Severe weather in the UK and the Netherlands and a planned strike in Italy are disrupting a number of flights in Europe Thursday and Friday. In the UK, a storm bringing 80 mph winds has battered much of the country, while in Italy, a planned industrial action at a number of airports has forced the airline to cancel some flights.
Very strong winds across England and Wales this morning. Be aware of longer journey times for the rush hour, especially in eastern parts where gusts over 70 mph are still possible. Here are the highest gusts recorded at 6am pic.twitter.com/juIUmSGX6M— Met Office (@metoffice) January 18, 2018
The Daily Telegraph reports that a severe storm with winds of more than 80mph hit the UK. A Met Office amber warning for snow and ice in Scotland ended at 5 a.m. local time, being downgraded to high risk, while a cold and blustery day is set to continue for the rest of Thursday, causing travel disruptions at area airports, roads and rail lines.
British Airways reports that, due to the high winds, it has slightly reduced its short-haul flight schedule from London’s Heathrow Airport in order to allow greater space between landing aircraft in the high winds.
Airport capacity has been further enlarged. We advise passengers to check their flight status at https://t.co/4dk2gw5YjU, the Schiphol App or to contact their airline. Up until now, 320 flights have been cancelled.— Schiphol (@Schiphol) January 18, 2018
In Amsterdam, the high winds caused the Schiphol Airport to briefly shut down. Flight traffic began to resume gradually around noon local time, and the airport has continued to slowly add capacity since then. 320 flights have been cancelled thus far. Both Delta and KLM are reporting a number of cancelled or delayed flights as a result of the shutdown.
Looking ahead, British Airways reports that it is also expecting a strike by trade unions representing a variety of airport workers in Italy on Friday, January 19. As a result, the airline has canceled a small number of flights. The airline said it will be using larger aircraft on other services to help affected customers, as well as retiming certain services to avoid the strike period at some airports.
A number of airlines have issued change or cancellation waivers as a result of the weather and the upcoming strike.
Customers on British Airways who are affected by either issue can follow the airline’s rebooking and refund policy. If a flight is delayed by five hours or more, travelers can get a refund for the parts of their journey they did not fly. If their flight is delayed by more than three hours and that delay arises from causes within the airline’s control, they can claim compensation. If a traveler’s flight is canceled, the airline will rebook them onto another British Airways flight at no extra charge, subject to availability. Customers who no longer wish to travel can instead opt for a refund, including taxes.
Travelers on KLM, Air France and Delta affected by the weather in Amsterdam can opt for a full refund if their flight was canceled or delayed by more than three hours. Alternatively, they can rebook for travel beginning no later than January 25. The new ticket must be reissued on or before January 20.