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Snow causes traveler chaos in Europe

Snow and freezing weather grounded flights across Europe, stranding Christmas travelers.

Heathrow passengers
Airline passengers rest on the floor as they wait for flights in Heathrow airport's Terminal 3, near London, on Dec. 20, 2010. British airports operator BAA apologized Monday for ongoing chaos at London Heathrow as freezing weather threatened to ruin Christmas plans for "many thousands" of people. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Snow, ice and plunging temperatures in northern Europe have prolonged the Christmas traveler chaos.

Road, rail and air travel was affected, while snow and ice grounded the vast majority of flights in and out of Britain on Sunday, with Heathrow the worst-affected airport. 

Hundreds of thousands of people were left stranded over the weekend, with many sleeping at the airport. British Airways was advising travelers to check flight status at www.ba2go.com but the website was unresponsive.

Paris' Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport is due to cancel 30 percent of flights Monday. Frankfurt airport in Germany has called off 325 flights out of a scheduled 1,300 to 1,400, according to officials, largely due to flight disruptions at other airports. 

BA warned that Heathrow would be operating as "significantly reduced capacity for several days" —threatening to leave more than 100,000 Britons stranded overseas for Christmas. 

Jean MacKenzie, GlobalPost's Kabul correspondent, was caught up in the chaos. She wrote: "I am trying to make my way home, but am stuck in London [now for the third day].

"I am running around trying to buy shampoo, etc. "They have no idea where the luggage is] ... There is about two inches of snow on the ground... really ...and the whole airport was shut. It is scandalous.

"I will NEVER fly through London in the winter again. I'm trying to get to Frankfurt, and out that way. At least Lufthansa may help rebook if the flight is cancelled. BA just said 'you're on your own.' "

On Saturday, frigid temperatures and extreme conditions pummeled Europe. Blizzard conditions From Northern Ireland to Bulgaria, left airports with heavy delays or shut them entirely. Snow, ice and fog have caused travel chaos ahead of a busy holiday travel week.

Forecasters see no sign of a thaw. Temperatures hit a record low in Northern Ireland overnight, the Met Office said, with temperatures of 0 degrees (-18 degrees Celsius), recorded in Castlederg, County Tyrone.

Below-normal temperatures are expected to continue in northern Europe for part of this week. The BBC writes about how airports keep going in poor weather.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/france/101220/snow-travel-europe-heathrow-weather-flights