Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Britons remain stranded in U.S post Hurricane Irene

Thousands of UK passengers stranded in the United States over the bank holiday weekend when Hurricane Irene struck will have to wait at least three days for flights home.

Flights have resumed and British Airways and Virgin Atlantic said schedules were operating normally today, but they admit it will take days to deal with the backlog of passengers.

More than 10,000 US flights were cancelled, mainly to the New York and Boston areas, when  Hurricane Irene brought storms and heavy flooding to the US and East Coast.

New York's four main airports were closed, stranding thousands of British passengers on the wrong side of the Atlantic, and some flights to Boston and Philadelphia were also cancelled.

Both BA and Virgin are laying on extra flights to repatriate passengers this week - BA has an additional service leaving for New York at 17:00 today - but they have warned those without confirmed reservations not to travel to airports as flights are already full and they are not accepting any standby passengers.

Virgin has asked passengers already rebooked on flights departing within the next three days not to call the airline as it will not be able to get them home any sooner. It said passengers who had not already been rebooked will be contacted by its reservations team within the next 24 hours if they have provided their details via its 'away from home' link on its website.

BA is giving passengers with confirmed reservations to travel to the US east coast this week the option to delay their trip up to September 19, provided their tickets were booked no later than August 25.

By Linsey McNeill