This summer, British airports have faced massive flight disruptions with hundreds of flights being delayed or cancelled and prompting tens of thousands of passengers to stack in terminals. If your flight was delayed or cancelled you can check here whether you’re eligible for compensation.
According to the British Office for national statistics, one in three UK citizens reported their travel plans this summer had been disrupted. 50% of the surveyed also mentioned longer queues at the airport and almost a quarter had to wait for their luggage longer than usual.
What is the scope of the disruptions?
A number of major air carriers, including British Airways, easyJet and TUI, had to cancel or postpone hundreds of flights since May.
TUI, for example, scrapped about 200 flights in May and June alone, which resulted in €75 million losses. For the most part, the cancelled flights were to depart from Manchester Airport. Sebastian Ebel, the future TUI Group CEO, promised to tackle the situation by negotiating with airports and other airlines.
In August, Gatwick Airport in London cancelled over 20 easyJet flights at the last minute due to sudden staff shortages. In the past 12 months, the average daily number of flights at Gatwick Airport has decreased from 900 to 850.
British Airways was named the “king of cancellations” as it had to scrap more than 900 flights on a bank holiday weekend in August. Traditionally, bank holiday weekends are one of the busiest travel season periods in Great Britain, and this summer has seen a spike in air travellers.
In response to the massive disruptions, some British airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick have introduced caps on their holding capacities. For instance, in Heathrow the current limit is set at 100,000 passengers daily.
Moreover, the crisis has spread all across the EU: flight disruptions have recently occured in Amsterdam, Oslo, Naples, Frankfurt and many other European cities. All these cancellations and restrictions have already messed up the plans of millions of leisure travellers and resulted in a significant rise in air fares.
Why do airlines cancel flights?
The crisis broke out as the aviation industry failed to accommodate the soaring number of air travellers which was mainly due to lifting the COVID-19 restrictions as well as seasonal spikes.
Apparently, most of these disruptions were caused by staff shortages in the aviation sector. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, approximately 400,000 aviation workers were fired or furloughed worldwide in the spring and summer of 2020. Since then, air carriers have been struggling to recruit the required number of new workers and process their security checks in a short time.
The situation got even more complicated with airline workers going out on strikes all across Europe. The strikers protest against unfavourable payment and working conditions. Specifically, British Airways workers went on action against the 10% pay cut that was introduced during the pandemic and still has not been reinstated.
What to do if your flight was cancelled?
First off, before setting off to the airport, it’s worth checking your flight status using one of the many online trackers, such as FlightAware or FlightStats. At least, you won’t be making all the way to the airport only to know that your flight was cancelled. However, in many cases, passengers are informed about cancellations at short notice, which makes it a more unpleasant experience.
If that happens, the first thing to do will be to find out what options the airline is offering to the passengers. Typically, there can be three scenarios:
- The airline provides a ticket refund within 7 days and, in case you were taking a connection flight and are not in your original destination, a return flight to your departure point as soon as possible
- The airline offers another flight to your final destination as soon as possible
- The airline offers a flight at a later date of your choice
Specific options depend on whether the cancelled flight is subject to the European regulation 261/2004. If the flight was to depart from an EU country or arrive to an EU country and was operated by an EU airline and if a few other requirements are met, you can expect up to €600 compensation.
Here you can find out if you’re eligible for compensation for a cancelled flight. By applying for compensation with Skycop, you can spare yourself from the red tape and having to negotiate with airlines.