Tens of thousands of passengers hoping to return to the UK at the end of the main semester week face canceled flights and lengthy delays.
Britain’s biggest low-cost airline easyJet has so far canceled at least 38 flights to and from Gatwick, affecting an estimated 6,000 passengers.
While most travelers have been warned several days in advance and have been able to rebook on other services, 10 easyJet departures from Gatwick Airport have been canceled in the morning so far. These include flights to Nice, Seville and Milan as well as the return flights.
Leanne Gorin tells The Independent: “My daughter and her friends flight from Gatwick to Nice was canceled with half an hour notice. Will now be sent to the South Terminal counter. Beyond Chaos.”
While the canceling airline must offer an alternative departure on the same day, including paying for flights on competing airlines, availability is tight and prices high.
Both easyJet flights to and from Seville for Saturday have now been cancelled.
Many of the operating easyJet flights are delayed, with the airline blaming air traffic control restrictions.
British Airways and Wizz Air have also canceled flights to and from Gatwick. A BA flight departing from Dalaman, Turkey on Friday afternoon was grounded due to a technical problem but later flew back to London.
Some Wizz Air passengers who have departed from Doncaster Sheffield Airport for longer journeys have learned that the airline is closing its South Yorkshire base from next Friday. The airline blames the airport, saying “it is unable to guarantee the terms of its commercial agreement with Wizz Air”.
An airline spokesman said: “It is with deep regret that we have had to take the difficult but responsible decision to cancel a large number of Wizz Air flights to/from Doncaster Sheffield Airport from 10 June 2022.
“Passengers with affected bookings will be contacted via email today with advice on all options including: rebooking, full refund or 120 percent of the original fare as flight credit.”
Wizz Air is hoping to redeploy staff at other UK bases, including Luton and Gatwick, to fill gaps in rosters.
Luton Airport is operating normally – with the exception of last minute cancellations with easyJet to and from Belfast International, Edinburgh and Geneva.
At Bristol Airport, easyJet canceled flights to Berlin, Biarritz, Nice and Prague a few hours in advance. Including the outbound flights, at least 1,200 passengers are said to be affected.
On the ferries, outbound traffic is flowing smoothly at Dover, but with thousands of families returning from France, congestion is expected in Calais.
Irish Ferries warns passengers: “Expect possible queues and delays at border control and check-in.” DFDS Ferries tweeted: “We are aware of the congestion on the roads around Calais leading to the port.
“Don’t worry – once you’ve reached us, we’ll accommodate you on the next available departure.”
In the UK, most trains are running as normal – although conductors who work for TransPennine Express are on strike on Saturday and Sunday as part of a longstanding dispute. The train operator said: “We advise customers not to travel but to plan carefully if journeys are necessary.”