Standstill at Stansted

A few days away over half term with the family had been in the diary for ages.  With stormy weather forecast in London, we were excited to be escaping off to Portugal for a short while.  

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I knew something was up as soon as we arrived at Stansted Airport on Sunday morning.  Some flights were being cancelled and the storm had obviously played havoc with the fuelling system.  Nothing was taking off or landing. Bizarrely, however, we also spotted a plane-full of people taxiing towards the runway…

… and another …

… and another …

There must’ve been more than a dozen planes that we saw heading down the taxiway; just sitting there, since still there was nothing taking off. 

Airport staff had no idea what was going on and were pretty unhelpful.  The only announcements that were made concerned flights that had already been cancelled. No other information was provided. 

Instead, Stansted continued to pack people into planes and lead them out onto the taxiway.  I read on Twitter that many of the passengers who had been boarded were not offered even a glass of water even though they were sitting there for hours.  Not only is that an inhumane way to treat passengers but it's also totally unnecessary.

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Luckily, we had clocked what was going on and we made the executive decision to book a different flight from charming Gatwick, knowing we’d be able to recoup our money from Ryanair due to the delays. Time will tell how long they take to repay it! 

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Communication is so important.  Of course if flights are delayed or cancelled because of weather related issues, that’s disappointing but understandable.  But being left in the dark, marooned in a terminal or worse on a plane on the tarmac for hours on end, without food or drink and without any information about whether flights would actually leave is not what anyone deserves.   

London should not be let down by one of its main airports, Stansted, behaving in such a way. They should be ashamed that they failed to provide even the most basic information. This is not a one-off; a trawl thought Twitter shows this happens every month, with delays and no information.  Stansted showed itself on Sunday to be without doubt the worst, least helpful airport round London.