A TRIP to celebrate a significant birthday and see in the new year for a group of friends was thrown into disarray after high winds and bitterly cold weather delayed their travel home.

Judith Moule, from Sherfield Park, celebrated the new year, and her 50th birthday, with friends in New York and was due to fly back home with British Airways on Thursday, 4 January.

However, when waiting at the airport for their return flight, it was then that a huge winter storm hit the American city.

An hour before the flight was due to leave JFK airport, the effects of the storm meant that the flight was unable to take off and was cancelled.

Judith said: “There was chaos at JFK, especially for the families with young children and some of the disabled passengers.

“There was a lot of snow, which wasn’t necessarily the problem, but the high winds that suddenly came in meant that they cancelled a lot of flights before deciding to close the airport for the day.”

There was a two-and-a-half hour wait before any information about what might happen came through to passengers.

Judith added: “We were then told that we were going to be put up in a hotel overnight.

“However, we were taken to three hotels before we found one that was expecting us, and it was 1am before we managed to get somewhere.”

After this, the group was told that there would be a bus to take them to the airport at 4.30am, when it would not be open for another several hours. It would also be another five hours until the BA helpdesk would be available and there was only one member of staff available.

Judith added: “We were lucky to an extent as we weren’t with young children or babies, but there was a complete lack of communication between the staff at the airport, which left us in this position.

“No one was told what to do, and we ended up missing work because of the delayed departure.

“It could have been worse, as we managed to get a flight on the Sunday [January 7), but it was very inconvenient.

“People were having to call their bosses to explain.

“We had an amazing holiday, and while it was great to spend a few extra days in New York city, we had planned to come back with enough time to get back to work.

“We were all concerned about getting back to work and not letting our clients down and employers.”

The group were also split in half for their return journey to the UK, with two people going on a flight three hours after the other two.

The group has submitted for help with BA and are waiting for a response.