EasyJet is to cancel more than 200 flights over the next 10 days, causing disruption for families heading abroad on half-term holidays.
The airline said about 24 flights a day from London’s Gatwick airport would be cancelled between 28 May and 6 June.
It said the cancellations were necessary “to provide reliable services over this busy period”.
Meanwhile, people are being urged to check the latest advice before travelling to the port of Dover.
The Department for Transport warned that the roads in Kent are “extremely busy” due to an “exceptionally high number” of travellers and P&O Ferries still not running all of its ferry sailings.
The Kent Resilience Forum said around 750 lorries were queuing on Saturday morning – though tourists are being prioritised.
The coastguard has handed out food and water to lorry drivers stuck in the queue.
Dozens of travellers have also been queueing at London’s St Pancras station for Eurostar services across the Channel.
Simon Calder, the Independent’s travel editor, said he had never seen such a long queue at the station but confirmed there was no major disruption.
Families heading to Disneyland Paris and football fans going to Paris for the Champions League final were among those queueing at the station, he said.
‘I had to watch dad’s funeral online’
A woman has described how her family missed her father’s funeral because their flight was cancelled by EasyJet minutes before departure.
Tracey was booked to fly from Geneva to Bristol with her two sons to attend her father David Dane’s funeral.
Their flight was one of about 200 the airline cancelled at short notice on 26 May.
“My problem isn’t that the flight was cancelled,” she said. “It was the fact that there was no one to deal with the situation, this meant I had to watch my dad’s funeral from a hotel room.”
The issue affected airports across the UK. EasyJet said the latest cancellations were unrelated to the IT issue, which is now resolved.
It said a range of issues affected its operations and contributed to the cancellations, including air traffic control restrictions, runway works and airport handling delays.
The airline will still be operating around 1,700 flights per day over the next week, it said.
What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?
When a flight is cancelled fewer than seven days before the scheduled departure, airlines are obliged to inform those affected of their rights, and:
- offer to place them on an alternative flight – including on other airlines – to fly as soon as possible
- provide a full refund for parts of the ticket not used
If a flight is cancelled with less than two weeks’ notice, passengers may be entitled to additional compensation payments depending on the timings of any alternative flights:
- £220 for flights under 1,500km such as Glasgow to Amsterdam
- £350 for flights 1,500km to 3,500km such as East Midlands to Marrakesh
Passengers who receive little or no notice about their cancelled flight, and ultimately arrive much later at their destination, may be entitled to extra compensation payments.
Airlines are also expected to provide refreshments and accommodation as required while their customers await their new flight – or reimburse reasonable costs later on.
People on affected package holidays booked through members of Abta have the right to alternative arrangements at no extra cost or a full refund without delay.
Holiday company Tui cancelled six flights from Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick on Saturday morning while other flights were delayed.
Delays were due to “a combination of factors” and refreshments and hotel accommodation would be provided, the company said.
It also added that those whose flight was cancelled would be contacted directly and would receive a full refund within 14 days.
Around 8,000 flights are expected to depart from UK airports over the weekend.
Gatwick Airport said it expected 700 flights and 110,000 passengers on Saturday alone.
Meanwhile, motoring organisation the RAC warned of congestion on the roads and said drivers were planning an estimated 17.8 million leisure trips between Friday and Sunday. Saturday is expected to be the busiest day.
Passengers have faced delays and cancellations at airports in recent months following the easing of Covid restrictions on international travel.
The travel industry cut thousands of jobs during the pandemic, but as demand for flights has returned, it has struggled to recruit staff, carry out security checks and train new workers quickly.