Thousands of airline passengers are facing fresh disruption as widespread flight cancellations continue – with travel agents inundated with calls from customers worried the chaos will carry on and ruin their summer holidays.
The sector is struggling to cope with staff shortages which has seen EasyJet ax at least 35 flights on Tuesday, with Gatwick airport the worst affected. Hungarian carrier Wizz Air scrapped at least seven flights due to serve UK airports.
British Airways also cancelled 124 Heathrow flights, although the airline said affected passengers were given advance notice.
Diego Garcia Rodriguez, 32, a Spanish national who lives in Brighton, said passengers at Gatwick Airport on Tuesday were left in tears due to last-minute cancellations.
Meanwhile, members of the Unite and GMB unions are being balloted in a dispute over pay which could cause chaos at the UK’s busiest airport during the summer holiday period.
Diego Garcia Rodriguez, 32, a Spanish national who lives Brighton, said passengers have been left in tears at Gatwick airport due to last-minute cancellations.
He told the PA news agency: “I’m flying from Gatwick to Barcelona and I was at the airport three hours before but almost didn’t make it to board.
“The flight hasn’t been delayed so far but I have seen lots of people whose flights have been cancelled, some crying and stressing out and they only got the news after having gone through the security control so they didn’t know how to get out.
“There was no information and it was all very chaotic.”
Thomas Kingsley7 June 2022 12:28
British Airways check-in and grounds staff begin voting on strike action
Hundreds of check-in and ground staff employed by British Airways at Heathrow began voting on strike action on Tuesday.
Members of the Unite and GMB unions are being balloted in a dispute over pay which could cause chaos at the UK’s busiest airport during the summer holiday period.
The ballot ends on 23 June with the result expected the same day.
Workers are seeking a strike because a ten per cent pay cut imposed on them during the pandemic has not been reinstated – despite bosses having their pre-covid pay rates reinstated, GMB has said.
Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: “Staff at Heathrow have been verbally and physically abused by angry passengers after British Airways’ staff shortages and IT failures nearly brought the airport to a standstill.
“On top of that, they had their pay slashed during BA’s callous fire and rehire policy. Now they want that money back. Bosses have had it back. Heathrow ground and check in staff want to know why they haven’t had it too.
“Unrest is now starting to spread like wildfire to other groups of BA workers with many more now considering a vote to walk out.
“British Airways faces a gruelling summer of travel chaos if they won’t give these workers what’s rightfully theirs.”
Thomas Kingsley7 June 2022 12:13
Travel agents inundated with calls over summer holiday fears
Travel agents are being inundated with telephone calls from customers worried that their summer holidays will be disrupted as flight chaos continues.
Thousands more airline passengers saw their travel plans thrown into disarray on Tuesday as the sector struggles to cope with staff shortages.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, which represents independent travel agents, said its members are receiving “a significant number of calls” from concerned customers.
She told the PA news agency: “About 30 per cent of all calls that they’re receiving now are from customers that are reading the headlines, have bookings for July and August in the school holidays, and they are worried.”
Ms Bue-Said acknowledged that the situation is “hideous and disappointing” for passengers whose flights are being cancelled.
But she said travel agents are attempting to reassure customers that “in the vast majority of cases flights are departing and arriving”.
She added: “We’re trying to give a bit of perspective.”
Thomas Kingsley7 June 2022 12:10
Passengers ‘left in tears’ as Tuesday flights cancelled
EasyJet axed at least 35 flights on Tuesday, with Gatwick the worst affected airport.
Hungarian carrier Wizz Air scrapped at least seven flights due to serve UK airports while British Airways cancelled 124 Heathrow flights, although the airline said affected passengers were given advance notice.
In recent months many passengers whose flights have gone ahead reported being stuck in airport queues for several hours.
Thomas Kingsley7 June 2022 12:08
EasyJet grounds another 10 Monday evening flights
Ten more Monday evening flights to and from London Gatwick were grounded at very short notice.
The Independent has identified five departures from the Sussex airport on which passengers were given as little as an hour’s notice: Belfast City, Isle of Man, Kos, Lanzarote and Montpellier.
The cause is believed to be rolling air-traffic control delays at Gatwick, exacerbated by staff shortage at the airline.
Ben Hunter is among the travellers suddenly stranded in Lanzarote. His mother, Sue Steddy, tweeted: “How can you cancel flights and leave people stranded in Lanzarote and not sort something out for them? My son will get sacked if he doesn’t get home for work. How is it legal to do this?”
Read the full story from our travel correspondent, Simon Calder:
Thomas Kingsley7 June 2022 12:07
Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the flight cancellations chaos impacting thousands of holidaymakers. Follow for latest updates from airports across the country.
Thomas Kingsley7 June 2022 12:05