Passengers land in Belfast after Sandy

Published Thursday, 01 November 2012
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UK airlines are getting back to normal service to and from storm-ridden New York on Thursday, after Hurricane Sandy brought the city to a standstill.

Passengers land in Belfast after Sandy
Passengers arrived at Belfast International on schedule on Thursday. (© Pacemaker)

United Airlines' first flight at Belfast International Airport arrived on schedule, touching down shortly after 8am.

Kathleen Wilson said her experience stranded in the deluged city was "terrifying".

"We got out to near the airport, but we had no power, no hot food - just miserable," she said.

"It was a rotten way to spend the end of your holiday."

Another passenger relieved to have landed at the airport described the difficult conditions, as he tried to survive with no power, no hot water and torchlight.

He said: "I was staying in lower East side, and they still don't have power there so Manhattan was split in two. The lower side had no power and the upper side had power."

The country is still trying to recover from the superstorm that devastated the east coast of the US, which is now thought to have claimed 70 lives and has left four million Americans without power.

One resident who escaped to Belfast said that a family in her neighbourhood had lost their father when a tree fell on their house.

"The mother was critically injured and one of the children in the house... Just total devastation," she said.

We anticipate the flights will be very busy over the next few days as people reorganise their travel plans and get home.

Deborah Harris, Belfast Intl Airport

Deborah Harris from the airport said passengers should keep checking with the airline for the latest information.

"The airline (is) working very hard to rebook people, to refund people, to try and reorganise the flights as well. I think the problem they are having as well is the aircraft are in the wrong place, the crew are in the wrong place. It's a massive operation in New York."

Dublin Airport has said the majority of its transatlantic flights were scheduled to operate as normal on Thursday but passengers are advised to check with their airline before travelling to airport.

Virgin Atlantic operated its usual four-flights-a-day service to New York and was also operating normal schedules to Newark in New Jersey and to Boston and Washington DC.

British Airways was flying all but one of its 11 daily services to New York as well as normal services to Newark and its other US east coast destinations.

"We flew an extra flight to American yesterday to clear the backlog and we are gradually getting the held-up people home," said a Virgin spokeswoman.

BA was operating an extra flight to Newark and the airline has added more ticket machines at airport terminals in New York and Newark to help customers through the rebooking and check-in process as quickly as possible.

A BA spokesman said: "We would like to thank our customers for their continued patience and understanding."

© UTV News
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