1. ITV Report

Stansted: Stranded passengers left queuing for 12 hours after sleeping at terminal overnight

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

Angry passengers forced to stay overnight at Stansted Airport have described the "nightmare" of queuing for more than 12 hours after sleeping at the terminal.

Many families were among around 300 passengers forced to rough it into Thursday after snow and ice saw dozens of Ryanair and easyJet flights cancelled or delayed.

Passengers were particularly cross that just a few centimetres of snow had caused such chaos.

One young man criticised the response of Stansted staff to the plight of the budget airline travellers during his 12th hour queuing.

Passengers are awaiting news on the rearrangements of flights. Credit: ITV News

"They're advising us to go home but I live eight hours away so it's not like I can get home," Tom Holm told ITV News from the middle of one of the lengthy lines.

"They're saying to get flights from other airports but you have to fund it yourself and then get reimbursed.

"They're not taking into account that people can't afford to go and get a hotel for the night to go and get another flight. It's just infuriating."

Hundreds of passengers have remained stuck at the terminal despite normal service resuming. Credit: ITV News

He added: "I'm ex-military and I damaged my back quite badly in the army, standing for any length of time is causing me so much pain. I've told the staff this and again they've done nothing about it."

Although the airport began to return to normal by mid Thursday morning, many passengers whose flights were cancelled on Wednesday remained in the terminal.

Anwschka Weabers, 37, had been on a four-day holiday in London with her two young children but now cannot fly back to Eindhoven in the Netherlands until Saturday.

"I don't have a penny in my pocket," she said.

Passengers faced large delays in retrieving their luggage after flights were grounded. Credit: Sophia Sleigh

"We're stuck here. I tried to call Ryanair but they don't pick up - I'm still on the phone, my phone bill is going to be crazy.

"With two children it's a nightmare. By myself it would be OK but not with two children.

"They need to have breakfast, they need to have clean clothes, we have nothing. They've just let us be like homeless people."

Passengers complained of having to wait for hours to reclaim their luggage after flights had been axed, with some complaining of a "shocking" lack of communication by officials.

Sophia Sleigh was on a New Year's Eve trip to Bulgaria after her Ryanair flight "disappeared" from departure screens, leaving her "stranded" at the airport.

She tweeted: "Hundreds of people waiting for baggage from cancelled flights from Stansted Airport! What a shambles @Ryanair I feel sorry for the elderly and those with kids. Incredibly stressful and expensive time to travel. Next available flights not for DAYS apparently..."

Ms Sleigh said she had waited five hours before being told the flight had been cancelled and she would have to return to collect her luggage on Friday.

Large crowds gathered at baggage enquiries. Credit: Sophie Sleigh

Airport officials said they would provide beds and blankets for people stuck at the airport, although this was disputed by one passenger.

Lucy Weyinmi tweeted: "Definitely no blankets or food or any support for passengers who have been stuck here for 8 hours plus...."

The cancellations left up to 300 passengers waiting to rebook flights. Credit: Sophia Sleigh

She added: "8 hours later, still at #Stansted, waiting to get our luggage back so we can do this all again in 10 hours time....Shocking lack of comms or support from airport or Ryanair..."

Meanwhile arrivals were also hit by long delays.

A London Stansted spokeswoman said on Wednesday: "Due to adverse weather conditions today Ryanair and easyjet cancelled a number of flights. There are up to 300 passengers in the terminal waiting to rebook flights.

"Passengers unable to return home are being looked after by Stansted Airport with beds and blankets, and additional help for elderly passengers or those with young children. Free food and drinks have been provided to delayed passengers throughout the day.

"All passengers due to travel are advised to check the status of their flights with their airline before travelling to the airport."