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Old 21.12.2006, 13:31
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Anyone affected by the fog in England?

I am scheduled to fly from Zuerich to London Heathrow tomorrow (Friday). But the forecast is for fog.

Swiss tell me they have already cancelled some flights.

Does anyone know how much delay is being caused by the fog situation?

I'm seriously considering cancelling my plane ticket and booking a train journey instead.
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Old 21.12.2006, 13:45
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6198917.stm

this is the latest from the Beeb which doesn't look too great - we're not flying until Saturday so I'm sticking my head in the sand until tomorrow.
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Old 21.12.2006, 13:46
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

Same - due to fly on saturday morning. Eek! I'm predicting glorious sunshine.
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Old 21.12.2006, 13:55
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

Yep, I'm due to fly to Brummie tomorrow. The forecast is 5 days of fog but at least they are open for most flights. I am going to check with the airline tomorrow morning before I decide what to do.

Surely, if you want your money back you should at least make sure it is the airline cancelling and then you might get compensation as well...
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Old 21.12.2006, 14:36
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

I know some folk who are stuffed.

Hopefully Manchester will be clear....
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Old 21.12.2006, 15:19
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

No LX flights cancelled today, but some delays http://baa.co.uk/LHR_2_A.html

I tried to buy train tickets online but they insist on a 5 day lead time.

I suppose I could go to a travel agent or a railway station, but that'll have to be tomorrow as I'm at work, finishing things off so as not to annoy the team too much.
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Old 21.12.2006, 15:26
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

Total disaster. Friends intended coming from London tomorrow. All I can say is: I am glad I bought a frozen turkey rather a fresh one.
dave

Quote:
No LX flights cancelled today, but some delays http://baa.co.uk/LHR_2_A.html

I tried to buy train tickets online but they insist on a 5 day lead time.

I suppose I could go to a travel agent or a railway station, but that'll have to be tomorrow as I'm at work, finishing things off so as not to annoy the team too much.
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Old 22.12.2006, 09:58
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

The weather here (I arrived Tuesday) looks pretty bleak and the advice is to phone the airline before going to the airport. All BA internal flights were cancelled yesterday and today, so at least they're trying to free the slots for the international flights.
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Old 22.12.2006, 10:04
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

I've just been talking to swiss on 0900300313 to get information about departures and arrivals to UK. She was very helpful, but they are dealing with it an aircraft-by-aircraft basis and it is not possible to predict more than an hour ahead. Almost all the arrivals and hence departures from London City are showing as delayed or cancelled. The swiss flight seem to show "Diverted contact airline" which doesnt help if you are on your way to the airport.

The swiss pilots are a hardy bunch and would dismiss this fog as a "mere wisp". Unfortunately the knock-on effects will screw-up Christmas for a lot of people I think.

dave
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Old 22.12.2006, 10:09
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

i cant get rid of my boss unfortunately,
he cant fly to london.
means he's stuck here
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Old 22.12.2006, 10:38
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

What is the problem with BA and Swiss. Easyjet and Ryanair are managing more or less on-time flights to Stanstead, Luton and Gatwick so why can't they? While I can imagine City has a localised problem it can't be that bad everywhere over the London area can it and what about instrument only landings?
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Old 22.12.2006, 10:50
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

Heathrow's problem is that it handles 1400 flights a day with only two runways and is currently running at 98% capacity without fog.

Planes can still land and take off in fog OK these days, but taxiing distances need to be increased in thick fog. Apparently the planes can't see each other and the tower can't see them, so they reduced the number of flights to give greater separation on the tarmac.

BA made an executive decision to cancel all domestic flights, probably because they get more revenue from long haul and theoretically domestic passengers can use the train or coaches...
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Old 22.12.2006, 10:53
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

ILS (Instrumented Landing System - has been around for donkey's years, you align to a beam on final approach) is fitted to the aircraft and even MLS for better landing precision (heathrow has 4 beacons, but many aircraft are not yet fitted).

Landing the aircraft is not really the problem. The density of aircraft means that once the aircraft land their traffic identifier transponders (TCAS) are swamped by the density of the other aircraft signals.

There are also many vehicles without any kind of transponder (buses, refuelling trucks etc) on the ground which rely on visual identification. Withe visibility down to about 200m, you have serious issues.

Incidentally there are plans to equip ground vehicles with identifying beacons, but it ain't happened yet.

The doubled separation is intended to allow more breathing space for ground manoevres.

Heathrow is a major hub and relies on waves of passengers for connecting flights. This causes total chaos when the feeders can't get through.

The low-cost model (Easyjet , Ryanair) uses point-to-point connections and quiet airports with much lower flight frequency, so in these conditions they have the advantage.

dave

Quote:
What is the problem with BA and Swiss. Easyjet and Ryanair are managing more or less on-time flights to Stanstead, Luton and Gatwick so why can't they? While I can imagine City has a localised problem it can't be that bad everywhere over the London area can it and what about instrument only landings?
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Old 22.12.2006, 11:01
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

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ILS (Instrumented Landing System - has been around for donkey's years, you align to a beam on final approach) is fitted to the aircraft and even MLS for better landing precision (heathrow has 4 beacons, but many aircraft are not yet fitted).

Landing the aircraft is not really the problem. The density of aircraft means that once the aircraft land their traffic identifier transponders (TCAS) are swamped by the density of the other aircraft signals.

There are also many vehicles without any kind of transponder (buses, refuelling trucks etc) on the ground which rely on visual identification. Withe visibility down to about 200m, you have serious issues.

Incidentally there are plans to equip ground vehicles with identifying beacons, but it ain't happened yet.

The doubled separation is intended to allow more breathing space for ground manoevres.

Heathrow is a major hub and relies on waves of passengers for connecting flights. This causes total chaos when the feeders can't get through.

The low-cost model (Easyjet , Ryanair) uses point-to-point connections and quiet airports with much lower flight frequency, so in these conditions they have the advantage.

dave
All of which is fine but what about Gatwick? Minimal delays and no cancellations for Ryanair...
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Old 22.12.2006, 11:03
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

One of the problems is the knock effect of aircraft being in the wrong places.
Eg flight to x needs aircraft landing from y.

Probably easier for Ryanair to manage 'coz their kit is not concentrated at Gatwick
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Old 22.12.2006, 12:09
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

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All of which is fine but what about Gatwick? Minimal delays and no cancellations for Ryanair...
Well, firstly Ryanair do everything they can to avoid cancellations. Not because they want to deliver good customer service, but rather because they hate giving money back. I recently flew on a Ryanair flight into a small regional airport in the middle of a storm. All other airlines had cancelled flights that evening due to safety reasons and I understood why when the time came to land. I have to say it was the most frightening landing ever - the plane was 'waggling' severely as we descended towards the runway. Full credit to the pilot for getting us down in one piece but IMO it was reckless to run the service.


The main reason why not everyone is seeing the same sort of delays is down to the fact that Heathrow is constantly running at max capacity and has no slack that can be used to compensate for problems. Any sort of glitch like bad weather or a security scare leads to big delays.

Stansted and Luton on the other hand have much fewer delays because the increased spacing between flights landing and taxiing can be accomodated. I don't know about Gatwick.

It's a shame for BA because they are so heavily involved with Heathrow. They always get the bad press when something like this happens even though it's down to the failings of the airport infrastructure. I saw on the news this morning that BA are going to be running 747s to Geneva (and other European destinations) from LHR today to try to make up for the cancellations of so many Euro short-haul flights... So full marks to them for trying to do something.


My advice to anyone travelling to/from the UK is to try to avoid flights that go in/out of Heathrow, regardless of airline. It's always going to be the most affected airport if there are general problems.



Gav
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Old 22.12.2006, 12:15
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

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My advice to anyone travelling to/from the UK is to try to avoid flights that go in/out of Heathrow, regardless of airline. It's always going to be the most affected airport if there are general problems.Gav
I second that statement! Having been delayed, missed flights and one time sat on a plane at the gate for over 5 hours without moving an inch when it was 31 degrees outside, all through problems at Heathrow, we now avoid the place like the plague. This Christms we are doing a 5 hour drive instead of a 20 minute one to avoid changing planes there; that's how much we hate the place. It may take 5 hours but we should at least get to our destination.
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Old 22.12.2006, 12:20
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

Just had word from my friends at London City airport. The frustrated passengers have just been directed to the tickets desk to get more information. The queue is huge, and no announcements are being made. If its like this at City , it must be Hell-on-Earth at Heathrow. I don't know how swiss rebook. I suppose they give priority to first/biz/full-fare passengers, and extant bookings will take precedence I suppose.

dave



Quote:
I second that statement! Having been delayed, missed flights and one time sat on a plane at the gate for over 5 hours without moving an inch when it was 31 degrees outside, all through problems at Heathrow, we now avoid the place like the plague. This Christms we are doing a 5 hour drive instead of a 20 minute one to avoid changing planes there; that's how much we hate the place. It may take 5 hours but we should at least get to our destination.
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Old 22.12.2006, 14:25
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

Quote:
I second that statement! Having been delayed, missed flights and one time sat on a plane at the gate for over 5 hours without moving an inch when it was 31 degrees outside, all through problems at Heathrow, we now avoid the place like the plague. This Christms we are doing a 5 hour drive instead of a 20 minute one to avoid changing planes there; that's how much we hate the place. It may take 5 hours but we should at least get to our destination.
Judging from the news reports of the ongoing fog chaos at Heathrow, you made the right decision! All domestic BA flights canclled again today and many short-haul European flights too. Supposedly it could last right up til Christmas Day.


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Old 22.12.2006, 14:26
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Re: Anyone affected by the fog in England?

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Just had word from my friends at London City airport. The frustrated passengers have just been directed to the tickets desk to get more information. The queue is huge, and no announcements are being made. If its like this at City , it must be Hell-on-Earth at Heathrow. I don't know how swiss rebook. I suppose they give priority to first/biz/full-fare passengers, and extant bookings will take precedence I suppose.

dave
Luton Airport is supposedly still operating near-normally. They could try booking an Easyjet flight to Basel (shudder) if they can make it on time.


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