flights cancelled and all-round chaos in the run up to Christmas. Have your plans been affected?
On Sunday morning, much like large parts of the UK, I awoke to see a blanket of white covering my garden, the trees and even a snowdrift up the windows.
I knew the snow was forecast, but I had blindly ignored the severity of it. For me, that was hardly a problem as my grandest plan for the day was to cook a roast while writing my Christmas cards.
But for others, the pretty snow covering was more like snowmageddon that rocked-up to ruin their plans.
Planes, trains and automobiles
If you were brave enough to venture out onto the roads, then you may know that snow closed motorways and major routes for parts of yesterday and today too – a friend of mine spent seven hours driving what would normally be a 45 minute journey to work due to road closures. A full working day before he’d even started!
For those heading to the airport (once they finally got there) many faced severe disruptions, with delays having rolled into a second day. Those hoping to travel in or out of Heathrow with British Airways are thought to be worst affected. Frustratingly for British Airways passengers, while most rival airlines managed to operate out of Heathrow on Monday, British Airways has been cancelling flights.
When flights are delayed or cancelled, under Denied Boarding Regulations (EU 261), airline passengers are entitled to:
- two free phone calls, faxes or emails,
- free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay,
- free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required
The regulations also require that your airline lets you choose either to rebook onto a different flight with them, or onto another airline flying to your destination at no further cost to you, or to cancel your booking a claim a full refund.
BA has confirmed that it will rebook passengers on alternative flights and, importantly, that this will include booking seats with other airlines so that passengers can travel as soon as possible.
If those passengers were granted with the Christmas gift of auto-compensation then it would be far easier for them to re-route their plans and book with a different airline.
Trains have also been subject to delays and cancellations since yesterday. My neighbours shared their frustration with me as they were unable to travel into London for a much anticipated family trip to watch Christmas panto yesterday.
All day, the trains bounced from running OK to being delayed and then cancelled. There’s no clear route for a refund or compensation for ruined Christmas plans due to severe weather, so I suppose they just had to make do with building a snowman instead 🙂
So, were your plans grounded by the snow? Have you had to cancel and rebook any travel plans?