Travel disruption – live: Calls for automatic airline refunds grow as more flights are cancelled

Travel disruption – live: Calls for automatic airline refunds grow as more flights are cancelled

The second day of the platinum anniversary long weekend appears to be fraught with disruption as easyJet and British Airways cancel more flights and yesterday’s Eurostar delays impact train travelers today.

EasyJet canceled at least 30 flights on Friday – the airline said it would proactively cancel 240 flights in the 10 days to June 6 and give passengers advance notice.

However, some cancellations are made at the last minute – travelers to Milan Malpensa and Madrid received just two hours’ notice that their flights were cancelled.

This morning, Eurostar travelers arriving at 6am for 7am took to social media to complain about long and disorganized queues.

Nicki Welding reported an hour and 15 minutes in the check-in queue, with passengers still waiting in line for the 7.15am service at 7.30am.

Eurostar had been experiencing delays in its services throughout Thursday after warning customers just after 9.30am that there had been a fatality on the tracks in northern France, affecting all routes.

A Eurostar spokesman said the trains were about an hour late.

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How early should I be at the airport?

As many prepare to fly off for spring break to make the most of the four-day anniversary weekend, how early is it to arrive at the airport?

When you see photos and videos of queues outside airport terminals, it’s understandable that you’ll want to check in as early as possible to avoid getting caught up in the chaos.

But airport bosses warn that getting to the terminal too early can clog up queues and prevent people with flights earlier than yours from getting through – adding to the stress.

In addition, each airline has slightly different rules regarding check-in and baggage drop-off times.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Lucy ThackrayJune 3, 2022 08:37

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Last minute cancellations continue at easyJet to and from Gatwick

Passengers booked with easyJet to or from Gatwick continue to face problems with flights to Milan, Malpensa and Madrid being canceled at the last minute this morning.

One traveler who booked her return flight from Italy airport, Ellie Goss, tweeted: “@easyJet is canceling our flight from Milan Malpensa to London Gatwick and then not giving us alternative flights home or flight information. What do you play at easyJet?”

Three early flights to the south of France were grounded yesterday with just hours notice.

Any airline that cancels a flight at short notice must offer an alternative on the same day of travel, possibly with a competing airline, without incurring any costs to the passenger.

In addition, easyJet is required to pay £220 cash compensation for a flight this distance.

Simon KalderJune 3, 2022 08:23

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Good morning

Good morning and welcome The Independent‘s Travel Liveblog where we share all the news and updates for the anniversary weekend.

Lucy ThackrayJune 3, 2022 08:22

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Passengers complain about a lack of information

Passengers have complained about having to wait at airports with no information or apologies.

Some said they had no access to food or water.

Gatwick Airport said it has designated water fountains in the departures hall so people can refill empty bottles.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 21:15

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Send army to airports, says O’Leary

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has suggested conscripting the army into UK airports for three to four months to ease travel problems.

The airline’s chief executive told ITV News that “defense personnel experienced in providing security” should be deployed.

He said it would relieve airport security in one fell swoop.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 8:20 p.m

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Labor MP blames ministers for chaos

A Labor MP has blamed the government for the travel disruption.

Louise Haigh had urged ministers to take urgent action. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was too busy saving Boris Johnson’s skin, she claimed.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 7:25 p.m

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“Confident” passengers at Dublin Airport will not miss flights

Dublin Airport officials said they are confident passengers will not miss flights this weekend if they arrive at the airport at the recommended time.

The airport made headlines last weekend after long queues stretched outside airport terminals and over 1,000 people missed their flights.

Dublin Airport Authority chief Dalton Philips told the Oireachtas Transport Authority on Wednesday that those delays were due to a roster error.

Mr Philips also acknowledged that the aviation sector has recovered faster than expected and that 248 security staff should not have been offered voluntary redundancy last year during travel restrictions put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Transport Secretary Eamon Ryan on Thursday urged passengers to follow the airport’s advice and not arrive too early for a flight.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 6:30 p.m

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Transport secretary disingenuous, claims union

A union leader says it is “disingenuous” for the Transport Secretary to discuss chaotic scenes at UK airports as staffing issues have been “on the radar for a long time”.

Grant Shapps on Wednesday said the airline industry “must do its bit” to solve problems that led to the disruption.

Andy Prendergast, national secretary of the GMB union, told BBC Radio 4 world one: “Unfortunately, that was a foreseeable problem that we warned about at the time of the mass layoffs.

“We asked the government to treat the airline industry as a special case and they refused. And now, quite frankly, for Grant Shapps to come out like he has for the last 24 hours is a bit disingenuous considering these issues have been on the radar for a long time.”

The airline industry is suffering from staff shortages after laying off thousands of people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jane DaltonJune 2, 2022 5:30 p.m

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After a 2.5 hour delay, Eurostar passengers report toilets out of order

Eurostar passengers report that toilets are out of order on a Eurostar service they have been waiting for for almost two and a half hours.

“2 hours 28 minutes estimated delay and 4 toilets out of service. Parents changing babies on the floor,” complained Simon Edmonds on Twitter.

“The train should never have been dispatched like this,” he added.

Eurostar has experienced severe delays across its network since 9:30am today, when a fatality on the tracks in northern France first caused service disruptions.

Lucy ThackrayJune 2, 2022 4:41 p.m

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Drinkers and diners at Gatwick had to improvise as food and drink queues piled up

Gatwick Airport’s bars and restaurants have seen a flood of customers as passengers arrive early or are delayed.

“Checking in and going through security was pretty stress free – busy but well organised,” says Chris Shearer, who is waiting at the airport for a delayed easyJet flight to Verona.

“It’s the bars and restaurants that are a joke.”

The queue for Wetherspoons at Gatwick Airport stretches across the departures hall amid delays

Mr Shearer sent video of the queue at Gatwick’s North Terminal Wetherspoons Pub, which currently stretches across the departures lounge.

“People use the exchange office as a makeshift high table … people drink in and between the communal seating areas,” he says.

Meanwhile, Chris and his friends have decided to skip the lines and improvise with small bottles of wine on the steps of the departure lounge.

Chris and friends in Gatwick

(Chris Scherer)

Lucy ThackrayJune 2, 2022 4:19 p.m

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