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Airport chaos - live: easyJet cancels more flights, while Gatwick passengers report three-hour queues

Airline-wide systems failure now rectified but flights continue to be disrupted

Easyjet halves cabbin luggage allowance

The chaos continues today at various airports as the aviation industry buckles under the strain of increased demand.

Following a systems failure yesterday, which saw at least 200 of its flights grounded, easyJet has this morning cancelled another 20 or so services from Gatwick, Bristol, Newcastle and Edinburgh at a few hours’ notice.

The cancellations are likely to affect around 3,000 passengers.

Meanwhile, travellers at Gatwick airport have reported queues of more than three hours to check-in.

“@British_Airways at @Gatwick_Airport what are you playing at. First and last time I’ll be flying from there. Three hours waiting for check in and I’m still waiting,” tweeted one irate passenger, alongside a picture of a long queue with no visible end in sight.

Outside the UK, KLM has suspended all sales of Amsterdam flights this weekend amid staff shortages at Schiphol Airport, while Delta says it will cancel about 100 flights a day in July and August to prevent major summer travel disruptions.

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EasyJet to cancel 240 Gatwick flights over half term

Passengers booked on 240 easyJet flights to and from Gatwick over the next 10 days are being told their flights have been cancelled.

At the end of a week in which Britain’s biggest budget airline has grounded hundreds of flights, The Independent has learnt that easyJet has made a late decision to cancel many more at its biggest base, Gatwick.

The airline is cutting 24 flights per day from Saturday 28 May to Monday 6 June inclusive. Many flights are heavily booked; the standard easyJet Airbus A320 holds 186 passengers; and The Independent calculates that even with a conservative estimate of 150 people booked on each of the grounded flight, at least 36,000 passengers will be affected.

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More easyJet cancellations in store

Cancellations by Britain's biggest budget airline are continuing into the weekend. In addition to the 14 Friday easyJet flight grounding to and from London Gatwick announced in the early hours of the morning, additional cancellations have been made this afternoon to Budapest and Madrid.

More than 20 flights to and from Gatwick have already been axed from Saturday’s schedule. The easyJet cancellations include key holiday flight to Madeira, Agadir and Cagliari, as well as both departures to Seville.

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Aviation’s dismal week

In his latest travel podcast for The Independent, Simon Calder says it has been a horrible week for the state of aviation – with, he calculates, more than 1,000 flights cancelled by British Airways and easyJet.

He concludes, regrettably, that there is not much hope of an improvement in the short-term.

Everyone, including him, hopes he is wrong.

Listen to the podcast here

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Dover delays

The Port of Dover is warning travellers hoping to reach the port for sailings to Calais and Dunkerque: “Due to high volumes [of] freight, traffic in Dover on [the] A2 is slow moving.

“Please allow extra time for travel. Apologies for any inconvenience.”

DFDS, which sails to both French ports, warns: “We are expecting a busy weekend in the port of Dover. We highly recommend all customers have a confirmed reservation.

“Please allow at least 90 mins to complete border and check-in controls on arrival.”

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Eurostar: “All trains to Paris are full”

The appetite for travel to Paris has returned with a vengeance. Eurostar, which runs services from London St Pancras International to the French capital, is warning travellers: “Our trains to Paris Gare du Nord are fully booked today. Please only come to the station if you have a ticket to travel. Thank you for your understanding.”

The only seats available to Lille in northern France are in Business Premier, and are selling for £276 one-way for a journey of 82 minutes – which works out at £3.36 for every minute spent on the train.

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More than 40 easyJet passengers removed from ‘downsized’ Corfu flight, says passenger

A woman due to travel with easyJet claims that she and around 40 others were barred from boarding their flight to Corfu early this morning, with “rude” airline staff selecting who would be allowed to fly based on check-in time.

Pippa Welch says that she and her husband were due to take an easyJet flight from Gatwick to the popular Greek island, but after going through security and getting to the gate, 46 of the waiting passengers were told the flight had been “downsized”.

Ms Welch told The Independent: “Once they announced the gate number we headed there and waited in the queue. We were stood around for a good 40 minutes with no indication or communication about what the issue was.

“It was then stated that the plane had been downsized the night before and 46 people wouldn’t be able to board - this was decided by who had checked in the latest.”

Read the full story:

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Delta slashes 100 flights a day this summer to prevent travel disruption

Delta Air Lines is pre-emptively cancelling around 100 flights a day in July and August.

The US carrier is slashing its schedules ahead of time in order to minimise travel disruptions this summer.

The airline said in a statement that the move is designed to “build additional resilience in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees.”

Staff shortages due to an increased number of employees calling in sick during the pandemic, plus bad weather, have taken their toll on American carriers, including Delta.

Read the full story:

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Manchester-Dalaman Tui flight delayed for five hours and then cancelled for the day

More than 200 Tui holidaymakers heading for Turkey arrived at Manchester before dawn for a flight to the southern resort airport of Dalaman.

But flight TOM822 sat on the ground for five hours before passengers were told they would be staying in Manchester for the night.

They were sent a message reading: “We apologise for the delay to your flight TOM822 Manchester to Dalaman, scheduled to depart at 06:10 on 27th May 2022.

“This is due to operational disruption this has resulted in the flight night stopping today.

“Hotel accommodation and transport is currently being sourced with our ground handling agents.

“We will keep you informed of any further developments regarding the new estimated time of departure, once known.

“Thank you for your patience.”

One passenger told The Independent: “Apparently it’s due to not having water and food for our flight although other Tui flights have continued to depart.”

A similar number of returning holidaymakers are awaiting news in Turkey.

Passengers are entitled to £350 in cancellation compensation.

A Tui spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, due to various operational and supply chain issues a small number of flights have been delayed as a result. We are working tirelessly to limit the delays and impact on our customers holidays and will be in direct communication should their holiday be impacted. We’d like to thank customers for their patience and understanding during this time.”

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British Airways flight cancellations

British Airways has cancelled 124 short- and medium-haul flights to and from its main base, London Heathrow airport on Friday.

The Independent calculates 26 domestic flights have been grounded, including multiple round-trips from Heathrow to Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Jersey.

Ninety-eight international flights are cancelled, including five round-trips from Heathrow to Amsterdam and four to Geneva.

Click here to see all today’s flight cancellations:

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Disabled passenger stranded on plane for two hours after flight lands at Manchester

A disabled man was abandoned on a Jet2 plane for two hours after it had landed at Manchester Airport.

Ray King, 68, had landed in Manchester at 4.45pm on a flight from Dalaman earlier this month.

After landing, he says everyone else disembarked the plane but he and his wife and another couple had to sit waiting for two hours for the pre-booked special assistance to arrive.

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