News / Europe

Christmas Travelers Snowed Under in Europe

Passengers wait for their flights in a terminal after sleeping a night at the Charles-de-Gaulle Roissy airport, Paris, 24 Dec 2010
Passengers wait for their flights in a terminal after sleeping a night at the Charles-de-Gaulle Roissy airport, Paris, 24 Dec 2010
Lisa Bryant

Holiday travelers in Europe faced more misery Christmas Eve as a fresh batch of bad weather barreled into the region.

Many Europeans will wake up to snow on Christmas Day – but for those stranded in cars, train stations and airports around the region, that is not necessarily a good tiding.

As yet another wintertime storm hit Europe, Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris was forced to cancel at least one in three flights because of yet another problem – a shortage of de-icing fluid for planes.

In remarks to local radio, French Transportation Minister Thierry Mariani blamed the wave of bad weather for the shortage of the fluid – and the fact that France's only factory that manufactures it has been on strike. The factory denied responsibility.

Whatever the reason, the delays forced holiday travellers like Italian Ramona Sansotta to wait hours to catch a flight.

Sansotta said her flight to Genoa, Italy had been cancelled twice since Thursday. She had spent the night at Charles de Gaulle airport. She still hoped to get home by Christmas.

Snow and freezing rain has also disrupted road and rail travel around France, with about a fifth of French departments posting weather alerts.

French driver Nicolas told French media he has been stuck in a village in the Champagne region since Thursday with a friend because of the ice. They had hoped to spend their holiday in Alsace.

In Germany, bad weather shut down Dusseldorf's airport for part of Friday. And at Brussels Airport, Americans Richard and Kathy Boughton were crestfallen to find their flight home to Washington D.C. had been cancelled.

"We go back like every other year, and this was an important one for us to get back for family reasons," Boughton said. "Our kids are over there, all the rest of the family are there. But not us this time. Oh well. Merry Christmas. The Christmas that wasn't."

Travelers had better luck elsewhere in Europe. Flights at London's Heathrow airport were nearly back to normal after days of weather-related cancellations. And Germany's Frankfurt airport was also operating near normal.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Counties Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs