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Thursday, August 18, 2022

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Heathrow flight cancellations trigger queues and ‘chaos’

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Passengers have complained of queues and “total chaos” at Heathrow after the airport requested airways to take away 30 flights from Thursday’s schedule.

The UK’s largest airport requested airways to chop the flights as a result of it was anticipating extra passenger numbers than it could at present deal with.

Some passengers didn’t know that their flights had been cancelled till they arrived on the airport.

Heathrow mentioned the cancellations had been vital for security.

Travel author and broadcaster Andy Mossack tweeted that there was “total chaos” and “zero customer service” on the airport on Thursday morning.

The BBC is just not chargeable for the content material of exterior websites.View authentic tweet on Twitter

Another passenger tweeted that terminal 5 was a “disgraceful shambles” after he arrived on Thursday morning to search out his flight cancelled.

PA reported that one passenger, Andrew Douglas, mentioned he had spent 4 hours in queues to search out out at check-in that his flight had been cancelled with no prior notifications.

Other travellers complained of poor customer support and a scarcity of assist when making an attempt to rebook their flights.

A Heathrow spokesman mentioned: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away, and we apologise for the impact this has on travel plans.

“We are working arduous to make sure everybody has a clean journey by means of Heathrow this summer season, and a very powerful factor is to be sure that all service suppliers on the airport have sufficient sources to satisfy demand.”

A spokesman from British Airways, one of the airlines affected, said: “As a results of Heathrow’s requirement for all airways to scale back their schedules, we have made a small variety of cancellations.”

The airline said it was in contact with affected customers to “apologise, advise them of their client rights and supply them different choices, together with a refund or rebooking.”

Virgin Atlantic said one of their Heathrow to New York return services had been cut in each direction, while Air France, KLM, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Brussels Airlines and Air Canada are also affected.

Meanwhile, the government is calling on the industry to run “real looking” summer schedules and alert passengers to any flight changes as “early as doable” to minimise disruption for passengers.

It is introducing a measure to give airlines a short window to hand back plane parking slots for the rest of the summer season to better manage capacity at the busiest airports.

Earlier this month, around 5,000 people were hit by Heathrow cancellations because of technical issues affecting baggage.

Before that, tens of thousands of passengers had been affected by disruption at UK airports and flight cancellations during the week of the Platinum Jubilee and half-term holidays.

The disruption was caused by several factors, but staff shortages have left the aviation industry struggling to cope with resurgent demand.

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Analysis Box By Katy Austin, Transport Correspondent

Last week when Heathrow made a similar move, it was for a different reason – because of the knock-on impact of a technical problem with baggage.

This time, it’s linked to staffing; it realised more passengers were going to come through the airport the next morning than it has capacity for right now.

But why was the decision only announced on the afternoon of the day before?

The airport says it’s seeing increasing numbers of last-minute bookings following cancellations or disruption at other airports – and this is pushing up passenger demand. Thirteen percent more passengers were booked to fly today than Thursday last week.

Heathrow says it’s constantly talking to airlines, working with them to make sure the right amount of airline, airport and ground handling resources are in place to cope with the number of flights operating.

Gatwick has already announced it’s limiting flight numbers for July and August. Heathrow hasn’t done that, but points out that since Gatwick’s announcement, the government has announced a one-off “amnesty” on airport slot rules, and airlines are expected to use this to cut more flights to try to make schedules more resilient.

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