Travel: Stansted Airport receives praise despite closing due to snow

STRANDED passengers have had extended stays at Stansted Airport after snow forced the runway to close and many airlines to cancel flights.

Ryanair, the largest operator at the airport, cancelled all their flights in and out of the Essex airport all day on Saturday until 10am on Sunday.

Other airlines were forced to follow suit and there were a total of 142 cancellations during the four-hour closure of the runway, between 2-6pm on Saturday, for snow clearing.

Eight flights due to land at Stansted had to be diverted to other airports, including Birmingham.

Before the runway was shut, 30 flights from other airports which had been hit by snow earlier in the day, such as Gatwick and Heathrow, were diverted to Stansted causing a delay to scheduled departures.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: “The week before Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for the airport and there have been considerable delays for many passengers. We have been working hard with the airlines to clear the backlog and get people to their destinations.

“Some passengers did choose to camp down for the night and the airport’s duty team made sure that people were catered for and told about what was happening. Retailers stayed open for as long as they could.”

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Stranded passengers used the social networking site Twitter to express their dismay at the travel chaos and one person complained that the information desk at the airport was empty.

The airport was open as normal today, but many passengers faced delays as the airlines tried to clear the backlog. Weather warnings are still in place across the UK, and flights may still be subject to delay or cancellation.

Passengers are advised to contact their airline before coming to the airport, and to allow plenty of time for their journey as road and rail networks may still be affected.

Read here a selection of comments from people in and around the airport over the weekend:

Michael Hodgson: Thank you to Ryanair and Stansted in keeping the runways open and the planes flying.

Sofia Zagzoule: After 2 days stranded in Spain my folks are home thanks to stansted airport for not freezing all flights.

Brian Duggan: Made it to Liverpool St station fine, but all Stansted Express trains cancelled, sharing a cab with two italians and Polish gu. Arrived at Stansted airport by cab 120 quid because of train cancellation, at least it’s split 4 ways!

Nicole Casey: If no planes are going in or out of Stansted, how come they are flying low over my house RIGHT NOW?!

Greg Hands: Feeling thankful for flying Ryanair! Their plane to Stansted had 2 hour delay, but all BA flights were cancelled!

J Lee: Dear sir, I’ve been stranded in Stansted airport for past 24 hrs + waiting for plane that never materialised. It’s not nice!

Carolin Mader: Btw my eyes still hurt and I’ll be tired for days. I hate Ryanair and their ignorant staff at Stansted. 2 for over 2000 – not good enough.

Leia Ritter Ahmad: Here I am, stuck in snow. Want to move, but got no way to go. Oh Stansted, Stansted. Why do you mess with my head?

Karen: At Stansted airport waiting for daughters plane to leave. Lots of stranded people here.

Nathan Everest: At least this is one of the only UK airports actually having flights in and out! Well done Stansted, gold star!

Charlie Ellis: Dying in Stansted airport 26 hours going strong.

Lolly Leighton: Loitering around Stansted, picking way over sleeping bods.. Must’ve done 4 turns by now. Will now indulge in a 1664 & play waiting game!

Jakob Hultman: On our way out of London. Will wait at Stansted for at least 12 hours. Better do a lot of work on my essay then!

Richard Stewart: Feel sorry for the folk left at Stansted last night. Families with young kids sleeping on the cold floor when I left. No support for them.

Kejia Zhu: After yesterday’s Stansted chaos, I’ve totally lost faith in the public’s ability to handle a real crisis.

Robbie: Stansted is grim. People sleeping everywhere, families crying in corners cursing the gods of Easyjet and Ryanair. Train next time I think.

Arielle Brown: People bolting for the first stansted express train was like a scene from Arnie film and the toy action man Everyones trying to grab.

Isabelle Sandblom: Waiting for 9 hours at Stansted for nothing does not make my Top 10 favourite activities.

Simon Napper: Waiting for Easyjet flight to Stansted - glad we didn’t try to get back to Heathrow today - what a shambles.

Abi Tyrell: So Stansted’s closed, so now we have to work out another way to get there! better get this audition now...!

Elaine Thatcher: C’mon Ryanair, do the right thing. Stansted has now reopened so don’t cancel any more flights. Please!!!!

Mark Hebblewhite: Chaos at Stansted - Ryanair are bloody rubbish, fed-up and wanting to shout at someone.

Kate Johnson: 2.5ins snow here and Stansted finally closed its runway. Back open now, but wussy airlines have cancelled flights. All be melted tomorrow

Nick Lewis: Christmas Italian cancelled. News that a friend and his family are stuck at Stansted. Hoping to reach parents tomorrow

Petr Zaparka: Stuck at the Stansted Airport. My flight was cancelled and train is 40 min late and counting

Simon Whatley: Waiting for an impromptu flash mob to break into song in the baggage hall at Stansted airport. Lots of glum faces need cheering up.

Leyla Najafli: Concentrating my hopes on stansted airport remaining open... please please please? I wanna go homeeee. Don’t go all ‘gatwick’ on me.

James Hall: Stansted? More like Stan-still.

Jayd Johnson: I’m stuck on a plane in Stansted they won’t let us off! Hope we both get sorted soon.

Diana Best: Stuck at Stansted, in the middle of a field on a packed plane. It’s snowing so hard we can’t see out the windows.

Stephanie French: Flight into Stansted landed safely. Today I think Stansted wins award for best UK airport.