[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Still stuck and waiting at Heathrow
By Lisa Mitchell
BBC News

Natalie Strong and family
Natalie is trying not to dwell on the wedding dress in her case
Hundreds of travellers are still experiencing delayed and cancelled flights as the knock-on of the bomb plot security blanket measures continue to bite.

At Heathrow airport - the worst affected airport - operator BAA has put up marquees outside a terminal to house those waiting.

When Natalie Strong awoke to the chaotic scenes at Heathrow on Thursday, her heart sank.

She was due to fly out to Athens on Friday for her own wedding and as Virgin check-in staff, she could see the backlog of cancelled flights would take days to clear.

And worse, the hand luggage ban meant her precious wedding dress had to be squashed into a case.

But 24 hours later - and at the airport - she is resigned to shaking it out at the other end.

"The ceremony's not until a week on Saturday, so as long as I get there, there's nothing else I can do. It's beyond my control."

Her immediate worries are how she and fiancÚ Drico Papaioannon are going to entertain Erin, six, Taylor, 11, and Christian, seven, without hand luggage.

"We left at 5am to get here early and they've been so good so far. We've been very open with them about what is happening and staying calm," the 29-year-old from Marlow, Buckinghamshire, said.

"We've heard you might be able to get something once you've got through security. Otherwise it will be a long flight."

Couple reading
Travellers who made it into BA's marquees are the lucky ones

Patrick Driver and Marita Sydes already know what a long flight is.

They didn't hear about the security clampdown until the stop-off at Singapore in their flight from Australia.

They are hoping to make it to Scotland by Friday night where they have a hotel booked, but their Edinburgh flight was cancelled and the next they are aiming to get is nine hours later.

It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't travelling with their four-month-old daughter Tess.

"I'm breast-feeding so I just have to keep drinking water," said Marita.

"We saw mums at Singapore having to taste their formula milk in front of security and they sniffed our infant medicine. Thank goodness she's not older or it would have been a hellish trip."

Marita Sydes and Patrick Driver with baby Tess
Baby Tess and parents Marita and Patrick still have hours to go

In one of BA's marquees, at least the couple had found seats. But they were critical of airport staff.

"Staff are completely in disarray - they're told all they need to direct people but don't know anything about flights," said Patrick.

"We think we were treated better than most because of the baby."

Customers using the outside tents are being issued with a raffle ticket and told there is a three-hour wait to get a place at the ticket desk inside the terminal.

For German Antje Reissmann the wait has been painfully slow and there's a lot more ahead.

The 30-year-old secretary arrived at Heathrow on a flight from Chicago on Thursday morning at 7am. Her onward flight home to Berlin was cancelled.

Wedding missed

She is now booked on a 5pm flight on Saturday - 58 hours later.

"I can understand that they take so many precautions. But I think it's irresponsible that they're letting planes come in."

Antje was put up by BA in a hotel on Thursday night but she has to pay for Friday night herself.

She is sharing a foam mat on the ground with Claudia Pfrommer who she met in one of the many queues over the last 24 hours.

Claudia Pfrommer and Antje Reissmann
New-found friends Claudia and Antje

Claudia, 31, was on her way from Toronto for a friend's wedding in Munich, Germany, when she found herself stranded in England.

She knows she is not going to make the wedding and is despairing of ever leaving Terminal One.

"If this were anywhere else in Europe, we could get home. But because it's an island we're stuck."

She arrived early on Thursday morning and was booked onto a flight on Saturday morning. But after many calls to the airline's booking service - which is very busy - she managed to get switched to one on Friday.

She waited for it to be called but by the time she got to check-in it had closed. Now she has no flight on Saturday either.

"The staff are really trying to help, I'm just annoyed they didn't call the flight earlier. At least I've met people - it's been very supportive to be with people in the same position."

Claudia and Antje are relatively lucky to be inside the tent.

HAVE YOUR SAY
It's hot, tiring and I am exhausted
John, flying London to Paris

Hundreds of people standing in a line snaking from the terminal to the car park are watching the ominously grey sky anxiously.

A cheerful BA staff member assures them the umbrellas are on order.




RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific