Both Inghams and Transun departures were hit by a dramatic thaw at the weekend following a period of unseasonably warm weather in northern Finland which has limited snowfall in the area.
Posting to Facebook, Inghams said it had cancelled its Santa Breaks departing on Sunday (December 2) after the weather meant it was no longer able to offer the experience customers were expecting. It also paid tribute to its agents partners for their "tireless work" to assist customers.
In a statement issued to TTG on Monday, Inghams confirmed its three-night Santa Break departures to Yllas and Levi in Lapland in on Sunday (December 2) from Manchester, Gatwick, Newcastle and Bristol had been cancelled.
"This was as a result of considerable rainfall on Friday night that washed away the accumulated snow of the last week, impacting our snow-based activities," said Inghams.
"A team of 25 was drawn together over the weekend in the Inghams head office to contact all affected families and offer the chance to transfer their booking to a later date or a full cancellation and refund of their holiday. The office was open until 7.30pm on Saturday and reopened at 3am on Sunday to assist guests.
"The team made contact with guests by phone, and followed up by email and text. Where guests had booked via a travel agent, the team was in contact with the agents, who we thank for working hard to contact their customers. Inghams’ website and Facebook page were updated accordingly and staff were also deployed to all our departure airports. In the end, some customers still decided to travel.
"We continue to liaise with our agents and guests to try and work through the disappointment the adverse weather has caused and we thank our guests, travel agents, airlines and in-resort partners for their patience and understanding."
Inghams added fresh snowfall had improved the outlook and said it "did not envisage further cancellations".
Transun, meanwhile, said it was “deep regret” it had been forced to cancel all its Lapland departures - day breaks and short breaks - on Sunday and Monday (December 2-3).
“Although we have had some snow in our resorts and started our winter season on November 30, the temperatures unexpectedly rose yesterday [Saturday] and there was a rain downpour in the evening, which continued into the night,” said the operator in a post to its Facebook page. “A lot of snow has washed away.”
The operator said despite its best efforts in resort, including using snow cannons 24/7, “the forces of nature conspired against us”.
“Temperatures began to rise again which meant we could no longer create snow,” said Transun.
“In the evening, it began to rain quite heavily. In a few hours, much of the snow had washed away and some of the lakes and rivers we use for our daybreak locations began to melt.”
Transun said while a “small number of families were unhappy at the developing situation”, the “vast majority of feedback” was positive, adding it had made alternative plans for those already in resort.
We appreciate many people will be concerned about their upcoming breaks and will want to know if their trips are still going ahead,” the operator added.
“Having looked at a number of reasonably reliable weather forecasts, we plan to resume our full Lapland operations from Friday December 7, by which time we hope to have a decent snowfall and low temperatures, and topped up by snow from cannons if necessary.”
Passengers Booked on cancelled Transun departures over December 2-3 are being contacted.