Strikes causing transport misery

Free Press Series: Heathrow and Gatwick airports said a number of flights to destinations across the continent had been cancelled because of walkouts in Europe Heathrow and Gatwick airports said a number of flights to destinations across the continent had been cancelled because of walkouts in Europe

Air passengers are enduring travel misery as UK airlines cancelled flights due to anti-austerity strikes across Europe.

British Airways had to axe eight round-trip flights between London and Madrid and Barcelona as well as two return services to Lisbon in Portugal.

EasyJet cancelled some UK-Spanish services as well as more than 20 within-Europe flights. Some other easyJet flights were badly delayed - with a London service to Thessalonaki in Greece delayed for three hours 40 minutes.

Passengers on an easyJet London to Athens flight faced a delay of two hours 30 minutes, while a Manchester-Athens flight was delayed for two hours 10 minutes. Some Ryanair flights between Europe and the UK were delayed, with a flight from Limoges in France to Stansted due to arrive around four hours late.

Heathrow and Gatwick were among the UK airports where flights were delayed or cancelled. Heathrow said 39 flights - nearly all involving Spain or Portugal - had been cancelled.

Expressing regret that some flights would be delayed, rescheduled or cancelled, easyJet said: "We are proactively trying to minimise disruption. However, we would like to warn customers that they could experience delays to their travel plans."

British Airways said: "We are doing all we can to minimise the disruption to our customers. Customers due to fly to or from Spain today can rebook to an alternate date free of charge. Customers on cancelled services can also take a full refund."

The 10.57am London to Brussels Eurostar train service was also cancelled, with the company hoping to accommodate the affected passengers on the 12.57pm service. Eurostar warned customers: "Further disruptions are possible throughout the day and customers are advised not to travel."

Portuguese airline TAP had to axe a number of flights, including some London to Lisbon and Porto services, one Lisbon-Manchester flight and one Heathrow to Funchal in Madeira service. Ferry sailings to and from the UK were unaffected, while Eurotunnel's Channel Tunnel services were operating normally.

Strikes in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy are part of the Day of Action and Solidarity across the EU. Protests are also expected in Belgium, Germany, France the UK and some eastern EU states. The action has been urged by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

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