February 4, 2023

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Thousands of UK holidaymakers stranded due to airline disruption

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Thousands of UK holidaymakers have been left stranded overseas after the travel disruption gripping airlines and domestic airports worsened over the weekend.

Airlines cancelled nearly 500 flights into and out of the UK over the four-day platinum jubilee holiday, including scores at short notice, data company Cirium said.

EasyJet made up many of the last-minute cancellations, and on Monday the low-cost airline said it had cancelled a further 37 flights, but that passengers had been told before arriving at the airport.

The airline said the vast majority of its flights operated as normal, and blamed “the ongoing challenging operating environment” for the disruption. It has said it is fully staffed for the summer and does not expect to recruit more crew.

In all, about 15,000 passengers were hit by last-minute changes on Sunday alone, and it was expected to take three days to clear the backlog, according to travel consultancy the PC Agency.

Would-be passengers, including some school staff and pupils with exams this week, complained of being stuck abroad after half-term holidays.

Michael Norman, who tried to fly back to Manchester from Faro, Portugal on Sunday, said easyJet did not tell passengers their flight was cancelled until they were at the departure gate.

He estimated he had spent £750 on hotel accommodation and new flights, after easyJet said he had been rebooked on to the “next available flight” without telling him when it would leave.

“We have no idea, it is as if they abandon you . . . they should not be flying people out on holiday if they cannot fly you back,” he said.

Passengers have endured 10 days of disruption, delays and cancellations across many of the UK’s airports, as the aviation industry has struggled to cope with the rise in demand for travel.

The problems have been acute in the UK but have stretched across many parts of Europe, including the Netherlands, Ireland and Sweden. In the US, problems have persisted for…

2022-06-06 11:34:43

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