Thousands of passengers are struggling to recover their travel plans after easyJet canceled 1,700 summer flights as it faced delays at its main facility, London Gatwick.
After weeks of last-minute cancellations of hundreds of flights at the airport, Britain’s largest low-cost carrier has informed 180,000 passengers that its departures in July, August and September have been canceled. cancel.
The airline blamed the “unprecedented” delay on air traffic control, which it said was three times longer than it was before the pandemic.
It said 95 per cent of affected travelers have been rebooked on other easyJet flights – leaving 9,000 now without a replacement.
But passengers have complained about easyJet’s rebooking process, which has resulted in 18,000 passengers being moved to a different departure date.
According to European airline passenger rights regulations, anyone with a canceled flight will be offered a flight on the original date of travel if any airline has seats available.
Jenny Chan found her planned journey from Glasgow via Gatwick to Marseille in disarray after easyJet rebooked. She had originally booked a direct flight from Glasgow to the airport in the south of France, but that flight was canceled earlier in the year.
Ms Chan accepted the one-stop journey – but that was not possible because easyJet moved the second leg a day earlier. She tweeted: “They flew me from Gatwick the day before my flight with them to Gatwick from Glasgow.
“All flights on the same booking as we were originally flying direct from Glasgow to Marseille but the flight was canceled earlier this year.”
Passengers who choose to accept the rebooking on another date can request any additional accommodation and meal costs from easyJet.
independence have also seen examples where travelers have been booked on connecting flights with easyJet via other European airports. They are entitled to a direct flight if available on any carrier.
EasyJet chose Monday to launch its seat-selling program, sparking ridicule on social media. A potential tourist tweeted: “Don’t want to plan any flights with an airline that cancels too many flights these days. Jet2 will get my business from now on. Great record of non-cancellation.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive officer of Advantage Travel Partnership, says independence: “This is really going to be devastating for many families and those looking forward to planning and preparing to depart.
“Trying to find new flights at the last minute is not going to help anyone.”
Passengers whose flights are canceled with less than two weeks’ notice are also entitled to £220 cash compensation (or £350 for flights over 1,500km), unless easyJet can rebook them on the flight coming close to the original time.
Taking too much capacity out of the summer market, in a year when seats are already scarce, will force higher fares and reduce availability for those who haven’t booked a summer trip.
EasyJet insists it has a full crew and more pilots and flight attendants than ever before, but Gatwick said it has been affected by air traffic control delays.
On Saturday alone, more than 40 flights to and from Gatwick were suspended, affecting more than 6,000 passengers. Between them, easyJet’s rival airlines at the same airport canceled a total of eight departures and arrivals on the same day.
On Sunday, dozens of other easyJet departures were cancelled, including flights to the key Spanish holiday airports of Barcelona, Alicante and Malaga. In addition, passengers who were waiting for their last Belfast international flight of the day at Gatwick and in Budapest for their flight back to London, were canceled while they were waiting at the gate.
At London Stansted Airport over the weekend, neither Ryanair nor Jet2 canceled any flights – despite disruption caused by President Biden’s appearance on Air Force One.
The pressure on Gatwick, the world’s busiest single-runway airport, is felt more by easyJet – accounting for about half of its flights – than any other carrier. As of June 28, the daily late-evening easyJet flight from Gatwick to Palma de Mallorca, flight 8091, has been canceled more frequently.
easyJet spokesman said independence: “We currently operate approximately 1,800 flights and carry approximately 250,000 customers a day, and like all airlines, we are constantly reviewing our flights.
“As Eurocontrol has stated, the entire industry is seeing challenging conditions this summer with more limited space due to the war in Ukraine leading to unprecedented ATC [air-traffic control] delays, as well as further potential ATC attack action.
“As a result, we have made some prioritization adjustments to our program, consolidating a small number of flights at Gatwick, where we have multiple daily frequencies, to help mitigate challenges. outside this day tour for our clients.
“Customers with affected flights are being notified, with 95% of customers being rebooked for an alternative flight and all customers being given the option to rebook or receive a refund.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
Aviation veteran Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “I have been warning for some time that our UK airport infrastructure, along with With constant shortages of people at the airlines and ground staff, it is not possible to meet the large demand in the summer.
“Just when you think you’ve got a flight to your summer vacation paradise, it changes and causes more inconvenience and stress.
“Airlines have to plan and deliver better, not letting customers down in the short term. EasyJet is not the first and will not be the last to take such action this summer.”
The scale of the cancellation could cost easyJet future summer slots at Gatwick. The right to take off and land is awarded on a “use it or lose it” basis – although last summer, when easyJet and British Airways made thousands of cancellations, the government allowed airlines to keep positions again.