Guernsey Press

Another day of delays for airline passengers

AIR travellers faced Christmas misery yesterday, after fog caused delays during the day.

Charlie Best, Eliza Mellor and Hope Best were trying to get to Alderney yesterday after having to stay in a Guernsey hotel overnight when their flight to Alderney from Southampton was cancelled on Wednesday. (Picture by Mark Ogier, 31600495)

Flights from Gatwick were diverted to Jersey and Southampton during the afternoon, as thick fog blanketed the airport.

There was an improvement later in the afternoon, when the airlines tried to play catch-up.

Alderney passengers faced another day of disruption. While two early flights got away, services were then delayed by the bad weather. Of the last five days, four have seen serious problems with Alderney flights.

There is expected to be more fog at times today, but Christmas Eve is set to be a mixture of sunny spells and showers.

Travellers heading to Alderney were optimistic of getting there yesterday lunchtime, before the weather in Guernsey deteriorated.

Problems started on Sunday, when all three flights from Guernsey to Alderney were cancelled, and the pattern continued the following day when, once again, all were cancelled.

Things started looking up on Tuesday when four flights were put on and all departed, albeit a bit late in some cases.

But bad weather descended again on Wednesday, which saw the afternoon’s flights hit.

Yesterday morning things improved for a time, with the 8.55am scheduled flight from Guernsey to Alderney able to get away, albeit 35 minutes late. But the 1.10pm flight did not depart until 4.20pm

Arriving yesterday lunchtime for their flight, Charlie Best, wife Eliza Mellor and their daughter, Hope, had spent the night at a Guernsey hotel after deciding to come on Blue Islands from Southampton when their Aurigny flight to Alderney from the UK airport was cancelled on Wednesday.

The family were heading to Alderney to visit family.

‘We were told the next available flight was the 24th,’ said Mr Best.

‘But from previous experience we knew you could get to Guernsey with Blue Islands because of their code share, but you have to try and book Blue Islands separately, then get a refund from Aurigny. The alternative was to wait in Southampton for three days and pay for a hotel.’

That saw them arriving in Guernsey on Wednesday evening and check in for the 1.10pm Aurigny flight to Alderney.

Mr Best said he had been travelling to Alderney for years but it was only in the last couple of years that he spent a lot more time stuck in Guernsey than previously.

‘There’s only two aeroplanes and one of them was broken, but back in the old Trislander days they were going all the time.’

Another passenger who spent an extra night in Guernsey than she had planned was Connaught Care Home employee Amanda Browning, who had been in Guernsey visiting family ahead of her Christmas shift in the home.

‘I live in Alderney and I’m hoping to get home for Christmas.’

She had been booked on a flight on Wednesday which was cancelled so she went back to her local home.

‘They said to go on the 5.30pm but by the time I got home and looked at the flight, it had been cancelled.

‘I’m tempted to give Buz a ring,’ she said, referring to the owner of the Access Challenger boat, Buz White, who had been helping get travellers between the islands.

He said she had helped get the post and three passengers to Alderney three days ago after the weekend disruption.

And on Wednesday night, it took five people to the island, returning with a full boat of 12 to Guernsey in the evening.

‘We don’t normally travel in the dark, due to the flotsam, jetsam and crab pots,’ he said yesterday.

‘But we decided to do it last night, when it was quiet, rather than today [when the weather was worse].’

He said he was hoping to fly to Alderney today, but if there was disruption he would take the boat and disrupted passengers.

Weather, Jersey harbour and lots of freight cause problems for Condor

POOR weather, tidal problems in Jersey’s harbour and heavy seasonal cargo are all hitting Condor sailings.

The Condor Voyager from Jersey and St Malo was cancelled yesterday, as was the Liberation sailing from Poole. Commodore Goodwill’s freight sailing was delayed.

Today’s fast ferry sailing is cancelled and the Clipper is operating an amended timetable.

Christmas also sees an increase in people travelling to Sark, with visitors and people with family links.

A Sark Shipping representative said the weather had been OK for them so far.

‘It’s looking a bit peaky tomorrow [today], but they haven’t had to cancel any boats and they are getting people to where they need to be,’ she said.

‘No cargo boats have needed to be cancelled so the hotels, restaurants and shops are all fully stocked.

‘The number of passengers varies, usually depending on the weather, it can range from a few to about 50 on a day trip.

‘Some Sarkees have been commuting to Guernsey to get Christmas food and present shopping done.’