Anger rises as travel havoc snarls Europe

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In Germany flight operations were slowed even though Frankfurt airport, Germany’s biggest, was clear of snow and ice. Officials canceled about 300 flights there Monday, out of a planned total of 1,340, because of problems elsewhere in Europe, airport operator Fraport said.

French civil aviation authorities, meanwhile, asked airlines to reduce their flights at the two main Paris airports by 30 percent.

Tempers were on the rise at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.

Donna Gordon, a stranded Irish traveler, took her complaint directly to Transport Minister Thierry Mariani who made a trip to the airport to check on passengers.

“We’ve been here since Saturday at 6 a.m. and our flight keeps saying on time, on time, on time ….,” she complained. “I’m standing in the same clothes I’ve been wearing for three days.”

More snow is forecast in some areas of Britain for Monday afternoon, adding to the problems, with British Airways warning of more flight cancellations, particularly in the greater London area, where all airports have been affected.

Winter storms forced British government ministers and bank executives to postpone their meeting Monday on the politically touchy issue of bank bonuses. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills did not announce a new date but said it hoped the meeting could be rescheduled later this week.

Forecasters have said Britain is experiencing some of the most severe winter weather in a century, with continued freezing temperatures and snowfall accumulations expected Monday afternoon and evening.

Airports and British travel industry group ABTA have warned it is almost inevitable that some cancellations and delays will continue through this week and likely snarl those attempting to head away for the holiday season.

British Airways warned passengers not to travel to London’s Heathrow airport unless they have a confirmed seat on a flight known to be operating despite the weather problems and the backlog of delays. It urged travelers to consider canceling their flight if possible.

Icy conditions were also hampering travel across Europe, with flights canceled and delayed in multiple countries at the weekend.

“We are awaiting further updates,” before publishing the schedule for the remainder of the day, British Airways said in a statement. “Customers should continue to check their flight status as more snow is forecast this afternoon, which could cause further disruption to airport operations.”

In Britain criticism of the breakdown in the air and road system mounted, prompting Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to promise an inquiry into the way passengers were treated after their flights were canceled. He was expected to address Parliament about the crisis Monday afternoon.

Travelers described scenes of chaos for those arriving at the Heathrow airport, with officials offering contradictory messages about the status of flights.

In France, Jean Louis Balam, a Dutch passenger who spent the night at Charles de Gaulle airport trying for a second day to get from Paris to Amsterdam said passengers had to improvise overnight at the airport.

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