Thick fog at weekend strands half-term travellers in the UK
MORE than 3,000 passengers had their travel plans thrown into disarray after thick fog shrouded Jersey and led to around 40 flights being cancelled.
The disruption began on Sunday and hundreds of Islanders were stuck in the UK, with many not being able to rebook onto other services until Thursday.
Islanders were making their way home following the half-term break and a number of schools reported that some pupils had failed to make it back to Jersey.
Hearings in the Royal Court were cancelled and a planning inquiry for Tamba Park was delayed, as a UK inspector was unable to land in the Island.
Among those who had their travel disrupted were former Jersey Met forecaster Mark Le Cornu and his wife, Christina, who were due to fly back to Jersey on an easyJet service from Gatwick on Sunday following a holiday in Cuba.
Mr Le Cornu said: ‘The flight took off from Gatwick at 3.20 pm and just after we boarded the pilot told us that the conditions were not good but that we would take off.
‘We circled St Catherine until 5.20 pm, when the pilot told us that it just was not going to happen and we were turning back to Gatwick. We landed about 6 pm and everyone went to the customer service desk, but as it was a full flight it was a nightmare – the queue was about 50 yards long. There were lots of families with kids.’
He added: ‘There was not another flight with easyJet until Thursday and British Airways had a flight on Wednesday at 7.30 pm, but that would have cost us £550, one way.’
The couple eventually took a 90-mile taxi journey to Southampton Airport and booked themselves onto a Wednesday night flight, adding a total of £327 to the price of their trip.
However, many Islanders chose to switch to sea travel, with up to 400 people transferring to services from Poole and Portsmouth instead.
JEP photographer David Ferguson was one of those who switched but said that he was forced to spend £200 on a taxi from Woking to Poole Harbour after trains were cancelled because of engineering works.
‘We could not get onto another flight until Thursday, so we booked the ferry instead.
‘I managed to get as far Woking before having to get a taxi the rest of the way, as South West Trains cancelled all their trains to Poole.’
A spokeswoman for easyJet said it would cover the costs of Islanders having to make alternative arrangements.
It said: ‘Due to the weather disruption, easyJet flights on Jersey routes are currently in very high demand and so easyJet will cover the cost of alternative airline or alternative transport such as the ferry for passengers who make these arrangements. Passengers are being provided with hotel accommodation and meals where needed, until their departure date.
‘Whilst the circumstances are outside easyJet’s control, we would like to apologise for the inconvenience.’