Half term travel bloodbath with endless queues at UK airport, delayed flights and last-minute cancellations
Tens of thousands more Brits face queues, delays and even cancellations today after what some social media users described as a ‘Sunday from hell’.
Half-term holidaymakers who tried to get away over the weekend face delays of up to nearly eight bours with some passengers being told at the very last minute that their flight was cancelled altogether.
TUI reportedly told hundreds of holidaymakers that their holiday was cancelled.
Hundreds of TUI clients were told via text and email that their upcoming trip was no longer happening.
A spokesperson for TUI said: “We’d like to apologise to customers impacted by cancellations and delays this weekend, caused by various operational and supply chain issues.
“We’d like to reassure customers that we are doing everything we can to minimise delays and would like to thank them their patience and understanding during this time.”
Meanwhile, Manchester Airport apologised for the delays and disruption, and shifted the blame to airlines, pointing out that that delays at check-in and baggage reclaim are the responsibility of individual airlines and ground handling companies, which run their own services.
“Staff are in contact with the senior management teams of the relevant airlines and ground handlers to understand the cause of these issues,” the airport said.
More travel chaos is expected at a range of UK airports today, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.
Birmingham airport warned passengers to arrive in time, as the hub is expecting a “busy platinum Jubilee weekend,” while Heathrow said it reported a morning peak but queues were still flowing.
People took it to Twitter to complain about massive queues also at Gatwick.
Despite complaints, a spokesperson for the airport said there were “no significant queues, for check in, security or immigration.”
“We are busy and at peak periods so there will be some queuing,” they said. ” This morning a queue formed for security, which extended around some of the terminal.
“The wait time was approx. 30 to 35 minutes but the queue dissipated within 30 minutes. Added to this, the check in areas – which are the responsibility of the airlines – are also busy at peak times, particularly early morning and this can add to the wait that some passengers are experiencing.”
Passengers on an easyJet flight from Santorini to Gatwick were furious when their flight was diverted to Luton and their luggage was missing.
Passenger Laurie Nathaniel told the Mail Online: “We got home today in the early hours of the morning. Our luggage still hasn’t arrived after they said it would be sent here.
“The airline just doesn’t sound like it knows what it is doing. It’s a shambles.”
easyJet confirmed a service to Gatwick from Santorini diverted to Luton because of air traffic control restrictions but fuel levels were above minimum.
“Unfortunately, there were limited staff available to deliver the bags at Luton due to the aircraft’s unscheduled arrival and so we are working to reunite customers with their bags as soon as possible,” said a spokesperson.
“While this was outside of the airline’s control, we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
Northern Irish journalist Amanda Ferguson said easyJet had cancelled her flight home to Belfast, with no replacement flights until tomorrow.
“We suggested booking flights with an alternative carrier but the only one leaving here tonight is Aer Lingus to Dublin and they have said no,” she tweeted.
Consumer champion Which? said travellers who miss their flight due to “extraordinary circumstances” can make claims for refund.
“Buried in the T&Cs of many airlines is a promise to help, and some will let you rebook for free in such instances,” said Rory Boland, editor of Which? travel.
As disruption continues to affect hundreds of thousands of travellers, the Lib Dems have called on the government to convey a COBRA meeting.
“Ministers need to get a grip. Britain’s airports are a complete and utter shambles. It’s clear that both the airlines and Government have failed,” transport spokesperson and Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney said.
“Grant Shapps is asleep at the wheel and is doing nothing to help stranded families. Now is the time to convene COBRA and use every resource available to get our airports moving again.
“A failure to act today could see Britain’s jubilee bank holiday marred in travel chaos, with Ministers left to answer serious questions about where they were.”
According to aviation analyst Alex Macheras, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better – a summer of disruption for air travel – as airlines, airports and travel companies begin to grapple with the industry’s staff shortage amid the surge in passenger demand,” he tweeted.