Sunday 21 October 2018

'Flying back from our wedding in Cuba, we were stuck in Amsterdam with just our summer clothes'

A hot-chocolate seller watches as ice skaters skate and walk on the frozen Prinsengracht canal during icy weather in Amsterdam. Photo: Reuters
A hot-chocolate seller watches as ice skaters skate and walk on the frozen Prinsengracht canal during icy weather in Amsterdam. Photo: Reuters
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

Irish passengers stranded in Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, were exchanging war stories.

"We had a flight from Beijing to Dublin via Amsterdam on Wednesday," a young couple from Louth explained.

"The flight was redirected to Shannon but the pilot told us there was a chance we could get to Dublin. So we stayed on the flight, circling Dublin... literally up in the air. But they couldn't land so here we are back in Amsterdam."

Flights to Dublin, Cork and Shannon were cancelled for days while Storm Emma ravaged Ireland.

Claire Murphy and her husband Gianmarco doing some impromptu sightseeing in Amsterdam
Claire Murphy and her husband Gianmarco doing some impromptu sightseeing in Amsterdam

Thousands of passengers had to make alternative plans or simply wait for a new flight. Including myself and my husband, returning from our wedding and honeymoon abroad.

The man who came in from Beijing claimed "the weather conditions were worse there - heavy snow and freezing conditions but the planes continued to land all through the night".

The queue at KLM took us five hours. Rebooking new flights, arranging hotel accommodation, hotel transfers.

There were Mars bars, Snickers and bottles of water handed out.

It was cold comfort, because every day each passenger had to return to queue again at the airport to book a hotel for the next night. Tempers were frayed amid accusations of queue-jumping - everyone looking for someone to blame.

And some of the hotels were not ideal for weary travellers. One couple were forced to stuff towels into the broken window vent and safety pin the curtain to stop the howling freezing air coming into the room.

Finally, over the weekend, everything began running more smoothly and we are hoping to finally make it back to Dublin later today - several days behind schedule.

We got a few wry smiles when we eventually walked out of Schiphol Airport in light summer clothes in -5C.

We had landed from Havana, Cuba, and it was a shock to the system.

It could be worse - we could be in Dublin.

Irish Independent

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