Beast from the East: Travel Advice
'Blizzard like' conditions have caused a massive wave of flight cancellations at Irish airports on Thursday and Friday.
For latest Friday travel updates, click here.
Aer Lingus and Ryanair have cancelled all flights out of Ireland for Friday, March 2.
"Nothing will operate out of Dublin, Cork, Shannon or Belfast tomorrow," a spokesperson for Aer Lingus has confirmed to Independent.ie Travel.
Inbound flights from the US and Canada will depart as planned on Friday night, however, arriving into Irish airports on Saturday morning.
Ryanair has advised that all flights scheduled to/from Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Knock & Shannon Airports on Friday, March 2, have been cancelled.
All affected customers should by now have been notified of their options by email / SMS text message (for passenger rights, scroll down below).
Both airlines also cancelled multiple flights from Irish airports today, Thursday, with knock-on delays for thousands of passengers.
Dublin Airport remained operational following "blizzard-like conditions", but said all airlines would suspend operations from around 15.00 today.
"It is unlikely that other airlines will operate to or from Dublin Airport on Friday and they are likely to resume operations on Saturday morning," it says.
Cork Airport's runway has been closed all day due to "compacted snow". Temporary camp beds were provided to assist stranded passengers overnight, and the Defence Forces have been assisting with stricken customers.
Shannon Airport is closing from 18.00 until 05.00 on Saturday.
The over-riding advice is to check regularly with your airline or travel agent, monitor weather reports, and allow extra time if travelling to the airport.
Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are not operating today, and Luas and Irish Rail had limited services that finished up by 12-2pm or thereabouts.
Weather is expected to worsen, with the entire population now advised to stay indoors between 4pm Thursday and 3pm Friday.
Aer Lingus and Ryanair have cancelled all flights from Ireland for Friday, March 2. Passengers are advised to check airline websites before travel.
Ryanair expected to wind up all operations by around 16.00 today. It has cancelled multiple flights from Irish airports Thursday and all flights Friday.
Customers will be notified by SMS/email, it says. In the meantime, you can check the status of your flight on its website here.
Aer Lingus ceased all Irish operations at 3pm, Thursday (latest here). All of Friday's flights from Ireland have been cancelled.
A return to full operations is planned from early Saturday morning.
"Guests who have bookings on Aer Lingus flights from Wednesday 28th February to Friday 2nd March and who wish to postpone their travel to a later date, within 7 days of their original travel date, may also rebook free-of-charge using our online facilities."
Check here for flight updates before travelling to the airport.
Dublin Airport: 400+ flights were cancelled today.
The airport expected all flights to cease by around 16.00 this afternoon, and says it is "unlikely" that any airlines will operate to or from its runways on Friday. "They are likely to resume operations on Saturday morning."
There is no parking charge for extra hours due to delays, or cancellations. Contact 01 944-0440 or firstname.lastname@example.org for info.
Cork Airport remains closed following overnight temperatures of -7 degrees and compacted snow on the runway. Multiple services have now been cancelled, including all remaining Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights and Norwegian's Boston service.
It will close Friday. Follow the latest alerts on Twitter here.
Dozens of Irish Ferries services have now been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. They include Swift sailings between Dublin and Holyhead from Weds-Friday, and most Rosslare/Pembroke/Cherbourg services on Thursday and Friday.
Several other services are listed as 'in doubt'. See sailing updates here.
For updates, check in with:
For school transport, check buseireann.ie or call 1850 836 611.
Irish Rail was expected to wind down all services by lunchtime Thursday, resuming from around noon on Friday. See updates here.
Dublin Bus will not be in a position to operate any services on Thursday, 1 March, having ceased operating at 19.00 Wednesday night. More here.
All Bus Éireann services have now been cancelled in Ireland for Thursday due to the national Status Red weather alert.
Luas services operated at reduced frequencies, but stopped at 12 noon on Thursday. You can follow its latest updates here.
Flight cancellation rights are covered under EC Regulation 261/2004.
If your flight is cancelled for any reason, and regardless of when you are notified, your airline must offer you the choice between:
1) Re-routing as soon as possible, subject to availability, free of charge.
2) Re-routing at a later date.
3) A full refund.
Am I entitled to care and assistance?
If your flight is cancelled and you choose to be re-routed as soon as possible, then you are entitled to meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation and transfers between the airport and hotel as required. If the airline does not provide these, and you end up paying yourself, keep the receipts - you are entitled to a reimbursement of reasonable expenses.
NB. A five-star hotel may not be a reasonable expense!
Bear in mind that if your flight is cancelled and you choose a full refund, then the airline's obligations to you end there and then.
Am I entitled to compensation?
Financial compensation depends on the flight length and the reason for the cancellation. It ranges from €250 (short-haul, less than 1,500km) to €600 (long-haul, over 3,500km).
For more on your passenger rights, read here or visit flightrights.ie.
How can my travel insurance help?
In the event of a flight cancellation, the first source of refunds and re-routing should be with your airline (see above).
Standard travel insurance policies don't offer much help here, but 'missed departure' cover can help you secure a new flight, or an additional night's accomodation.
If your policy includes extra "travel disruption" cover, you should be covered for additional transport or accommodation costs up to €1,000pp, according to Ciaran Mulligan, Managing Director of Blue Insurance and Multitrip.com.
This covers "99pc" of scenarios with flight cancellations due to weather, strikes and so on, Mulligan says, but note that it covers transport and accommodation-related expenses only - i.e. not lost annual leave, business opportunities or deposits, concert tickets or museum or attraction fees booked in advance online.
Is it too late to take out travel insurance?
Travel Disruption cover can be added retrospectively to a policy, but not to claim on an event that has already happened. Storm Emma has already been forecast, so travel insurance taken out now won't cover travel disruption it causes.
"There's a seven day moratorium on travel disruption from time you take out the policy to time you will be covered," Mulligan warns.
However, 'missed departure' cover should still apply - even if you take out the cover today in full knowledge that Storm Emma is on the way.
I’m nervous about travel. Can I get a refund?
No. If you cancel your holiday without the DFA (dfa.ie/travel) declaring travel to be unsafe, it could be deemed "disinclination to travel".
As such, you may have to pay a cancellation fee or forfeit some or all of the cost of your air fare or holiday package.
That said, it's worth noting that Irish tour operators have in the past worked to facilitate customers affected by exceptional events, so it's always worth a phone call.
NB: This story is being updated to reflect developments.
Storm Emma is hitting Ireland. The Independent.ie team are keeping you updated with all the latest weather, traffic and news updates right here. Keep safe and warm, but we'd love to see your photos and videos. Send them by email to email@example.com or Whatsapp to 0871847169.