Thousands of airline passengers are waking up to discover their holiday flights have been cancelled, following widespread flight cancellations yesterday.
Ryanair has so far grounded more than 20 flights to and from UK airports, with many of the 4,000 passengers affected finding out only at check-in.
It follows scores of cancellations yesterday, which left over 15,000 travellers on Ryanair stranded.
Departures to Dublin from Birmingham, Luton and Newcastle have also been grounded, as well as a round-trip from Gatwick to Cork and another from Liverpool to Reus in Spain.
A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “Our UK operation is running well today (29 July). There is a very small number of delays and cancellations as a knock-on effect from the extreme weather disruptions (Fri) and the disruptions arising from ATC staff shortages in the UK, France and Germany.“
Many Ryanair passengers took to social media to express their frustration. Caroline McKeon tweeted: “@Ryanair you should be ashamed of yourselves-cancelling flights at last minute, causing chaos & misery and now our family holiday is ruined!
“I’ve got two sad little girls because their nanny and aunty can’t come on our holiday all because @Ryanair let them go to the airport, check in, get to departure gate before deciding to cancel.”
Paul Fitzgerald tweeted: “21 year old sister forced to leave Beauvais airport in Paris last night at 11pm due to her flight being ‘cancelled’.
“Put out onto the street in the middle of the night with no accommodation and told find an alternative way home.”
Passengers on other airlines have also been experiencing problems. British Airways’ first UK departure of the day, from Stansted to Faro in Portugal, was grounded, along with a round-trip from Heathrow to Dublin.
Several hundred British Airways passengers arrived from Alicante, Ibiza and Malaga late on Saturday night, an average of 18 hours late.
Also at Gatwick, easyJet has cancelled a flight from and to Toulouse, blaming a “crew welfare issue”. The airline grounded a Liverpool to Amsterdam round-trip because of “heavy disruption” on Saturday.
Some long delays on easyJet are building, particularly at its home base, Luton. Flights to Vienna and Barcelona are showing delays of five hours.
Wizz Air is also experiencing long delays at Luton.
Airlines that cancel flight are obliged to tell passengers about their entitlement to replacement flights, accommodation and meals.
Ryanair undertakes to find alternative flights on its own services or rival airlines on the day of cancellation or the following day.
The Irish airline and British Airways say they will not be paying cash compensation for the delays because they were caused by bad weather – and, claims Ryanair, shortages of staff among air-traffic control providers.
The cancellations have highlighted an apparent lack of resilience among the airlines this summer.
Airlines make most or all of their profits during the school summer holidays. Withe seats worth hundreds of pounds each they schedule as many flights as they think they can handle.
But when problems intervene, there is little slack in the system for service recovery.
At Eurotunnel’s Folkestone terminal, planned maintenance on Saturday night/Sunday morning was cancelled so that more shuttles could be run to try to reduce the backlog of motorists trying to reach Calais.
Delays are now down to around half-an-hour. The company has apologised for “the recent service issues we have experienced”, which caused delays of five hours or more on Friday.
Rail services in Britain are being disrupted. Late-notice engineering work at London Liverpool Street is causing problems on services to East Anglia and Stansted Airport. And the line between Beverly and Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast is closed after a lightning strike on the signalling system.
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