Christmas getaway back on track as Gatwick reopens

News | Published:

AFTER days of disruption due to drone activity, flights to and from Gatwick were back to normal on Saturday, much to the relief of those who were looking to travel away for Christmas, or meeting friends and family coming to stay for the holidays.

Delighted to be heading for Lanzarote for some winter sun for Christmas were the Dodd family, but the younger members had been assured that Father Christmas would call while they were away. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin/Tallpictures)

Among the travellers who had anxiously been following the news were the Dodd family, who were jetting off to Lanzarote for some winter sun.

The nine-strong party of five children and four adults were going to spend the night at a hotel at Gatwick before heading to their final destination the next day.

‘We’ve not done this for Christmas before,’ said dad Nathan.

Rather than carry gifts with them, mum Lauren Falla said they would be doing Christmas when they get back on 4 January. ‘This holiday is for family time,’ she said. ‘Father Christmas will visit home while we’re away.’

The family was relieved that the delays seemed to be over, although the people arrested by police on Friday night have now been released and are not suspects.

‘What was their game? Trying to ruin everyone’s Christmas?’

Keith and Christine Duquemin were not worried about drones, since they were heading to Bristol and then on to join their sons in South Wales for a family Christmas.

‘We’re there most Christmases,’ said Mr Duquemin. ‘Our two sons will both be there and we’ll be staying until the new year.’


Also heading to Bristol was Alderney resident Shona Braye and three of her children, flying to join her husband and other youngster in Weston-super-Mare: ‘We’ve been away for Christmas before, but not there. We’ve been to Scotland,’ she said.

The family moved to the island from Devon just over two years ago for Mr Braye to work for the States.

‘We were in Alderney for Christmas last year,’ said Mrs Braye.

‘It was nice, but I missed my family. There’s nothing like a family Christmas.’


Aurigny had switched its Gatwick services to get around the drone issue, but was using the Sussex airport again on Saturday.

In arrivals, the Gatwick flight got in a mere 10 minutes behind schedule, much to the relief of those waiting for family and friends.

Among them was Shaun Winterflood, glad that daughter Donna had been able to make it as planned.

As well as celebrating Christmas she would also be joining her family for her sister Becky’s birthday, which was on Saturday.

‘We were worrying yesterday,’ said Mr Winterflood. ‘But she was so laid-back, she said “I’ll be fine going to Southampton”.’

Another arrival from Gatwick was Alice Sarre, who was relieved to be home, not just because of the drones worry but because she was recovering from a bout of food poisoning and now had a cold.

‘I was worried I’d have to go to Southampton,’ said Miss Sarre, who recently started her first job after graduating from university as a trainee broadcast engineer.

Sister Gemma was there to meet her along with mum and dad, Roger and Grace. Gemma had arrived from Bristol the day before.

Mrs Sarre said they were all impressed at how Aurigny had managed to clear the backlog of passengers after the delays.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter


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