Travel News

Easter travel warning: Storm Nelson brings bank holiday chaos as planes can’t land and flooding cancels trains

UK: Storm Nelson heavy snow hits Devon ahead of Easter weekend

Britons hoping to get away for the Easter bank holiday weekend have had their plans dashed as Storm Nelson leaves planes unable to land and trains cancelled.

The Spanish-named storm is expected to bring 70mph winds to some coastal areas of the UK as the country gears up for a wet long weekend.

Great Western Railway closed multiple lines on Thursday due to flooding. All lines between Westbury and Swindon were closed due to the disruption and the main line from Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads was also closed.

People looking to fly to their destinations this weekend have also faced disruption as some planes have struggled to land amid the strong winds.

Two million holidaymakers are set to take flight over the weekend, with one airport bracing for “record-breaking” passenger numbers.

Dramatic footage showed an easyJet flight wobble on the runway before aborting a landing at Gatwick Airport at around 12:30pm. It landed ten minutes later successfully.

For motorists, the RAC warned that journeys on the road could take up to twice as long as usual this weekend as 14 million people are expected to set off.

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In pictures: Passengers queue for ferries at the Port of Dover in Kent

(Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

(Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

(Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

Tara Cobham29 March 2024 08:16

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Manchester United fans risk being stranded after kick off time change

The match is due to kick off at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday 30 March at 8pm GMT.

The kick off time is just two minutes before the last train is scheduled to depart London St Pancras for Manchester Piccadilly. London Euston is not in service this weekend because of engineering works between London and Milton Keynes.

Tara Cobham29 March 2024 08:00

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Manchester Piccadilly station almost deserted

One of the UK’s busiest rail hubs, Manchester Piccadilly, is extremely quiet this morning. Two of the key routes from the station are closed for Network Rail engineering work: the West Coast main line to London Euston and the main trans-Pennine route to Huddersfield and Leeds.

From Manchester to London, the journey time is nearly doubled to around four hours. Avanti West Coast trains are running as far south as Milton Keynes Central, from where rail replacement buses are running to Bedford for a connection to East Midlands Railway.

Buses are also replacing trains between Manchester and Huddersfield.

Disruption on other lines began early, with Northern trains from Manchester Piccadilly to the airport delayed.

One week from today, no Avanti West Coast trains will run because of a strike involving train drivers belonging to the Aslef union.

One of the UK’s busiest rail hubs, Manchester Piccadilly, is extremely quiet this morning

(Simon Calder / The Independent)

Simon Calder, Travel Correspondent29 March 2024 07:21

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Stansted airport cut off from London by rail

Passengers heading for the UK’s fourth-busiest airport, London Stansted, face big potential problems this morning. The Stansted Express railway line from the capital to the airport is not running, with “major disruption” expected until 10.30am.

A falling tree brought down overhead wires near the station of Stansted Mountfitchet. Some trains are running to Bishop’s Stortford, where taxis are available. But on one of the busiest days of the year so far for the Essex airport, it seems inevitable that some airline passengers will miss their flights.

National Rail is telling passengers: “Customers are asked NOT TO TRAVEL between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

“Tickets for today will be accepted tomorrow.”

Trains to and from Cambridge are also affected, but passengers can use an alternative line from London King’s Cross.

Normally four trains per hour would run each way between Stansted and London Liverpool Street, with capacity for more than 2,000 passengers.

Passengers heading for the UK’s fourth-busiest airport, London Stansted, face big potential problems this morning

(Stansted Express)

Simon Calder, Travel Correspondent29 March 2024 07:17

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UK airports bracing for two million holidaymakers over Easter weekend

Two million British holidaymakers are set to jet off abroad over the Easter weekend, with one airport bracing for “record-breaking” passenger numbers.

Turkey, Dubai and the Canary Islands are among the most popular destinations amid wet and windy weather forecast for the UK, although trips to Dublin are also in demand.

Travel trade organisation Abta said airports are reporting “strong numbers”, with 175,000 due to leave from Stansted, 105,000 from Luton, 160,000 from Manchester, 79,000 from Birmingham, and 89,000 from Edinburgh between Friday and Monday.

Manchester Airport managing director Chris Woodroofe said: “It’s exciting that record numbers of people will be taking off from here this Easter: 320,000 people will travel (through the airport) over the bank holiday weekend – that’s up 7% on April 2023.”

Glasgow predicts more than 90,000 passengers over the four days, while Birmingham Airport said it expects a 27.2% increase in departures on last year over the full Easter period.

Bristol, which predicts 30,000 holiday trips on Easter Sunday alone, advised: “If travelling with Easter eggs, passengers are advised to keep any chocolate treats in your cabin baggage and to make sure they’re easily accessible as they may need to be opened for a quick check.”

Liverpool Airport expects around 60,000 passengers over the four days, which is around 7% higher than last year.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 March 2024 07:00

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Weather warnings for wind and rain issued ahead of Easter weekend

The Met Office said the forecast for the Easter weekend remained “unsettled” but “bright and breezy”, with temperatures of up to 15C in west London and 14C in Manchester on Sunday, which was typical for this time of year.

RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: “With plenty of classic early spring weather over the Easter bank holiday weekend, drivers getting away will definitely need to be on their guard and ready to cope with rapidly changing road conditions.

“Slowing down in the heaviest of downpours on Good Friday and Easter Saturday is a must as stopping distances will be far greater.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 March 2024 05:00

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UK airport expects record weekend as Easter egg warning issued

Turkey, Dubai and the Canary Islands are among the most popular destinations amid wet and windy weather forecast for the UK, although trips to Dublin are also in demand.

Travel trade organisation Abta said airports are reporting “strong numbers”, with 175,000 due to leave from Stansted, 105,000 from Luton, 160,000 from Manchester, 79,000 from Birmingham, and 89,000 from Edinburgh between Friday and Monday.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 March 2024 03:30

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Warning over Easter ‘carmageddon’ traffic chaos – which day will see the worst traffic?

Drivers are being warned of chaos on roads over the Easter weekend, with as many as 18.5 million car trips planned at the start of school holidays.

Those setting out on their journeys are likely to encounter delays from Thursday 28 March, when children break up at the end of term, into Good Friday, with one specialist warning that it could be “carmageddon” for those making their getaways.

The overall travel picture should not be as bad as in 2023, when the Easter weekend coincided with strikes that led to the cancellation and delays of dozens of flights and widespread rail engineering work.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 March 2024 02:00

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Barred from Europe: 2.4m Brits caught in post-Brexit passport chaos

Millions of Britons are barred from entering the EU by post-Brexit passport rules that are set to cause chaos over the Easter holidays.

With the getaway starting in earnest on Thursday, an estimated 2.4 million travellers have documents that can’t be used for trips to the EU because of the change in expiry requirements.

Since Brexit, British passports must have an issue date less than 10 years old on the day of departure to the EU, and must have at least three months left before their expiry date on the intended day of return. But millions of passports issued prior to September 2018 have longer validity periods.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain29 March 2024 00:30

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Easter travel chaos: How bad will it be?

The great Easter getaway could see travellers caught up in delays by road, ferry, rail and air. In a normal year there would be a gap between most schools breaking up and the long weekend. But with Easter falling so early the two are combined. Term is ending at many schools on Thursday 28 March, putting extra pressure on transportation.

At least three major UK airports – Bristol, Newcastle and Edinburgh – have told The Independent this will be their busiest Easter ever. Some airlines are predicting record numbers for the spell between Good Friday and Easter Monday. Geneva routes will be extremely busy with winter sports fans, while Malaga, Alicante, Faro and Tenerife are the leading spring sunshine holiday destinations.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 March 2024 23:00

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