By Kirsty Topping
EDINBURGH Airport was a scene of chaos today (Tue) as hundreds of stranded passengers hunted for news of their flights – and a place to rest.
By midday, only 14 flights had arrived or taken off, with nearly 100 cancelled and there was no sign of the situation improving.
Long queues snaked around the check-in desks of the only two airlines operating any flights, FlyBe and BMI.
Jet2 was one of many airlines that abandoned flights altogether, opting to bus passengers 200 miles and five hours away to West Yorkshire.
And even then, there was no guarantee that passengers would be able to get their flights from Leeds-Bradford.
Becki Gerard, 25, is trying to get to Hungary with Jet2. Sitting dejectedly on the floor of the airport, she said: “I left Glasgow at 5.15am on the train. I’m out of the country for 10 days on holiday and I’m supposed to be flying to Budapest.”
Becki was fortunate in the sense she was not one of more than 400 passengers who slept on the floor of the airport overnight.
Maja Thomassen, 23, a student in Edinburgh, was due to fly home to Oslo after finishing term.
She said: “We are flying from Newcastle now instead of Edinburgh. We were due to fly out at 11.20 to Stockholm.
“It’s been quite difficult having my flights cancelled. We slept at the airport last night, which is not very pleasant but there’s not much that can be done about it.
“We are flying with Ryanair and they don’t take any responsibility do the fact our flight is cancelled so we booked new tickets with another airline.”
Elmer Lebeck, 53, from Aabemraa in southern Denmark was amongst agroup of Danes sleeping under red blankets on the floor of thedeparture area.
He said: “I’m supposed to be flying back to Denmark.
“My flight’s been cancelled but as far as I’m aware Ryanair is tryingto get something flying again but we haven’t heard anything.
“The only information we have been given is that it’s been cancelled.”
David Munro, 50, from Port Mahomack, near Inverness, was due to fly out to America with his wife and young daughter on a dream holiday.
He said: “We are supposed to be flying to Atlanta, Georgia. My wife’s from Georgia and we are going out for a month for a holiday and to get caught up with her family.
“We were supposed to be flying out at 11.15am but we are not flying today and we’ve rebooked for tomorrow morning.
“I don’t know what we are going to do because they are telling me all the hotels close by are all booked up.
“My daughter is two and I’m a bit concerned about her spending the night here but there’s not much you can do. “
Benson Chongo, 60, from Perth and his wife were waiting in the UK arrivals terminal for their daughter’s plane from London.
“Her flight was cancelled yesterday and today.
“She cannot fly from London and we have been waiting here all night.
“It’s been horrible and very uncomfortable, as you can imagine. We’ve just had to bear it.
“We had to buy food and drink out of our own pocket. We had to spend what we were not expecting to spend and it’s been quite expensive.”
Christine Chatterjee, 65, from Monifeith was waiting with her grandchildren for a flight to France.
“We are due to fly to Charles De Gaulle because it’s my daughter’s 40th birthday and we are taking the kids to Euro Disney, but that’s been cancelled.
“We are trying to get alternatives and they’ve said they would fly us to Dusseldorf and onto Charles De Gaulle from there but now that’s been cancelled too so hopefully they are now going to fly us to Manchester and then well get another flight from there.
“We are really disappointed.”
Gordon Robertson, head of communications for airport operators BAA, said: “We had 400 people stay over last night, we will have many more today, but it’s going to be a fluid situation over the day.”
He added: “Most passengers have been fairly reasonable aboutit because they know it’s nobody’s fault, they know it’s an act ofnature and we’re dealing with it the best we can.”
Chris Bell, 29, from Rosyth, Fife, was, however, pleased his flight had been cancelled.
He said: “I travel for my job. My flight got cancelled yesterday because of the bad weather and it’s been cancelled today because of the ash cloud so it’s an extra twonights in my own bed.
“I’ll try tomorrow morning because I have a commitment to a customerbut again if it’s cancelled I’ll secretly have a wee smile to myself.”
By mid afternoon a Ryanair flight to Tenerife had taken off, with the airline apparently planning to send six out in total.
However, by around 2.30pm, British Airways announced the cancellation of all flights for the rest of the day, with all other airlines reportedly following suit two hours later.