Storm Isha: Are flights, trains and ferries still affected by extreme weather?

Storm Isha: Are flights, trains and ferries still affected by extreme weather?

Extreme weather events have been causing travel chaos across Europe this winter.

Icy conditions mean flights are cancelled or delayed over fears of slipping on runways.

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Strong winds force rail operators to bring in speed limits or cancel services and can also cause disruption by downing power lines.

Heavy rain and flood alerts can also affect transport systems.

Here is all the latest weather-related travel disruption in Europe and everything you need to know about travellers’ rights to compensation.

Winter storms snarl runways and railways in the UK and Ireland

Hundreds of trains were cancelled on Monday after the latest in a wave of winter storms lashed Britain and Ireland.

Network Rail, which operates most of the network in the UK, imposed a 50mph (80kph) speed limit across almost all routes.

In Scotland, train services were halted on Sunday night and throughout most of Monday morning.

Air passengers have also been affected. Dozens of flights have been grounded following the enforcement of air traffic control restrictions.

Heathrow, London City and Gatwick airports were some of the worst hit by the stormy conditions.

British Airways scrapped a further 28 departures and arrivals on Sunday on top of 36 previously announced on that day.

Dublin Airport said the extreme weather was posing “a significant challenge” to flight operations.

On Sunday, the travel hub cancelled 114 flights and diverted 36 to other airports. One arrival from Lanzarote was forced to re-route to Bordeaux.

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“Due to adverse weather conditions across the UK, temporary air traffic restrictions are in place. Restrictions of this sort are only ever applied to maintain safety,” National Air Traffic Services said in a statement.

“Our teams are working closely with airports and airlines to minimise disruption. Passengers should check the status of their flight with their airline.”

Several ferry crossings were also cancelled.

Heavy rain and wind gusts of almost 100 miles (160 kilometres) an hour resulted in the death of one motorist and left tens of thousands of people without electricity.

The UK’s Met Office weather service issued an unusual blanket wind warning for the whole country before Storm Isha, which reached its peak on Sunday night.

The storm uprooted beech trees in Northern Ireland made famous by the Game of Thrones series and littered roadsides and rail tracks across the country with branches.

Hot on the heels of Storm Isha is more bad weather. Storm Jocelyn is set to unleash more heavy rain and strong winds in the coming days.

Ireland and the UK have been hammered since autumn by a series of gusty and wet storms that have knocked out power and caused flooding along river valleys.

Isha is the ninth named storm since September and Jocelyn, named by the Irish forecaster Met Eireann, will become the 10th.

What are travellers’ rights when flights are cancelled?

When flights are disrupted due to extreme weather, passengers are often entitled to financial compensation.

Travellers whose flights are cancelled or delayed for more than five hours can request a full refund or rebooking on an alternative flight.

If you choose the latter option — or your flight is delayed — the airline must provide you with the following while you wait at the airport:

  • A reasonable amount of food and drink (often provided in the form of vouchers)
  • A means for you to communicate (often by refunding the cost of your calls)
  • Accommodation, if you are re-routed the next day (usually in a nearby hotel)
  • Transport to and from the accommodation (or your home, if you are able to return there)

The airline needs to supply you with these items until it is able to fly you to your destination, no matter how long the delay lasts or what has caused it.

“If you are still waiting to come home, airlines have a responsibility to look after you while you wait,” explains Rob Bishton, Joint-Interim Chief Executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

“This means providing you with meals, refreshments and hotel accommodation. If airlines cannot do this, you can organise your own meals and accommodation then claim costs back.”

Full details of compensation rights can be found on the Citizens Advice site.

What are travellers’ rights when trains are cancelled?

When train journeys are cancelled, passengers are entitled to a full refund if they can’t take the next train or decide not to travel.

If you’re delayed and arrive at your destination more than half an hour late, you’ll normally be able to claim some money back — just make sure you keep your ticket.

How much you can get back depends on which train company you were travelling with when you were delayed.If the operator is part of the ‘Delay Repay’ scheme, you are entitled to compensation — no matter why your train was delayed — of:

  • 50 per cent of your ticket price if you get to your destination between 30 minutes and an hour late
  • a full refund if you arrive more than 1 hour late

If your operator does not offer Delay Repay the conditions differ. If the cause of the delay was not the train company’s fault — for example bad weather — you won’t receive compensation.


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