EA Worldwide

EA Worldwide

December 29, 2010 13:43 ET

London Comes to a Standstill During the Holiday Season Because of Snow and Ice

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 29, 2010) - December is expected to go down as the coldest on record. With reports of 5 inches of snow in London, EA Worldwide managing director Joshua Cote is not positive about the ability to travel overseas for the Holidays. Gatwick Airport cancelled all flights and Heathrow cancelled all incoming flights on the weekend but had a few selected flights depart from the airport instead. Heathrow states they did this to accommodate for the passengers flying out on Monday. However, this left many passengers planning on spending the Holidays overseas to find other plans until the snow is completely cleared.

There have been over two thousand flights that have been recently cancelled due to bad weather conditions in London. Thousands of passengers were forced to sleep on terminal floors or stay in tents outside to pass the time until they knew further regarding their travel plans. Some passengers have been rescheduled to new flights when possible but Heathrow has been very flexible with customers and is offering some refunds. The airport is well aware that they may not be able to handle the amount of traffic during the holidays, with the snow and the lack of machinery necessary to handle these weather conditions. Prime Minister David Cameron had even offered to have British troops help clear the snow, understanding that Heathrow is the most populated airport.

Many of the planes need to be de-iced before taking off and many of the runways are covered in ice due to temperatures below freezing. Joshua Cote, managing director of EA Worldwide and his wife attempted to travel during this hectic time. Mr. Cote lives in the U.S. and the flight home is normally 7 hours but due to delays within Heathrow his travel time was extended another 5 hours. When arriving to the gate they were informed their flight would be running late because the temperatures from the night before had caused the wings to freeze overnight. Mr. Cote and his wife were patient as they understood that London is not normally prepared for such weather. When they were finally ready to board they were then again informed that the gas cap for the plane had been left off. Again their flight was delayed because of the limited staff working at Heathrow. After the delays they were lucky enough to reach their destination safely; however, this was not the case for many other passengers who planned to leave later that day and during the weekend. Because of the continual snow and ice many flights were cancelled that Friday afternoon until Monday morning.

Heathrow has fallen under much criticism as it has not invested in the necessary materials needed to combat snow and ice. Heathrow's "snow fleet" includes 69 vehicles while Gatwick, an airport half Heathrow's size, has 150 vehicles. In order to prevent future delays of this magnitude experts say that Heathrow has to invest more money in preparation of such weather. Airlines have suffered greatly from the loss of business at what is known as the peak period time of travel. British Airways is estimated to have lost £10m a day during the closures. Mr. Cote of EA Worldwide is not alone in thinking London has a lot to learn from this past experience.

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