Gatwick ‘chaos’: Half-term getaway hit by massive queues and flight delays

·4-min read
Gatwick ‘chaos’: Half-term getaway hit by massive queues and flight delays

Passengers claim they have been hit by “absolute chaos” at Gatwick Airport with four hour check-in queues and delayed flights.

The half-term getaway has been blighted for some who have been hit with flight cancellations while others have been battling to board planes at packed terminals.

Other airports across the country have also come under pressure as airlines struggle to cope with passenger numbers, having had difficulties in recruiting staff after many had left the industry when it was grounded during the covid pandemic.

Delays and cancellations have lad to passengers missing out on family celebrations overseas and long awaited holidays they had planned before the world was hit by covid.

Easyjet is expected to cancel up to 200 flights over the next ten days, throwing the travel plans of thousands of holidaymakers into doubt.

Tempers were frayed at Gatwick on Monday with many passengers taking to social media to express their exasperation.

Sergio Nunez tweeted: “Massive queuing at the @vueling check in. 1HR queuing and not even one third through the the queue now. Queue estimates 4 plus hours now ... no solutions offered.”

Emma wrote on twitter: “Bloody hell. Gatwick Airport is absolute chaos. So busy, massive queues for each restaurant and no more places to sit.”

Tess Langield tweeted: “Happy start to the pre-wedding mini moon @easyJet - 4 hour delay and sat on the plane before they finally cancelled the flight… still waiting to disembark #gatwickchaos#gatwickairport#easyJet.”

Many passengers have been directly appealing through social media for help from airport authorities and airlines.

Jim Mott appealed via twitter: “Can anyone from @Gatwick_Airport help me. Trying to find out what is going on with the queue and flights for passengers affected by it - my wife and autistic son have been stuck her for the last two hours trying to get the Bilbao flight.”

Andy Montgomery, his wife and daughters, 11 and 13, got up at 3am on Monday to get to Gatwick in good time for their flight to Rome which was cancelled.

He told the BBC: “It’s diabolical. We’ve been put on one flight - cancelled. Put on another flight - cancelled. And then literally told we can’t fly anywhere. We said we’ll fly anywhere you can get us to.”

A spokesperson for Gatwick airport denied that the airport was in chaos.

They added: “The airport is operating normally but will be busy today with over 780 flights and 110,000 passengers. We continue to advise passengers to arrive at the airport as soon as check-in opens for their flight. Typically, this is 3 hours for long-haul and 2-2 ½ for short-haul.”

The low-cost airlines Vueling and easyJet have been hit with a barrage of customer complaints online.

Tui and EasyJet cancelled dozens of flights mainly because of air traffic restrictions and runway works.

Vueling, part of IAG which also owns British Airways, said “several operational issues” had affected its flight schedules on Friday, with a knock-on effect over the weekend.

“We always strive to offer a timely service, however, if this isn’t possible our priority is to organise the best alternatives for our customers.

“Our team at Gatwick worked diligently to resolve these issues and our customer service team is in touch with those affected by the delays”.

Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester and Bristol airports have also been hit by severe delays and cancellations.

Meanwhile drivers were warned of long delays on popular routes as Britons travel across the country during the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday.

The RAC estimated that around 19.5 million leasure trips would take place between Wednesday and Sunday, with Friday set to be the most congested day.

Passengers at Dover have also been hit by queues with some stuck for four hours at the key port.

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