'Do not come to the airport': Munich airport grounds flights after snow and freezing rain

Flights were suspended at Munich airport until 12 noon today, but there is now a "very limited" number of planes taking off and landing.

Germany's second busiest hub has been hit by days of heavy snowfall and freezing rain, leading to disruption for thousands of passengers.

Of the 771 flights scheduled for today, more than 80% are cancelled and almost all of the rest are delayed, according to Flightradar24.

Munich airport warns passengers not to travel to the airport

Munich airport has issued a warning to passengers: if you haven't had confirmation that your flight is going, don't travel to the airport.


They also ask that passengers do not come to the airport to rebook flights - this should be done via airlines.

Approximately 1,500 passengers have been stranded in Munich since Friday, when the winter weather began.

When asked by German media, Munich airport confirmed that passengers have been spending the night in the terminals, "including some more than once".

Camp beds were reportedly being made available for travellers, along with drinks and food. Passengers also have the option of booking a hotel room themselves and the costs would be reimbursed.

"Nevertheless, several hundred passengers are staying overnight in the terminal," a Lufthansa spokesperson said in the statement. "Either because they don't have a visa to enter the country or because they are not taking up the offer to book a hotel room."

Many passengers have taken to social media to complain about the service they have received from airlines, with some saying they have had multiple flights cancelled. The airport responded to one user that this is the "first time ever" for snow.

There was a similar situation at Munich airport in December last year, when 133 flights were cancelled due to a frozen runway.

Why does Munich airport close during snow?

Munich airport first shut down on Saturday after heavy snowfall. Disruption continued on Sunday and Monday.

Some passengers have taken to social media to question why Munich airport is not able to handle freezing rain and snow like other airports.

One user suggested that they should "talk to the airport in Helsinki" as "they can clean a runway full of snow in 11 minutes."

Munich airport has said that the problem is that they have been hit by "wet snow" because temperatures are only around freezing point rather than colder weather which makes the snow firmer.

What is the advice for passengers at Munich airport?

The airport and airlines are instructing passengers to check airline websites and apps for information on their flights.

Rebooking flights should be done via airlines' apps, websites or phone lines.

The airport has repeatedly taken to Twitter to ask passengers not to go to the airport unless they have had confirmation that their flight is scheduled to run. On a tweet yesterday, a user commented "First time snowing yeah?" The airport then replied: "Yes, first time ever."

Lufthansa: Disruption expected to last all week

Lufthansa, one of the main airlines that uses the airport, have said that they expect the disruption to last all week.

They have advised passengers to "check the status of their flight on or in the Lufthansa app before traveling to the airport.

Customers with booked tickets to or from Munich can cancel or change their ticket free of charge. This applies to tickets with a travel date up to 9 December.

Deutsche Bahn advises against travel in or out of Munich

Train travel also continues to be severely impacted by the bad weather.

Yesterday here were only a few long-distance trains running from Munich Hauptbahnhof, the city's main train station.

Train operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) advised passengers to postpone travel until at least today (5th December).

What are train passengers' rights?

Passengers who want to postpone trips from 2-4 December due to the weather can use their ticket at a later date.

It is also possible to take a different route than the one booked if it is going to the same destination. Meanwhile, seat reservations can be cancelled free of charge.

Refunds are also possible if passengers cannot travel at a later date.

A free hotline (08000-996633) has been set up for customers who want more information about the current situation.

What other train services are impacted?

S-Bahn and regional services around Munich are also impacted, with tracks expected to gradually improve over the next few days.

There were still no connections between the state capital and Innsbruck and Salzburg in Austria, as well as Zurich in Switzerland. These services were expected to resume on Tuesday.

DB also said that there may be train cancellations and delays in other parts of Germany due to the freezing weather.

'Stuck in #Munich for a third day now'

Passengers have taken to social media to complain about the service they have received from airlines during the disruption.

A German user posted a photo of his phone, showing a phone call lasting 9 hours and 12 minutes. He said he was trying to get through to Lufthansa.

User Kellie Tudor asked British Airways for help to get home for a family emergency.

Others have been more positive, posting snow-filled photos from Munich.

Are you stuck in Munich? Get in touch with your story via Twitter or Instagram.