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Passengers delayed up to six hours as torrential rain hits Gatwick

Passengers delayed up to six hours as torrential rain hits Gatwick
Passengers says they were left waiting on a Vueling plane for four hours before the flight was cancelled

Passengers said they were left stranded on planes for hours on Wednesday, as Gatwick Airport was hit by torrential rain.

Some said they had had “no information” from airlines as they waited to see if their journey would proceed.

Due to heavy rain and thunderstorms following a month of continuous hot dry weather, dozens of flights were delayed at the Sussex hub, after air traffic controllers imposed restrictions on flying.

The downpour was so heavy in areas in and around London that some shops and platforms at Victoria Station, which has direct train services to Gatwick, were closed.

Furious passengers took to social media to vent their frustrations.

EasyJet customer Michelle Delgado tweeted that she had been waiting for six hours in Gatwick’s north terminal before she was notified that her flight to Rhodes would be cancelled.

She wrote to the airline: “Can’t rebook through the app, no flights, now giving an error & won’t even let me try. No one here knows what’s going on. You have ruined our first holiday in 2 years.”

Elsewhere, passengers were left waiting on Vueling planes for at least four hours before the flights were cancelled.

<p>View of parched fields north of London seen from a flight after leaving Gatwick</p>

View of parched fields north of London seen from a flight after leaving Gatwick

Leon Cliff said his flight, from Gatwick to Barcelona, was delayed for more than five hours before being cancelled at 1am. He said he was forced to pay £300 for another flight from Stansted with a different airline.

Vueling replied: “Hello Leon, we inform you that your flight was delayed due to the adverse weather conditions. Safety is the most important for us … We apologize [for] the inconveniences caused.”

One Vueling customer bound for Seville wrote to Gatwick on Twitter: “Can you send buses to get us of [sic] this b****y plane!? We’re just sat here. The staff are being told they don’t know how long the wait will be. WE HAVE BEEN HERE FOR 4 HOURS”.

The flight, number VY6014, was meant to depart just after 1pm but didn’t end up leaving on Wednesday, according to records on website Flightradar24.

EasyJet customer Mark Thewlis said he and his fellow passengers sat on a plane at Palermo airport in Sicily for more than three hours before the flight was cancelled “because of bad weather” at Gatwick.

The Met Office had warned that heavy showers – of 30 to 50mm of rain, and in excess of 100mm in a few hours in areas where “storms are slow moving” – would cause disruptions on Wednesday.

In response to the complaints, Gatwick Airport said: “Air traffic control restrictions are currently in place across the South of England and parts of Europe due to poor weather conditions.

“This will unfortunately cause delays and cancellations to some flights today.”

An easyJet spokesperson said: “Due to thunderstorms impacting all airlines at London Gatwick, we were unfortunately unable to operate a number of flights yesterday evening.

“While this was outside of our control we did all possible to minimise the impact of the weather disruption for our customers, providing those on cancelled flights with options to rebook or receive a refund as well as hotel accommodation and meals where required and our customer service team were available for extended hours to provide additional assistance.

“We are aware that some customers were unable to access our self-service tool for rebooking and arranging hotel accommodation for a short time due to a temporary technical issue, however this was quickly resolved. We are sorry for any inconvenience this caused.”

The Independent has also approached Vueling for comment.