With Storm Sabine flooding streets and knocking down trees and power lines, all flights were suspended from Munich Airport. That created a de facto refugee camp in the terminal halls of Germany’s second largest airport.
Storm Sabine (called Storm Ciara in non-Germanic countries) has brought destructive winds and rain across the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. The German state of Bavaria, which includes Munich, was hit particularly hard.
My business partner got caught in the winter storm, arriving on Sunday morning and finding his flight to Frankfurt was cancelled, along with all other flights. He was rebooked on Monday but nearly every flights, including his, were also cancelled again.
Two days without flights creates a bottleneck at a hub airport. While my business partner was accommodated at the Hilton Munich Airport, others–including first class passengers–were not so fortunate.
Take a look at these pictures:
Weather does not trigger compensation under EU261, a European Union law which protects consumers from delays within the control of airlines. That meant airport cots and packaged snacks for most travelers.
My business parter was traveling first class on Lufthansa, but even first class passengers were not all accommodated. He spent yesterday at the airport trying to get out and witnessed explosive verbal conflict between passengers and Lufthansa staff at the first class check-in desk. Unsurprisingly, the Hilton filled up and first class passengers were being accommodated at a Holiday Inn and being told to take a shuttle there. That did not fly for many passengers. Poor agents…
Flights are again operating today, but a backlog of passengers remain.
These sorts of delays can happen anywhere, but I cannot imagine spending a full day just waiting in line only to be rebooked on a flight that would soon be cancelled anyway. In all my years of travel I’ve never been caught in a storm like that at a transit point.
For those in Munich, I hope you make it out quickly!