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to not understand why anyone would spend four days sleeping in aan airport?

(29 Posts)
wannaBe Tue 21-Dec-10 09:18:33

This morning on the news they were talking to people who have been waiting for flights out of heathrow. People who are clearly resident here so not talking people who are trying to leave to go home. They spoke to one couple who said "we've been camped out here for four days and this is just ridiculous," they went on to say that they'd been sleeping on the floor of the terminal building..

Seriously why would you do that? It's been made fairly clear that the airport is closed at least twelve hours at a time so it's not as if it's suddenly going to reopen and that flight you were supposed to be on is going to be reinstated asap.

I can sort of understand it if you're not resident here and waiting to go home but if you have a home to go to in the UK then why not just go there instead of sitting around playing the marter on the news?

crazycatlady Tue 21-Dec-10 09:30:00

I think the problem is communication. From what I can tell people are not being told anything or able to obtain information from their airline by phone, so staying in the airport on the offchance of a flight (especially since it's not actually snowing) might seem the right thing to do.

I'm sure if they had known it would be 4 days they would have gone home!

TattyDevine Tue 21-Dec-10 09:32:56

I think I would have given up by now too. Even if it meant losing money - you'd have to pay more more than a couple of grand to sleep at an airport for 4 days with my 2 kids therefore I would have given up at some point before then.

It probably invalidates travel insurance if you just give up or something, I dont know, perhaps its seen as you cancelling the contract or something so I suspect its generally the hope that some of the holiday being salvaged coupled with the fact that money will be lost if its not.

AngelZigzagsSparklyYuletideLog Tue 21-Dec-10 09:34:20

I'm sure nobody would just sit about in an airport for four days just to martyr themselves for the news.

How can you tell they're from the UK?

I bet most aren't, with all the hotels and other accommodation booked up to the hilt, and roads heavily snowed under, where else can they go?

BeenBeta Tue 21-Dec-10 09:35:02

I have a feeling that behind the scenes there is a legal attle going over who is liable for the costs of this. Airlines dont want to cancel flights because they have to refund the tickets and the airports dont want to accept liability either so are claiming force majeur and that is why no one is saying anything to passengers.

The law needs clarifying here - and for once the EU could do somethng useful here.

expatinscotland Tue 21-Dec-10 09:37:05

No idea.

When we were stuck in Amsterdam earlier this year, just waiting for a later flight, we got to talking to a S. African couple who were also waiting for a later flight to London (we were headed to Glasgow). We joked about just bailing and finding a hotel, but the man pointed out that he actually couldn't leave the airport because he had only a transit visa. His wife was naturalised so could come and go and their children were British born after she'd naturalised so could also come and go), but he was well and truly stuck.

MaudOHara Tue 21-Dec-10 09:40:02

Could also be people who have flown in from other UK airports to get a long haul flight from LHR - they've nowhere else to go and can't afford a hotel?

wannaBe Tue 21-Dec-10 09:49:11

iirc after the volcanic ash crisis the deal with travel insurance is that if you're not available for a flight when it becomes available that invalidates the policy. But even if the airlines aren't giving news to the passengers there is plenty of coverage on the news/twitter/the internet, and in this age of everyone having smart phones and every airport having an internet cafe we're not exactly in a situation where people are beyond communication.

It has been stated quite clearly this morning that travel isn't likely to return to normal until after the new year, so there's really no point in staying at the airport if you have a home to go to.

And these people clearly stated they were waiting to go on holiday not waiting to go home.

MumNWLondon Tue 21-Dec-10 10:01:43

My brother was supposed to be flying (overseas on holiday) with British Airways on sunday, the flight was on when he woke up at 4am but luckily he checked again before he left his house at 5am and it was cancelled, so they didn't go to the airport and went back to bed instead.

He said that flights just got cancelled, not delayed and it was YOUR responsibilty to find another flight if you still wanted to go. He said much easier to call BA/be on website from home than from mobile.

He managed to get booked on another flight tomorrow... he said he didn't understand why anyone would be at the airport unless they were waiting for connecting flight (ie couldn't easily go home). I assume that most people at the airport don't have the option of going home or don't know anyone in London to stay with.

FindingAManger Tue 21-Dec-10 10:16:32

for lots of people the flights from Heathrow to where they live in the UK will have been cancelled (as have many trains/roads etc) - so they probably can't get home, or fear if they make it home they won't make it back to Heathrow.

Plus initially they said the airport would be reopening Sunday, back to normal Monday etc etc.

What I don't get it don't these people have travel insurance? So why not camp out at one of the many airport hotels? Perhaps they are all full?

edam Tue 21-Dec-10 10:22:15

Aren't operators legally obliged to provide food and drink if your flight is delayed by a certain amount? And put you up in a hotel overnight if necessary? So why are they leaving people to sleep on the floor? I'm sure there's an EU Directive about this.

LaWeaselMys Tue 21-Dec-10 10:46:27

Flights are starting to come in now I think, but I reckon they are all daft too.

I would never have expected to be able to fly in blizzard weather, I would've gone home before the first night tbh. It's not like you're going to enjoy your holiday that much after days sleeping on a floor while fights break out around you.

Especially the people with kids.

LaWeaselMys Tue 21-Dec-10 10:47:32

They are providing food and drink but the hotel's are full, and people won't go home so they're on the floor.

QueenStromba Tue 21-Dec-10 10:51:00

There is an EU directive edam but I'd imagine that the hotels are pretty booked up this time of year anyway - the airlines can't magic hotel rooms into existence.

TheParasiteofChristmasPast Tue 21-Dec-10 10:53:15

alot of them are desperate to see family, get home. give them a break

pumperspumpkin Tue 21-Dec-10 10:54:28

A colleague's boyfriend is stuck at Heathrow. They shut the doors not only to people getting in, but also those getting out. (Presumably if you started screaming "you are illegally detaining me" and threatening to call the police, you could get out, but I think at that point you're considered entirely on your own and given up your chance of getting on a plane.)

LunaticFringe Tue 21-Dec-10 10:57:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MainlyMaynie Tue 21-Dec-10 11:01:03

DH was stuck at another European airport. Yes, the airlines are obliged to put you up in a hotel but a) all the hotels were full and b) there was a 6 hour wait to talk to a member of staff to get info on how to use the hotel/food cover. (He managed to get home on a ferry in the end).

When I got stuck at an airport in the ash in the summer, I had to stand in a queue for 5 hours to check-in and they were covering their food/drink obligations by handing out free bottles of water. I was grateful for it as it was bloody hot in that queue!

I doubt people have been there for 4 days to go on holiday, these are people desperate to get to their family for Christmas thinking staying at the airport is their only chance. Hardly unreasonable of them.

LaWeaselMys Tue 21-Dec-10 11:05:07

There was a man on the radio 1 news yesterday who was getting ready for his 3rd night there with young daughter to go to Disneyland.

So yes, there are people there waiting just to go on holiday!

Obviously I understand people trying to go home. Connecting flight people would be in a seperate area surely?

BuzzLightBeer Tue 21-Dec-10 11:14:54

why assume they could get home? you might recall that snow is a bad thing for cars as well as plains and that not everyone lives within an hour of heathrow.

BuzzLightBeer Tue 21-Dec-10 11:16:10

planes even

KatyMac Tue 21-Dec-10 11:16:32

I just hope mine is cancelled before I leave; so I can stay at home not be nearly 4 hrs away

edam Tue 21-Dec-10 11:16:34

pumpers - bloody hell, what about fire regulations?

Malificence Tue 21-Dec-10 11:19:34

If they have any sense they will only allow people going home onto flights, I know it can't be nice to have your holiday ruined but people travelling home should get priority.
What infuriated me was that Madonna and her entourage were allowed off a plane that all other pax were left sitting on for four hours, that's disgusting.

LaurieFairyonthetreeEatsCake Tue 21-Dec-10 11:21:47

I thought that they could suddenly re-instate the flight and if you weren't there and checked in you were screwed.

I assumed people were there in case they suddenly put flights on - if you left you might not get back in to the airport.

If I had booked Christmas abroad at a cost of £3000, put the dog in kennels, not ordered Christmas food I would be very pissed off to be at the airport for 2 days with flights cancelled/delayed and then go home - to then discover that a day later they were running the flight but they weren't letting people into the airport.

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