Adverse weather conditions caused travel chaos across the UK today as flights were grounded by heavy snow and forecasters warned temperatures could plunge to as low as -12C.
Glasgow airport temporarily suspended all flights this morning, with a Lapland-bound flight to see Father Christmas among those cancelled as a result of the weather.
One passenger claimed children were left in tears over the cancellation, while another accused the airport of causing misery. The airport reopened shortly before 10am – though the first departure, an easyJet flight to London Stansted, originally due out at 6.35am, did not leave until 10.30am. The Lapland flight did not take off at all because it would not have arrived in Finland before dark.
Announcing the airport closure early this morning, the Scottish transport hub said teams had been working through the night.
“Flight operations are currently suspended due to heavier than forecast snow,” the airport said on X, formerly Twitter. “Our winter teams have been working through the night and we hope to resume operations as soon as possible.”
One passenger wrote in response: “The whole country knew it was going [to] snow, so why weren’t you prepared? You have caused misery [by] closing the runway, which has resulted in Tui cancelling the Lapland flight.”
Another wrote: “Plane load of crying weans, due to see Santa in Lapland, leaving the airport now due to your total mismanagement.”
It came as forecasters warned temperatures could drop to -12C overnight and the Met Office issued warnings for snow and ice across the country, with several sporting events being cancelled.
A yellow warning was in place from 6pm on Saturday to 12pm on Sunday covering much of the Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and North West of England, and North and Central Wales.
The Met Office also issued an amber warning for snow in Cumbria for Saturday, warning 10cm-15cm of snow would be possible in some areas before showers begin to ease overnight.
It warned of further disruption to transport and infrastructure in the area of North West England, adding that there was a “good chance that some rural communities could become cut off”. Power cuts were also likely, with other services, such as mobile phone coverage, expected to be affected.
The Met Office said travel delays on roads were also likely and could leave some vehicles and passengers stranded. The forecaster said there will probably be icy patches on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths, resulting in “some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces”.
It added that Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highland regions of Scotland were likely to see the lowest temperatures on Saturday night with -12C possible in some valleys in these regions. Some football matches in the FA Cup and Scottish divisions have been postponed as officials deemed some pitches unsafe, with more cancelled games expected.
At Glasgow airport, journeys to London Heathrow and Amsterdam were among those cancelled as the airport closed for more than nine hours and snowploughs were deployed to clear the runway.
Many inbound flights were diverted, delayed or cancelled. The inbound Wizz Air flight from Budapest landed at Edinburgh, while a Ryanair jet from Malaga touched down in Prestwick.
Glasgow airport later posted on X: “Our runway is now fully operational again and we are working with our airline partners and their handlers to resume flight schedules.”
Under European air passengers’ rights rules, airlines that cancel flights for any reason are obliged to get travellers on the next available departure – even on a rival carrier – and provide meals and, if necessary, hotel rooms.
Rail options are limited due to the strike by train drivers belonging to the Aslef union, which is today taking place on LNER – halting most Anglo-Scottish services on the East Coast main line.
Glasgow Central station is experiencing severe delays due to heavy snow, with normal services not expected to resume until 2pm.