'Severe thunderstorms' cause travel chaos for hundreds at Heathrow

Passengers queue up at the British Airways check-in desks on Friday morning. (PA)

Hundreds of passengers have been left stranded at Heathrow Airport after freak weather conditions caused flight cancellations and delays.

Frustrated airline passengers vented their frustration at several airlines and the airport as huge queues built up and passengers reportedly lost luggage.

Several flights were cancelled last night because of thunderstorms, leading to huge tailbacks this morning as stranded fliers returned to the airport.

One passenger, Simon Hix, claimed to have been stuck in Heathrow for 16 hours waiting to catch a flight.

Pictures posted on Twitter showed enormous queues of stranded passengers building up at Heathrow on Friday morning. Twitter/@lynn_morrison66
Long queues could be seen around Heathrow airport as passengers waited for updates on their flights. (Twitter/@massimo_anelli)

Craig Beale, 30, from Reading, was scheduled to fly from Frankfurt to Heathrow on Thursday.

He said: ‘It was mentioned as delayed at boarding gate as the previous flight was cancelled in the afternoon and this plane was completely full… the crew were providing water, thank God.

‘Finally arriving at 2.25 BST, more than six hours after our scheduled landing time.’

Donna Graham tweeted: ‘There are hundreds of people queuing at Heathrow. They are all trying to rebook BA flights cancelled last night and/or find out how to get their luggage back.’

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Air traffic control company Nats said the delays were caused by a technical problem with the UK’s air traffic control system.

Heathrow Airport has asked travellers to ‘please check with your airline before travelling’.

The transport hub added: ‘We’re sorry for the disruption & are working with our airline partners to keep passengers travelling.’

A Heathrow spokeseperson told Yahoo News: ‘We apologise for the disruption caused by extreme weather conditions across Europe last night and are working alongside our airline partners to keep passengers travelling.

‘We advise those due to travel to contact their airline for up to date flight information.’

While a spokesperson for British Airways told Yahoo News on Friday: ‘Like many other airlines and travel operators we have been affected by severe weather issues overnight and into today.

‘Our teams have been apologising to customers for the inconvenience and doing what they can to look after them, providing refreshment vouchers and hotel accommodation for those already at the airport and as much information as possible on the delays or cancellations, which have been caused by ​thunderstorms following the extreme heat.’

Record breaking temperatures on Thursday led to powerful thunderstorms overnight.

A yellow warning was issued by the Met Office for thunderstorms in most of England and parts of Scotland expired at 4am on Friday.

Thursday was the hottest July day on record, with the 38.1C (100.6F) in Cambridge beating the previous record of 36.7C (98.1F) set in Heathrow four years ago.

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