The massive crisis triggered by heavy snowfall, which grounded flights and caused seemingly endless traffic jams in parts of Western Europe, has made travel of any type a gamble.
Heavy snow and thick ice all but closed London’s Heathrow, the world’s busiest international passenger airhub over the weekend.
Britain is among those hardest hit by the Arctic conditions, with major disruptions in rail and highway travel.
Authorities canceled about 300 flights at Germany’s main airport at Frankfurt on Monday as they expected more snow.
As the severe weather conditions in Germany continued through Sunday, the airlines were advising their passengers to take the train, while the railways were telling travelers to forget travel altogether for the time being and to stay at home.
German railroads were not the only ones to be affected. Throughout much of Europe, railways were similarly disrupted. Even in southern Sweden, which is used to heavy snow, 100 of 350 train journeys were canceled on Monday.
The Arctic conditions have disrupted travel and shopping plans on the last weekend before Christmas, normally one of the busiest times of the year.
Given Europe’s current struggling economy, the record-breaking blizzard seems to be a harsh blow to the continent’s travel industry at a time when large numbers of Europeans have planned to travel inside or outside the continent.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Finnish Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi, and British Prime Minister David Cameron signed a letter to Jose Manuel Barroso urging him to keep EU spending under control.
The letter comes as Europe is struggling with an economic crisis and the aftermath of recession. Cutting the EU budget is considered as an effort to bring down the debts and narrow down budget deficits. The poorer eastern European countries, however, are likely to resist these cuts.
Without doubt the heavy snowfall has also hit Europe’s business system hard on the closing days of 2010 as Christmas shoppers find it difficult to commute in the blizzard.