Trains, planes and automobiles: Snow causes travel chaos all round

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Trains, planes and automobiles: Snow causes travel chaos all roundGetty


As Britain braces itself for a month of travel chaos due to continued ice and freezing temperatures, a chorus of voices are being raised asking the question: why can't we cope?

Heathrow Airport owner BAA is still under fire after it axed half of all flights at the weekend - despite just three inches of snow and clear runways.

The disruption provided a stark contrast to airports across Europe where, despite record low temperatures, flights took off as normal.

In Munich, temperatures plunged to -27C but no disruption was reported. And passengers from Moscow, where flights took off snow blizzards and temperatures of -20C, were told they could not land at Heathrow.

The airport defended its decision, and Downing Street too jumped to its defence. Speaking to the Daily Mail, a spokesman said: "Last time we had problems with snow, we had significant queues and problems in airport terminals because people were turning up for flights that then didn't run.

"One of the recommendations from the inquiry that followed the experience was that airlines and airports needed to make those judgements slightly earlier to avoid that kind of disruption. That's what happened here.

"One noticeable thing at the weekend was that we didn't see those very long queues snaking out of the airports, because of the decisions that had been made."

Trains, planes and automobiles: Snow causes travel chaos all roundHeathrow winter 2012/PA

When he was asked why the UK appeared to be less well-prepared for snow than other countries which have to deal with much more harsh conditions, the spokesman said: "They obviously have to prepare in a different way because their climate is very different from ours."



Meanwhile on the roads, motorists have been warned to drive with extreme care after a series of accidents in icy conditions.

Trains, planes and automobiles: Snow causes travel chaos all roundPA


A 25-mile long section of the A1 in North Yorkshire was shut for hours following a number of collisions, and The RAC has reported the busiest February weekend in its history, with nearly double its normal calls. The worst affected area was Devon and Cornwall, which had twice the usual number of callourts, while the south of England had more than 80 per cent more breakdowns than usual.

Trains, planes and automobiles: Snow causes travel chaos all roundPA

Even gritters have come to grief. The Daily Mail reports that one was hit by a snowball which smashed a window, taking it off the road at a crucial time.

In pictures: Winter 2012

In pictures: Winter 2012


Have you been affected by travel chaos because of the snow? Tell us your stories below.