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to be annoyed that Heathrow is still basically shut?

(18 Posts)
goinggetstough Sun 19-Dec-10 08:55:50

In the modern world is it not amazing that a busy international airport like Heathrow who has just spent 6 million pounds on de-icing and snow moving equipment is still shut except for a few flights leaving today? Of course planes shouldn't fly if it could be dangerous but surely this situation shouldn't haven't arisen as we haven't had that much snow yet.
PS Thank you to all the people that worked through last night trying to clear the runways etc.

altinkum Sun 19-Dec-10 09:00:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purepurple Sun 19-Dec-10 09:01:01

DH explained to me last night (in great detail, yawn) that the systems on the aircraft are very delicate and very susceptable to air temperature change.(He works in aviation)
So they can clear the runway, and sort the engines but it's all the other high-tech stuff that is affected by the cold.

OhYouSnowySnowyKitten Sun 19-Dec-10 09:02:46

Cold comfort?
We aren't the only european country struggling.

tomorrowsanotherday Sun 19-Dec-10 09:04:13

I do find it incredible that we can send men into space but not keep an airport open in the snow. But safety has to come first and I can just imagine the uproar if planes were taking off and god forbid there was a serious accident.

Niceguy2 Sun 19-Dec-10 09:05:23

Plane's are also frozen in their parking place so can't move even if the runway is open. That and many other airports in Europe who are used to dealing with snow are shut due to weather too.

So whilst I understand your senitment, in this case I think YABU.

Having had one of the most turbulent flights I've experienced recently I'd much rather a plane didn't take off than repeat the butt clenching exercise I went through. I've had plenty of flights where people clapped upon landing but never have I heard people cheering and thanking the lord and Jesus Christ!

ChippingIn Sun 19-Dec-10 09:07:00

Have you actually seen the news footage of the airport? It's incredible. The HUGE snow clearing machines look like ants - they have done a brilliant job of finding the runways but they are still getting snow and when they aren't they are still icing up. Those tiny tyres, that much weight - do you really want them going at that speed up a runway until they stop icing over? Really?

geordieminx Sun 19-Dec-10 09:08:11

what about countries where it is cold 60% of the time? Alaska? Canada? Iceland etc?

How do those airports cope in temperatures of -20?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 19-Dec-10 09:09:23

It all sounds a huge nightmare and huge sympathies to anyone trying to get to family or waiting for people to return.

Read the link about Frankfurt. If the Germans are in that situation then we had no chance really as they are very used to snow conditions. We're hoping to visit my brother in Thailand next Christmas but are thinking it may be an idea to rethink the timing of visit as only takes something like this and you're up the creek.

chibi Sun 19-Dec-10 09:11:14

I used to live in the canadian arctic

Planes can and do take off, land and fly in snow and extreme cold as long as the runways are clear and deicing equipment exists

having said that I have no idea what the facilities are like at heathrow, and it is a hell of a lot busier than an glorified shack on the shores of hudsons bay

They will be doing the best with what they've got

RiojaLover75 Sun 19-Dec-10 09:14:01

Nice that sounds very scary shock.

I think going is being very unreasonable, planes should NOT take off if the conditions are bad just as people should not be driving around unless their journeys are essential.

Shopping is NOT an essential activity in dangerous weather conditions.

foxinsocks Sun 19-Dec-10 09:14:10

Heathrow is overcrowded and underdeveloped. It needs massive investment but politically, no-one will push that forward because of the green lobby. No-one wants that investment till things like this happen and affect their holidays. It is full to capacity so when something like this happens, it hits it v hard and takes a hell of a long time to recover.... But when the issue of the 3rd runway gets brought up again next year, it wont get anywhere. While Heathrow can't expand, it will always be susceptible like this!

goinggetstough Sun 19-Dec-10 09:19:14

Rioja I think I did say that safety should obviously come first. My comment was that I was amazed in this day and age that an airport should be shut for two days when I believe there is no more snow forecast for 24 hours. Friends sat on the tarmac for 6 hours on Friday waiting to take off and they were told the delay was due to the fact they had run out of de icer!! I was querying the planning.

ClaireDeLoon Sun 19-Dec-10 09:20:00

SIL stuck in NY she was due to fly back today, does anyone know if the airline has to provide you with a hotel room?

goinggetstough Sun 19-Dec-10 09:21:27

Claire, I think it depends on the airline. At Heathrow they were giving out blankets, water etc according to the news.

OhYouSnowySnowyKitten Sun 19-Dec-10 09:29:36

I guess it doesnt take too many cancelled flights to fill all the available hotel rooms.

ClaireDeLoon Sun 19-Dec-10 09:37:43

Yes might be more of a problem here as obviously every flight from Heathrow cancelled but in NY only some Europe flights cancelled. Fingers crossed she gets a hotel.

Just had a look at BBC news site and they were saying about a lady with her 3 young grandchildren having to sleep in the departures lounge at Heathrow and she said the bars were open, people drinking and it got nasty. Awful situation

goinggetstough Sun 19-Dec-10 11:44:40

Poor lady. I hope she gets to fly soon.

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