EasyJey blamed the problems on high staff sick leave caused by Covid, with at least 222 trips canceled since Friday
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EasyJet canceled more than 200 flights over the weekend, with the disruption expected to last into this week, leaving some passengers stranded in travel chaos at some of Britain’s biggest airports.
The airline blamed the problems on high staff sick leave caused by Covid, with at least 222 trips canceled since Friday.
A total of 62 flights scheduled for Monday were canceled, most of which were announced at short notice on Saturday.
Some holidaymakers said they were stranded abroad with no explanation or alternative route home offered by the airline.
Simon Rudkins, 50, said he was returning from a ski trip in the Alps with his family when the airline contacted him with less than 10 hours’ notice to say their flight had been cancelled.
He said his mother, who is 85 and has dementia, joined them on the return journey.
“She gets very confused and doesn’t need stress,” Mr Rudkins said.
The freelance landscaper had to call clients who were expecting him on Monday to explain the delay and will lose money on the jobs, he said.
“We called easyJet and asked about alternatives.
“We were basically told no, there is nothing, no flights at all. The best thing you can do is fly tomorrow,” added Mr Rudkins.
“I probably wouldn’t go anywhere near easyJet (again).
“Not because they had to cancel a flight, but because they don’t care and no explanation was given.”
EasyJet said it has struggled to make up for staff shortages by “listing” additional standby crew over the weekend but has been forced to cancel more flights scheduled for today.
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An easyJet spokesman said: “As a result of the current high rates of Covid infection across Europe, like all companies, easyJet has a higher than average sick leave rate among employees.
“We have taken steps to mitigate this by adding additional standby crew this weekend. However, given the current sickness situation, we have also decided to make some advance cancellations focused on consolidating flights where we have multiple frequencies to allow customers more opportunities to rebook their trip, often on the same day .
“Unfortunately it was necessary to make some additional cancellations for today and tomorrow. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to customers on affected flights.
“We have made 62 pre-emptive cancellations on flights to and from the UK for tomorrow, which represents a small part of tomorrow’s total flight programme, which was expected to total more than 1,645 flights.
“We canceled most of them yesterday.”
It comes after passengers were stuck in long queues at Heathrow Airport on Sunday morning at the start of the Easter holidays.
The airport attributed the congestion to Covid controls mandated by destination countries and “high passenger volumes”.
But there were also reports of staff shortages and problems at the E-Gate passport checkpoints, as travelers took to social media to express their frustrations, with some saying they had waited hours for flights to depart.
Other travelers said several of the automated e-gates manned by Border Force and used to process passengers were malfunctioning.
The Home Office confirmed there had been a “technical problem” with the checkpoints, which has since been rectified, and said the problem had not resulted in queues at Heathrow exceeding the “standard length”.
However, a Heathrow spokesman said: “Due to the high passenger volume and Covid documentation checks still required by many final destinations, Terminal 2 departures are a bit congested today.
“Our teams are committed to helping our airline partners get passengers on their journey as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”
Manchester Airport has faced similar problems in recent weeks as it struggles to cope with delays due to increased numbers of travelers amid staff shortages.
The chaos at Manchester Airport meant that holidaymakers had to wait more than two hours to collect their luggage and some left their bags behind.
Alison Unwin, 60, saw dozens of unclaimed bags – from flights that had landed the previous day – abandoned around the return hall in Terminal 3, apparently abandoned by their owners who decided they had waited long enough.
It comes just days after that Manchester evening news reported huge security queues and hours of flight delays and baggage handlers “under more stress than ever”.
A Manchester Airport spokesman said passengers had been warned that “security queues could be longer than usual” and urged them to arrive early for their flight.
“We apologize to those passengers whose experience at Manchester Airport fell below expected standards.
“As we recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, our entire industry faces staffing shortages and recruitment issues.”
They added: “We are aware that airlines and third parties, such as B. Baggage handlers operating on our premises face similar challenges.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/easter-holiday-travel-chaos-easyjet-26626671 Easter holiday travel chaos as easyJet cancels 22 flights leaving passengers STRANDED