The weather is causing havoc for travelers in Europe this holiday season. While California deals with dry heat that is allowing wildfires to spread all over the place, Britain, Germany, and France are dealing with snow fall and rain like they haven’t seen in years.
According to Phys.org, the inclement weather across northern Europe is causing all sorts of travel problems, both for locals and for international travelers trying to make it to their holiday destinations.
In Germany, hundreds of air travelers were stranded in Frankfurt when more than 300 flights were canceled due to heavy snow fall and sub-zero temperatures over the weekend. The airport usually handles 1,260 flights per day and is the largest hub of Lufthansa airlines. Elsewhere in Germany, more flights were canceled and trains were delayed causing all sorts of travel problems.
In Britain, Birmingham Airport and Luton Airport both experienced a combination of delays, closed runways, and suspended flights due to heavy snow fall. Frustrated travelers went so far as to call London’s Luton Airport a war zone. Brits all over the country were asked to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Accidents were happening left and right.
Then in France a ferry carrying 300 people ran aground due to high winds in Calais. Everyone on the ferry was fine, but the grounding caused problems for one of Europe’s busiest passenger ports for several hours. Elsewhere in France, heavy rains led to two airport closures and caused more than 20,000 homes to lose power.
Long story short: it’s a mess out there. As global temperatures go up year after year, one of the side effects is more severe weather, and we are certainly seeing that right now.
What does all of this mean for international travelers this holiday season? Be prepared.
The best defense against unpredictable weather and unexpected airport delays is to be prepared. Rather than checking all of your bags, keep one rolling carry-on bag with you that has, at the very least, a change of clothes, a warm jacket, a charger, and your toiletries. Packing a snack, a book, a few games, and an empty water bottle to keep yourself hydrated is also a good idea.
You can also mentally prepare by reminding yourself before you arrive at the airport that it will be a madhouse, but everyone there is trying to get to their friends and family, just like you. Remind yourself to be patient and to have extra gratitude for the airport employees who are dealing with so many weary travelers.
And of course, arrive early, check the weather, check in for your flights ahead of time whenever possible, and let us know if we can be of help with any last-minute passport or visa needs. Whatever you do and wherever you go this holiday season, stay safe and warm!
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.