- 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 they have taken to social media to express their sympathy, sharing photos of “otherworldly” airport conditions during December’s 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 51-year-old “Billions” actor Damian Lewis.
Via Twitter DM, Rose described the experience to Insider as a “total nightmare” and said she asked Lewis, who appeared to be waiting with his kids, for a photo – “I thought I’d ask for a selfie to have some kind of positive memory of the night,” Rose explained. “He was incredibly kind!” Lewis reps didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Scenes from Iceland after a day and a half @Icelandair Flight delays and cancellations that have left hundreds stranded in Keflavik.
People slept on check-in belts, escalator steps, luggage carts.
By the way Damian Lewis got stuck here too and it was great. pic.twitter.com/jMYE2lhbrp
— Caroline Rose (@CarolineRose8) December 18, 2022
Rose, who flew to Keflavík from Heathrow on Saturday, described how her flight was “delayed every few minutes or so citing extreme weather on the ground” but after calling Icelandair to “make alternative arrangements” she told Insider that she was instructed to stay on the flight, which eventually left London and landed in Keflavik.
Describing fellow travelers who arrived in Keflavík late Saturday night to find “otherworldly” conditions, Rose said “all the restaurants were closed and vending machines were pretty much ransacked”.
“A lot of us were starving and had to scramble for whatever food we could find after the airline only gave us granola bars to snack on while we waited on the tarmac,” Rose said, alluding to a two-hour delay she was experiencing while waiting experienced on the tarmac.
As the number of stranded travelers increased, the available hotel accommodations decreased rapidly.
A TikToker who said in a December 21 Tiktok that he landed in Iceland for a one-hour layover and had been stranded for four days described the “swarming” of passengers trying to find hotels at the same time. According to NBC Newsmany nearby hotels were already fully booked over the weekend.
While airlines such as Icelandair and easyJet offered hotel accommodations and refunds to passengers, even those lucky enough to book hotel stays couldn’t necessarily reach the beds they paid to sleep in. Rose, who said she booked a hotel room while she was still on the tarmac, was one such traveler.
“There were no taxis or buses to take us to nearby hotels or Reykjavik,” she explained, “so I had to eat up the cost of my hotel booking for the night (they wouldn’t refund it) and sleep on the airport floor with hundreds.” from others.”
Travelers attempting to pick up visitors from the airport also shared failed attempts on the “dangerous journey” to pick up visitors from the airport 19. Decemberincluding a woman whose mother eventually died of a “type mountain rescue.”
Rose described travelers who slept on the checked baggage carousel and on top of luggage, as well as those who set up “campsite-like circles” with strangers on the floor to share their snacks.
“It was heartbreaking to see parents trying to put little kids to sleep,” Rose said. “The airport was very cold.”
Around midnight, as rebookings began to hit passengers’ accounts, Rose described frustratingly convoluted or impossible routes – she recalled one traveler being put on a Thursday flight (it was now Sunday morning) and another returning Had to travel to London and change airports during a one hour layover.
“I had to fly to Amsterdam, where I connected in less than 15 minutes for my flight home to DC,” said Rose, who is finally back in Washington. “I made it with the skin of my teeth.” Unfortunately, Icleandair lost her checked baggage, she said.
A key 30-mile highway linking Keflavík with Reykjavík was cleared of snow on Tuesday and flights from the airport have resumed, albeit with delays. according to a statement by Icelandair.
“Our team worked tirelessly all night rebooking passengers on new flights and they will continue to do so today.” Icelandair announced this in an update on Wednesday morning. “It is our absolute priority to get passengers where they need to be before Christmas.”
But passengers remain frustrated with the experience and the way airlines have dealt with the chaos.
Another London traveler, Ryan Stevens, has reportedly lost €1,500 after paying for three nights in a hotel and booking two additional flights Insider’s Rebecca Cohenwithout information about the 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. “Nobody can blame airlines for cancellations, but the aftercare after an event like this needs to be managed better. I am stuck. I have no idea how to proceed. No support whatsoever.”
Rose felt similarly.
“I have a hard time understanding why Icelandair irresponsibly decided (and continued to do so) to send passengers to Keflavík knowing only too well that the weather conditions were so dangerous and would prevent people from finding a warm place to go Finding sleep, food and drink, she said.
Icleandair did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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