UK Weather: “All hands on deck” inside Stansted Airport

UK set to hit -10C in weather warning with potential to plunge Stansted Airport into chaos

There is a risk that Stansted Airport will repeat the same mistakes of December 2022 as the UK prepares for a cold snap. 

Student experiences disruption last year

Olaf, a 24-year-old student, was due to board flight FR2465 to Katowice, Poland on the 12th of December last year when he was left without any support or information for hours. 

Their flight was allocated the same gate as another before they were told it was going to have a delay of 40 minutes.

They had still not been informed of its cancellation when Olaf’s partner downloaded a flight tracking app that showed “the flight [that was bringing our plane back] flying to Bristol… It took Ryanair around an hour from the moment we saw the flight flying to Bristol to the moment they actually announced cancellation of our flight. Zero updates. […] We were both confused because it is not as if the snow was a surprise, it was in the weather forecast for days before the flight and I have flown while it was snowing before from different airports.”

Upon trying to reorganise a flight, Olaf described the airport being in a state of chaos: “for a line of what seemed like thousands, there were five desks serving people.” He left the airport at 4:30am, stating that the everybody at the airport was “frustrated, emotional and exhausted”.

Ex-manager highlights internal issues

This viewpoint is echoed by Jenny Crossling, an ex-manager at the airport. She explained that it will be “all hands on deck”, and that “managers will be monitoring foot fall passengers coming in verses planned, resourcing staff that haven’t turned up and also planning on how to get staff in for the afternoon and night shift.  Usually overtime pleas, with a little double money to motivate.” 

Crossling continued to explain that the staff will in her opinion “forever deserve a medal for it”. Olaf shared this view, stating that “I felt really bad for those employees. It’s not their fault their company doesn’t care about passengers.”

Crossling continued: “It’s a pressure cooker at the best of times so ramping the request to deal with bad weather is never easy especially considering the current climate. Staff very demotivated from the pandemic impact, had to fight for pay recognition, also in formal grievance process over their working pattern (flexi).”