The early Christmas getaway has been thrown into absolute chaos at Gatwick Airport, which has shut its lone runway because drones keep buzzing the airfield.

More than 10,000 passengers have been affected by the disruption, with all flights to and from the West Sussex airport grounded until it is safe to reopen the runway.

Gatwick is the busiest single runway airport in the world, and the chaos couldn’t have come at a worse time as thousands of people get an early start on their Christmas travels.

The airport is telling people to check their flight status before they head to the airport, where hundreds of passengers were stranded overnight before being put up in hotels.

Flights in and out of the airport were suspended at about 9pm on Wednesday after two drones were sighted near the airfield.

Gatwick announced that the runway had reopened at about 3am on Thursday – but just 45 minutes later it was shut again.

Flights were diverted to other airports, including Stansted and Heathrow, while those trying to fly out of Gatwick were stuck on planes for hours before they were allowed to disembark.

Gatwick advised anyone flying from the airport, or collecting someone, to check the status of their flight.

Here’s how you can do that.

How to check if your flight is delayed or cancelled

Gatwick Airport’s website has a live flight page listing departures and arrivals.

Click here for an up-to-the-minute list of departures. Click here for the latest news on arrivals.

The airport has told people to contact their airline for the latest information. Passengers can find their airline’s contact information on in their booking details or on the carrier’s website.

Airlines also tend to respond to tweets to their official accounts, however many have been inundated with requests for information amid the chaos at Gatwick.

Many airlines also post the latest information on their websites.

Click here for the latest flight updates from British Airways.

EasyJet’s live flight tracker can be found here.

Ryanair posts its latest travel updates on this page.

Virgin Atlantic passengers can get information about departures by clicking here.

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