With widespread snow covering Britain in a festive flourish of white, we are forced to sit back and ask ourselves once again, why were we not prepared?
It seems laughable that whilst countries such as Canada, Sweden, Iceland, and others where heavy snow is expected, life continues as normal, and the weather is no cause for a national standstill. Hopping over the ocean to Britain however, we are greeted with a scene which reveals abandoned cars, deserted airports, and empty roads.
Whilst the conditions are clearly treacherous for travel within the UK at this current time, we must consider why it is that even with the advance emergency weather warnings; we were totally unprepared for the arrival of Britain’s latest ‘big freeze.’
The airports are a major establishment which have been badly hit with the latest bout of bad weather; with runways being completely inaccessible, and many occurrences of there not enough anti freeze to prepare planes before take-off. Consequently, the majority of flights leaving the UK have been cancelled until further notice, with a complete lack of communication between flight companies and stranded passengers.
British Airways in particular have revealed their complete lack of concern for their customers, with one flight to Canada having been delayed, then cancelled, with no information to the already boarded passengers, who were forced to endure an agonizing four hour wait simply sat on the plane. Following this, the entire flight’s capacity of people had to file back into Heathrow in order to fill in claims forms, of which there were not enough to go around, and then wait in line for up to seven hours from that evening until the early hours of the following morning, in order to retrieve their luggage. Still not being told anything, these unfortunate customers then had to endure another eight to ten hour wait, simply being left wherever there was a floor space in the already crowded departure lounge, supplied only with a blanket distributed by British Airways. In this day and age, it is outrageous that a large company, such as British Airways, have shown such a complete lack of regard for their paying customers.
It is shocking that due to these recent events, we must ask ourselves; why have many roads not been gritted? Why were airports not adequately equipped? Why has the country come to a standstill once again, despite early weather warnings?
Unfortunately, it seems that the country must continue to hang in the balance for the time being, with temperatures plummeting to minus twenty over some parts of the UK, the arctic conditions do not seem set to leave any time soon. Furthermore, with many people having been forced to do their Christmas shopping online due to the terrible weather conditions, it is set to be a very stark Christmas, with undelivered parcels littering warehouses across the country.
All we can do is sit and anxiously wait for Britain to thaw out and silently hope that this recent ‘big freeze’ will be enough to ensure that the UK is better prepared in the future.