No end in sight to UK travel disruptions
Travellers who have waited years for the return of overseas holidays now face last-minute cancellation of trips
Travel disruptions continue to hit UK holidaymakers as officials warned of expected queues later in the week.
Both easyJet and British Airways had more cancellations on Sunday, though the airlines said those flights had been called off in advance. According to FlightAware data, British Airways cancelled 7% of flights on Sunday and delayed 9%. More than 20% of easyJet’s flights are delayed, according to FlightAware, and an airline spokesperson said 40 flights were cancelled in anticipation for Sunday.
“Queues are anticipated as travellers return later this week,” said Lucy Moreton, a spokesperson for the Immigration Services Union, which represents Border Force staff.
Staff are being deployed to Heathrow airport from Scotland and Northern Ireland to help mitigate the queues.
Travellers who have waited years for the return of overseas holidays are now facing last-minute cancellations of their trips and lengthy queues at airports. Airlines, which laid off staff during the coronavirus pandemic, are scrambling to add enough people as well as dealing with coronavirus-related absences.
Both Heathrow and Gatwick airport said they were expecting big numbers of travellers over Easter. Heathrow said it was deploying extra staff in anticipation of passenger numbers not seen since early March 2020.
A Gatwick spokesperson said queues may form during peak periods, such as weekends and the Easter holidays. It advised passengers to arrive at the earliest time their airline allows for check in, typically three hours for long-haul and two-and-a-half for short haul.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority wrote to airlines earlier this week asking them to work with airports to manage staff shortages and ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum.
The agency’s CEO, Richard Moriarty, said it is important that airlines set schedules based on available staff and make allowances for sickness, such as from Covid-19, as well as meet their obligations to refund passengers if they cannot offer them a suitable alternative flight.
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