Tens of thousands of British travelers have been stranded by an estimated 200 flight cancellations at airports across Europe over the weekend.
More than 100 flights to and from the UK were canceled on Saturday due to a combination of staff shortages and air traffic control restrictions.
To date, dozens more have been grounded, mostly by easyJet. Many of those stranded are families hoping to return home after term break.
In terms of numbers, Gatwick has by far the biggest problem. Its main airline easyJet has so far canceled around 40 flights, while others from Wizz Air and British Airways have also been grounded.
Destinations are Greek and Italian islands such as Corfu, Sardinia and Sicily.
Many thousands of British holidaymakers were due to return on Saturday and are still trying to find alternatives. While most flights are still operational, they are very busy.
All passengers are entitled to alternative flights, even with a competing airline, as soon as possible; a hotel room until they can travel; and, if the airline is responsible, cash compensation.
At least a dozen easyJet flights are being canceled in Bristol, with most passengers given just hours’ notice. Destinations are Malaga, Lisbon and Berlin.
Alexander Coombs tells The Independent: “I received a text message that my flight from Berlin to Bristol was canceled today, so I’m stranded in Berlin now.
“I can’t get anyone from easyJet to help me. Any ideas how I can get help? The next flight is Thursday!
“I’m trying to look for other flights to another airport in the UK but there don’t seem to be any today either?”
British Airways has canceled an average of more than 100 flights a day for weeks, drastically reducing the number of seats available to and from the UK.
There are other cancellations in Luton with easyJet – eight so far, including Barcelona and Nice – and one in Manchester, a return flight to Amsterdam.
Other airlines have been affected, with Wizz Air grounding flights from Gatwick, Luton and Doncaster Sheffield.
Kam Hosseini is in Faro, Portugal, after his Wizz Air flight to Cardiff was grounded “minutes before check-in via text message” on Saturday night.
He said: “No airline representative at the airport, just given a piece of paper and told that the next flights to the UK that we can catch are from Wednesday.
“Stuck in Faro and no sign of flights anytime soon.”
While alternative airlines can be used and charged to the canceling airline, the alternatives have been hard to find for many passengers following last week’s mass cancellations.