Many passengers faced upsetting delays over the weekend as numerous flights from Manchester Airport faced significant delays or cancellations amid icy weather conditions. The airport was also forced to close two of its runaways due to safety concerns.

Closed runways at Manchester Airport

Saturday 10th December saw travellers waiting for hours on end as their flights were continuously delayed, with many facing excessive waits for luggage and left without a place to stay. The hassle ensued despite the runways being cleared on Friday.

Initially, passengers were informed that two of the runways would temporarily close due to excess slush and snow that needed to be removed. Airport bosses insisted that health and safety were paramount; however, managers were able to reopen one runaway at 11:30 am. This allowed some services to resume, although passengers were advised to check with their airlines for the latest information.

A vehicle shovels up snow on one of Manchester Airport's runways
Manchester Airport was forced to close two of its Runways on Saturday | © Gary Oakley

Excessive delays

One family caught in the disruptions included Manchester residents Gary Ord, 45, and his young son Jack. After saving for years, they were scheduled to fly out to Malta on Saturday – a trip which was supposed to be Jack’s first holiday abroad. Their experience, however, got off to a less-than-perfect start. The Ryanair flight, due to take off at 9:30 am, was repeatedly pushed back, first to 11:30 am, then 12:30 pm, and 7:30 pm, before eventually jetting off after midnight.

The family was also disappointed after not a “single member” of Ryanair staff was present during their 17-hour wait, and they had no offers of refreshments or vouchers.

Disappointed with Ryanair’s lack of care, Gary’s wife Nikki complained of the airline’s response, as reported by Manchester Evening News, 

“From home, I tried contacting Ryanair by phone, email, live chat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and no one would talk to me or respond to my questions.”

Ryanair has since released a statement saying, “We sincerely apologise for these weather-related disruptions which are entirely beyond our control.”

Tedious queues

Another unlucky Ryanair flier found themselves in a similar situation when they found that their flight from Manchester Airport was cancelled, only to wait 10 hours for a refund.

22-year-old student, Daniel Jones, had been planning to fly out to Oslo, Norway, on Saturday, for a pleasant two-day break. Unsurprisingly, he did not anticipate still being at the airport hours later.

Passengers that were due to travel on Jones’s flight had been told that takeoff would be delayed only a minute before its expected departure time of 7:45 am. They spent almost two hours waiting on the plane before being told to disembark, after which staff reassured them that they could wait for a new flight. Jones, however, stated that “at about 12, they started announcing flights were cancelled.”

Despite being able to pass the time by interacting with other affected travellers and playing cards, Jones believes that staff at Manchester Airport should have been better prepared for the weather conditions.

Both Manchester Airport and Ryanair blamed the weekend carnage on heavy snowfall and apologised to all those inconvenienced by the delays and cancellations.

Do you think UK airlines and airports should be better prepared for all weather conditions? Let us know in the comments.

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