UK travel chaos: Weekend sees severe flight delays and problems on the railways

At the start of the busiest weekend of the summer for outbound travel, thousands of travellers have experienced severe disruption. 

The day began badly at Gatwick Airport, which was expecting the busiest day for outbound travellers in its history. 

In the early hours of Friday morning, landings were suspended after a British Airways flight from Naples made an emergency landing because of a hydraulic leak.

The Airbus A320 landed safely with no injuries, but while fire trucks attended the incident, landings were suspended.

One easyJet flight from Corfu was diverted to Luton, and another from Paphos went to Birmingham.

As a result of the aircraft being out of position, easyJet flights to Madrid and Munich this morning have been cancelled.

The Norwegian arrival from Buenos Aires to Gatwick touched down 13 hours late, at 5pm.

British Airways passengers at Gatwick suffered some long delays, with a flight to Barcelona leaving seven hours late and a departure to Lima over four hours behind schedule.

Passengers flying on Cathay Pacific from Manchester to Hong Kong have been put up overnight, because their flight is 27 hours behind schedule.

Thousands of travellers between the UK and Dublin had their flights cancelled because of a strike by pilots employed by Ryanair in Ireland.

Twenty-six flights to and from Dublin were grounded, including multiple cancellations serving Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Manchester. 

On the railways, commuters and long-distance travellers on the Midland Mainline from London St Pancras to Luton face delays and cancellations all day, after a large branch got caught in the overhead electric wires between Radlett and St Albans station.

Over the weekend, the Great Western line from London Paddington to Devon and Cornwall will be closed for engineering work.

Travellers who avoid the weekend rush could still encounter problems in the coming week – particularly on Ryanair, which is being hit by a series of strikes.

The Irish airline has cancelled 16 flights on Tuesday because of a planned pilots’ strike. On Wednesday and Thursday, a cabin crew stoppage in Spain, Portugal and Belgium has led to 600 flight cancellations and wrecked the plans of 100,000 travellers.

The Civil Aviation Authority has urged passengers whose flights are grounded to claim compensation of up to €400 (£357). Ryanair has said the strikes constitute “extraordinary circumstances” and that compensation claims will be rejected.

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