Thousands have been stranded at Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport due to bad weather.
Travelers describe ‘otherworldly’ conditions, lack of food and water, and no way to reach hotels.
Caroline Rose, who eventually returned to DC, also spotted actor Damian Lewis in the crowd.
Thousands of people have been stranded at Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport due to bad weather, and have taken to social media to commiserate, sharing photos of “otherworldly” airport conditions during the December holiday travel rush.
Caroline Rose, a 26-year-old researcher at the New Lines Institute, a Washington-based think tank, shared some photos on Twitter, including a selfie with “Billions” actor Damian Lewis, 51.
Via Twitter DM, Rose described the experience as a “total nightmare” to Insider, saying she asked Lewis, who appeared to be waiting with her children, for a photo: “Thought I’d ask for a selfie for some kind of positive memory. at night,” Rose explained. “He was incredibly kind!” Representatives for Lewis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Rose, who had flown from Heathrow to Keflavík on Saturday, described her flight being delayed “every few minutes or so, citing extreme weather on the ground” but, after calling Icelandair to make “alternative arrangements”, she told him Insider was told to stay on the flight, which eventually left London and landed in Keflavik.
Rose described fellow travelers who arrived in Keflavík on Saturday night to find “otherworldly” conditions, saying that “all the restaurants closed and the vending machines were practically ransacked.”
“Many of us were hungry and had to search for whatever food we could find after the airline only gave us cereal bars to eat while we waited on the tarmac,” Rose said, alluding to a two-hour delay she experienced waiting on the tarmac. clue. to disembark.
As the number of stranded travelers increased, available hotel rooms dwindled rapidly.
A TikToker, who said in a December 21TikTok who had landed in Iceland for a one-hour layover and has since been stranded for four days, described the “swarm” of passengers finding hotels at the same time. According to NBC Newsmany nearby hotels were already full for the weekend.
While airlines like icelandair Y easyJet offered passengers hotel accommodations and refunds, even those lucky enough to book hotel stays weren’t necessarily able to get to the beds they had paid to sleep in. Rose, who said that she booked a hotel room while she was still on the track, was one such traveler.
“There were no taxis or buses that could take us to nearby hotels or to Reykjavik,” he explained, “so I had to pay the cost of my hotel reservation for the night (I was not reimbursed) and sleep on the airport floor together with hundreds of others.”
Travelers trying to pick up visitors from the airport also shared unsuccessful attempts in “dangerous drive” to retrieve visitors from the airport in Decembre 19thincluding a woman whose mother was eventually escorted out by a “mountain rescue boy.”
Rose described travelers sleeping in the checked baggage belt and on top of luggage, as well as organizing “camp-like circles” with strangers on the ground to share snacks they had with them.
“It was heartbreaking to see parents try to put young children to sleep,” Rose said. “The airport was very cold.”
Around midnight, as rebookings began to affect passenger accounts, Rose described frustratingly convoluted or impossible routes: She recalled a traveler being placed on a Thursday-departing flight (by then, it was Sunday morning). and another that he would have to return to London and change airports during an hour layover.
“I had to fly to Amsterdam, where they transferred me in less than 15 minutes to my flight back home to DC,” said Rose, who eventually returned to Washington. “I did it by the skin of my teeth.” Unfortunately, Icleandair lost her checked baggage, she said.
A crucial 30-mile highway connecting Keflavík to Reykjavík was cleared of snow on Tuesday and flights from the airport have resumed, albeit with delays. according to a statement from Icelandair.
“Our team has worked tirelessly throughout the night to rebook passengers onto new flights, and they will continue to do so today.” Icelandair said in an update on Wednesday morning. “Our absolute priority is to get passengers where they need to be before Christmas.”
But passengers remain frustrated by the experience and by the way the airlines handled the chaos.
Ryan Stevens, another London traveler, lost €1,500 after paying for three nights in a hotel and two extra booked flights, according to a report from Insider’s Rebecca Cohenno information about refund.
“I’m lucky, I didn’t go to the airport. I’m not stuck there. But I don’t know what to do.” Stevens previously told Insider. “No one can blame the airlines for cancellations, but aftercare of such an event needs to be better managed. I’m stuck. I have no idea what the next step is. No support at all.”
Rose felt the same.
“I find it hard to understand why Icelandair irresponsibly decided (and continued) to send passengers to Keflavík when it knew only too well that the weather conditions were so dangerous that they would prevent people from getting anywhere warm to sleep, eat and drink.” ,” she said.
Icleandair did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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