Gatwick Airport drones: 'Absolute shambles' as flights cancelled

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Media caption,
Teddy, seven, tells Victoria Derbyshire of his sadness at having to cancel a trip to Lapland

Drones flying over Gatwick Airport have caused Christmas travel chaos for thousands. Among them is a couple hoping to honeymoon in New York and a little boy who wants to go to Lapland.

Instead of celebrating her marriage in the festive fairytale of New York, newlywed Hope Lauren Eder is stranded at the airport.

"We haven't heard anything from our airline, by text or anything, so we thought we'd head to the airport," she said.

"There weren't any queues at the desk, so we managed to get through quickly."

She said the scenes at the check-in lounge were "awful."

"I saw a woman crying, someone had collapsed at the bottom of the escalator, it's just an absolute shambles.

"No-one's really saying what's going on. They're just checking you in and then once we're through you've just got to wait and hear. It's not a guarantee that it's going to take off."

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Tanya Stewart had been due to fly to Lapland with her seven-year-old son Teddy, who she said was being "very brave".

He said: "My dad, he walked to the front desk of the airport and he asked what was going on, and the lady gave him a letter and it said the flights would be cancelled. I was just sad and upset."

Mrs Stewart said: "I just feel so bad. I wanted it to be a day to remember for Teddy, one that he will treasure forever."

But optimistic Teddy insisted: "We can do it next year."

Alison Battle, one of the founders of Lapland UK, heard Mrs Stewart on BBC 5 Live earlier and has invited Teddy to go and help Father Christmas and the elves at Lapland UK.

Mrs Stewart cried on air. She said: "I don't know what to say. Thank you so much. That's made our Christmas."

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'Last chance for grandson'

Gordon in Blackheath, London, texted BBC Radio 5 Live and said: "My wife and seven-year old boy are going to Greece to visit a very ill grandmother. It will break her heart if they can't make it. It may be her last chance to see them."

Michelle from Guernsey told the radio station her daughter Caitlyn was stuck in Spain as her flight home via Gatwick had been cancelled.

Emilie-Kate Owen from Dorking had planned to fly to Edinburgh for her grandfather's funeral on Friday but is now travelling with her father by train in the hope of making it on time. She said her ticket had been accepted on LNER so she did not have to pay extra.

Caitlyn is a third year foreign exchange student who is spending a year living and studying in Barcelona.

Her mother said: "It's going to be a big family Christmas, all four of my children are coming home and I would like her to be here, we don't want her stuck there on her own."

Image source, Geoffrey Gove
Image caption,
Geoffrey Grove is trying to get to the Swiss Alps with his wife and five-year-old twins

Geoffrey Grove, 42, is stranded on a plane at Orly airport in France after his flight from Boston, USA was grounded.

The plane has been on the runway since 08:05 GMT and passengers are not allowed off the plane.

"There is no air conditioning. Babies are being stripped because it is so hot," Mr Grove said.

"We are trying to get to the Swiss alps. So this will definitely slow things down.

"The unfortunate thing is the utter waste of time just sitting on the plane for four hours."

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