Home Travel World War 3 fears: Are airlines travelling to the Middle East?

World War 3 fears: Are airlines travelling to the Middle East?

Many airlines across the UK are keeping a watchful eye on the rising tensions across the Middle East, following a US airstrike which targeted and killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

As it stands, most airlines are continuing with flights to and from the region.

A spokesperson for British Airways told Express.co.uk that their “teams are closely monitoring the situation and our flights are operating normally”.

An Emirates spokesperson echoed similar sentiments, commenting: “Emirates flights are continuing as scheduled and we are monitoring the situation”.

Virgin Atlantic added that their safety and security is their “number one priority” they will “continue to monitor all air space closely and make adjustments to our flight paths if necessary”.

Concerns around travelling to the Middle East escalated after US military launched a drone attack on a group of Iranian militants, which targeted and killed Iranian military leader Major General Qassem Soleiman.

READ MORE: World War 3 warning: Iran in line to unleash ‘disastrous’ response to US attack in Israel

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WW3: Many airlines are monitoring flights across the Middle East (Image: Getty Images)

Since his death, protests have sparked across the region, with reports stating that crowds have been heard chanting: “Death to America.”

While flights are continuing to travel to and from the Middle East, some airlines have faced delays.

Passengers flying between the UK and India were delayed by more than 36 hours over the weekend, with airline TUI citing “airspace restrictions” in the Middle East as the cause.

The flight – which took off from London Gatwick to Goa shortly after 6am on Monday – was due to depart on Saturday evening.

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According to The Independent, TUI told passengers on flight TOM30: “Due to recent political issues in the Middle East, this has resulted in airspace restrictions along the route of your flight.”

Reports suggest the airline didn’t not clarify what restrictions are in place.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, a spokesperson for Tui said: “TOM030, Gatwick to Goa and TOM031, Goa to Gatwick were delayed due to flying restrictions along the intended route. The safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority.

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The revised time of departure for TOM030 was 07:00 (local) on Monday 6th January and TOM031 at 23:20 (local) on Monday 6th January.

Flights: Virgin Atlantic said safety is their “number one priority” (Image: Getty Images)

All customers were being looked after in hotels until the new flight departure and we can confirm both flights landed safely.”

As a result of the delay, TUI said it would compensate each passenger, paying them €600 (£513) under European air passengers’ rights rules.

The European air passengers’ rights rules state that if a flight is delayed at departure, “a person has the right to assistance, reimbursement and a return flight depending on the duration of the delay and distance of the flight,” according to the European Union (EU) website.

They add: “If you arrived at your final destination with a delay of more than three hours, you are entitled to compensation, unless the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances.

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“The airline has to prove this by providing, for example, extracts from logbooks or incident reports. The air carrier should give this evidence to the relevant national enforcement body as well as to the passengers concerned in line with national provisions on access to documents.”

While a 36-hour flight delay is particularly long, many have taken to forums to discuss the shocking delays they’ve experienced.

In a forum on TripAdvisor, one user detailed a delay that left her family stranded in Morocco for nine days.

Having travelled there last April for four nights, an ash cloud descended, and the holidaymaker explained that the first available flights were nine days later.

Many shared that they had been delayed for up to 96 hours in countries including France, Brussels and Spain.

“I was totally abandoned in Brussels three years ago due to fog. No alternative transport offered and no one to ask when the next flight leaving would be,” another user revealed.

“We found out later that the next scheduled flight was four days later and it was full. Cost me 900 euros to get my family home.”

What’s the longest delay you’ve had to endure? Email leahsinclair@reachplc.com to share your story.

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