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BA TXL-LHR Returns to Berlin Due to London Weather

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BA TXL-LHR Returns to Berlin Due to London Weather

Old 12th Dec 2017, 04:01
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BA TXL-LHR Returns to Berlin Due to London Weather

Things must have been rough yesterday.


The worst flight ever? British Airways service from Berlin to London takes seven hours ? but ends up where it started

The worst flight ever? British Airways service from Berlin to London takes seven hours – but ends up where it started

Hugh Morris


A British Airways flight from Berlin to Heathrow took off five hours late yesterday, but then turned around within sight of the UK coast and returned to the German capital leaving around 180 passengers stranded.

Flight BA983 was one of many disrupted by Sunday's heavy snowfall, but passengers on the afternoon service will feel particularly hard done by.

The Airbus A320 was due to depart Berlin Tegel at 1.50pm but was delayed due to the weather conditions on the continent. It eventually took off at 6.57pm and made its way towards London.

However, just as it was half way across the North Sea and less than a hour from Heathrow, it performed a U-turn and flew back to Berlin, where it landed an hour later.

One passenger posted a photo on Twitter of an on-board TV screen showing the flight path, with the caption: "Nightmare."

A spokesperson for British Airways said: "When [we] are not able to operate flights into Heathrow as planned, we do our best to keep customers updated, and look after them, providing refreshments and hotel accommodation."

Reduced capacity at Heathrow as heavy snow fell on Sunday meant a number of British Airways flights were forced to divert to airports including Leeds and Newcastle, while other aircraft were held in holding patterns above the UK waiting for a window to land.

"We are working with Heathrow and Air Traffic Control to operate as many of our flights as possible into the airport. Safety is always our priority, especially when dealing with very challenging weather conditions," the spokesperson added.

"We understand this is a frustrating time, but our teams are working around the clock to ensure we get customers to their destinations quickly, but safely. "

Other airlines using Heathrow also had flights impacted.

The airport said the disruption would continue on Monday "due to crew and aircraft being out of position".

"Before coming to the airport, passengers must check their flight status with their airline," the airport said.

"If the status of your flight is cancelled, please do not travel to the airport."

Flights at other London airports were also affected on Sunday, while services were suspended from Birmingham and Manchester, too. Ryanair and EasyJet advised customers to check their flight status before travelling to the airport.

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation said disruption would continue across Europe today. Nice, Brussels and Amsterdam were all suffering from delays.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 04:10
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Obviously more poor PR for BA but I think headlining it as perhaps the “worse flight ever” is just a tad OTT in comparison with what some people went through on Sunday, both in terms of the amount delay/time spent on an aircraft and where that flight ended up.

Having read some of the reports about Sunday's events, I'd point out that at least on this flight some of the 180 passengers will have got back to where they started their journey and were therefore possibly “stranded” back home.

Last edited by wiggy; 12th Dec 2017 at 07:16.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 04:17
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Having spent most of Sunday afternoon queuing in T2 (to no avail) it isn't just a BA or T5 problem.

What I don't understand is where does this HEAVY snow story come from?
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 04:21
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Originally Posted by ZFT View Post
Having spent most of Sunday afternoon queuing in T2 (to no avail) it isn't just a BA or T5 problem.
Interesting because some sources in the media and being quoted elsewhere on PPRuNe are implying this was really only a BA problem...
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 04:53
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Originally Posted by wiggy View Post
Interesting because some sources in the media and being quoted elsewhere on PPRuNe are implying this was really only a BA problem...
I was meant to travel on Eurowings to Cologne at 4 pm and received a text just as I was arriving on the train from T5 advising flight cancelled. The advise to contact them via phone or website was something of a joke as gave that up in frustration.

The queues at the T2 desks were not good (DLH, Swiss, Eurowings combined desks) and were about 4+ hours long by the time I joined them, information not good and all in all a wasted afternoon.

When I did eventually get offered an alternate it was for 8 PM the following day via Berlin which was of no use.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 07:09
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Originally Posted by ZFT View Post
Having spent most of Sunday afternoon queuing in T2 (to no avail) it isn't just a BA or T5 problem.

What I don't understand is where does this HEAVY snow story come from?
“Reduced capacity at Heathrow as heavy snow fell on Sunday“
It would be interesting to get a definition of “heavy snow” used by whomever to explain the situation. Living within 2flight minutes of 9R I struggle to believe it was heavy - just intermittent and only just enough to leave a track on the road, which cleared on the stuff within 30 minutes without the aid of gritting or snow blowers or such equipment.
“Heavy” suggests several inches of the stuff.
Perhaps Sunday staffing had a bearing despite the forecast?
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 08:59
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This from the BBC:

Snow in Europe triggers transport chaos



"Heavy snow blanketing northern Europe has caused many flight cancellations and delays at Schiphol airport in the Netherlands and Brussels airport.

About 400 flights were cancelled at Schiphol - one of Europe's biggest airports - and about 200 in Brussels.

Travellers have been advised to check flight updates at home, rather than set off for the airport in bad weather.

In Germany the heavy snow has caused many car crashes and traffic jams, as well as train delays.

More than 300 flights were cancelled on Sunday at Frankfurt airport, the busiest in Germany.

The Dutch airport at Eindhoven was temporarily closed because of the snow, and many Dutch schools remained shut on Monday.

Conditions improved later at Brussels airport, where planes were able to take off from one de-iced runway. But Brussels Airlines scrapped all its flights."




So it ain't just here!
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 09:12
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In aviation Met terms light/medium/heavy snow is a measure of how fast it is falling not how much is accumulating.

The definition of heavy snow varies with temperature, visibility and day/night.

Daytime, <= -1c and vis <=400m
Daytime, > -1c and vis <=800m
Night, <= -1c and vis <=800m
Night, >-1c and vis <=1200m

All the above define Heavy snow.

For the full tables see page 49 in https://www.faa.gov/other_visit/avia...overTables.pdf
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 10:55
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Like another poster I live a few minutes flying time from LHR-on Saturday there was quite heavy (for UK) snow falling but not settling. To be fair to LHR wet snow is a pain to deal with but unlike its Scandi/Canadian/US heavy snowfalls we get a fair bit of that plus one to minus one weather and while its not economic to protect LHR against really heavy snow this sleety type weather is pretty common .

The problems for pax are that LHR operates right on the capacity margins with no room for adapting to problems
Not enough runway capcity , not enough aircraft parking, not enough de- icing . Terminals with not enough space as they are full of useless shops and so when something goes moderately wrong the whole place collapses in a house of cards manner.

The other issue is that BA now mirrors LHR- everything , except executive salaries, has been cut to the bone . Works, just, with a fair wind but as soon as anything goes wrong there are no staff to book flights no staff to book hotels, lounges outsourced to people who do not care about throwing F pax into the street , staff demotivated and treated like dirt so less inclined to overtime or helping.

BA is getting close to be Better Avoid once again under Sr Cruz , cannot blame him for the snow but the ensuing chaos and more specifically the lack of support staff to help people stranded miles from home , not feeding them because you outsourced short haul food , not getting long haul pax to hotels when they face 24 hour delays is all down to him.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 11:19
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I understand that weather conditions can vary in unexpected ways but in this instance I am a bit surprised that they got underway to be turned back midway. Anyone have some info about what happened?
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 12:06
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...not getting long haul pax to hotels when they face 24 hour delays is all down to him.

I wonder what Eurostar, Ferries, bus companies etc. are expected to do when services are cancelled for circumstances out of their control? There are many who use other forms of transport to leave UK shores, or leave their own borders.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 12:30
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I don't know about Heathrow, but here in the West Midlands we had some 14 cm of snow (heavy) on Friday. Saturday was clear, but freezing, so the snow didn't clear, except where gritters etc were working on major roads. Sunday was another 14 cm. On fields, in gardens and so on it's all still there.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 12:41
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Originally Posted by RAT 5 View Post
...not getting long haul pax to hotels when they face 24 hour delays is all down to him.

I wonder what Eurostar, Ferries, bus companies etc. are expected to do when services are cancelled for circumstances out of their control? There are many who use other forms of transport to leave UK shores, or leave their own borders.
I do agree that the onus should not be on the airlines solely. In life sh1t happens and I believe you either sort yourself out or sit back and take whatever comes to you.

Last Sunday I made my own arrangements as I would rather spend a little and be comfortable than waste even more time arguing over one nights accommodation.

I had already wasted 4 - 5 hours of what is left of this lifetime, why waste anymore?
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 15:53
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To be fair, turning around and diverting back to TXL where someof the passengers might be able to go home is logical v.s. diverting to (for example) DUS where none of the passengers could go home.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 16:46
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And Manchester - Heathrow

Watching FR24 on Sunday to see how things were going, I saw a BA Manchester - Heathrow flight circling north of London start to head north and it returned to its origin - Manchester.

Earlier in the day it was interesting to see how the flights into Luton and Stansted were handled - diverting to Doncaster, Mancheser, Liverpool and Bournemouth, for example.

I am full of admiration for the flight crews, ATC staff and people on the ground who ensure that everyone gets down safely somewhere in these conditions, or takes the decision not to fly.

It's a shame the media don't focus a bit more on these efforts than on the "stranded passenger" aspect of these things.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 16:58
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To be fair, turning around and diverting back to TXL where someof the passengers might be able to go home is logical v.s. diverting to (for example) DUS where none of the passengers could go home.
Which is why the airlines bosses (accountants) like them to go back to start point. They only have to pay for hotels for some not all.
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Old 13th Dec 2017, 13:42
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Factually/financially correct but neverthless if you as PIC have to divert do you go somewhere perhaps "offline" where you might well struggle for ground handling, let alone to find beds for 180'ish pax, or if you have the option, do you go to a mainline station where in this case at least some of the passengers had got their cars in the car park and their own homes were within driving distance.

At least by returning to destination you stand a chance of keeping some of your paying customers vaguely satisfied with at least one decision made on what might have been a pretty dire day........
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Old 13th Dec 2017, 14:42
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Originally Posted by wiggy View Post
At least by returning to destination
Passengers don't usually object to that sort of diversion.
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Old 13th Dec 2017, 15:04
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Passengers don't usually object to that sort of diversion.
Doooooh....Apologies........
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Old 14th Dec 2017, 02:17
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Originally Posted by scr1 View Post
Which is why the airlines bosses (accountants) like them to go back to start point. They only have to pay for hotels for some not all.
I worked in airline Operations Control's for more years than I care to remember whilst I have never been a spotter or a whingeing passenger and I can assure one and all that it has very little, if anything, to do with the accountants, nobody can predict and write a text book for a precise combination of circumstances, it is almost literally down to the staff on duty at any given time, both on the ground and in the air.
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