Holiday misery for 34,000 Brits as TUI cancels six flights a day

31 May 2022, 10:45 | Updated: 31 May 2022, 17:11

Chaos at Britain's airports.
Chaos at Britain's airports. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Will Taylor

Tui is cancelling six daily flights throughout June causing holiday misery for around 34,000 Brits.

The airline has cancelled nearly 200 flights due to serve Manchester Airport between now and the end of June.

Six daily flights up to June 30 will be cancelled, including to destinations such as Spain's Canary Islands.

The airline made the announcement after passengers suffered long delays in recent days due to crippling staff shortages.

Other airlines are continuing to axe flights, and passengers are being forced to wait in long queues at airports such as Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick and Bristol.

Chaos reached a new level on Tuesday after police were drafted in to explain to customers that their flight had been cancelled.

Officers at Manchester Airport were left having to explain to disappointed holidaymakers that they would no longer be going away, and that they will get a refund and compensation.

One cop was filmed telling travellers he would be frustrated in their position too, and admitting he was unaware exactly why their holiday plans had been ruined.

The clip, published to Twitter by Jayesh Patel, came after he spent eight hours waiting at Manchester Airport on May 28, only to be told holiday firm TUI had cancelled the trip to Kos by text.

"No airport or @TUIUK staff on hand, the police read out a statement on their behalf. From this point it took another 2 hrs to get our bags back as we were left stranded in baggage reclaim with no staff to advise us what was happening," Jayesh wrote.

In the clip, the officer explains: "You won't be going today. But what has happened is this - you're all going to be getting a full refund… There's also going to be a 350 per person euro in compensation per person."

"You'll also get £200 holiday voucher per person obviously to go on another holiday," he adds, to sarcastic cheers and a dramatic cry of "NO!" from one irate passenger.

He said the cancellation was due to "operational reasons - they wont tell me what those operational reasons are".

Passengers are told they will go get their baggage back before having to head home.

"I understand your frustration - I would feel exactly the same way," he adds.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has insisted the Government is working with the airlines and airports to reduce disruption and delays.

"We put in place billions of pounds of support for the travel industry in particular during the pandemic," the Chancellor said.

"Right now there are conversations happening between the industry and ministers to make sure disruption can be eased. That is where the focus is right now."

Chaos at Britain's airports that has ruined half-term holidays could last all summer, holidaymakers have been warned.

Shambolic scenes at terminals throughout the country have seen passengers camping on the floor, stuck in massive queues and flights getting cancelled.

The Government has blamed the airline industry for being unprepared with the sharp rise in demand for travel.

And trade union Unite has blamed "chronic staff shortages" on cuts wreaked across the industry's work force during the pandemic, warning the "chaos will last the entire summer season".

Unite's general secretary Sharon Graham said: "During the pandemic, when airline operators and others in aviation slashed jobs to boost corporate profits, we warned this corporate greed would cause chaos in the industry.

"The aftermath of mass sackings is now chronic staff shortages across the board. Aviation chiefs need to come clean with the public. This is a crisis of their making.

"We are determined that workers will not pay for this crisis. Current pay and conditions in the industry are so poor that workers are voting with their feet.

"It can only be resolved by offering higher wages and better working conditions for staff. Unite is utterly determined to fight for that."

Airline easyJet and holiday firm Tui have cut a number of flights while British Airways said passengers should spend the night before their flight close to the airport and leave their baggage with them the day before.

A Government source blamed the aviation sector for failing to prepare for the demand despite being given help during restrictions.

As many as 300,000 people get set to fly over half-term and the Platinum Jubilee weekend, the busiest week for air travel since 2019.

"The sudden cancellations of flights and airport delays are completely unacceptable," the source told the Times.

"The simple fact is that airlines and airports overcut staff during the pandemic, ignoring the fact that the billions of pounds of aid - including furlough - handed out by the Government was meant to protect those very jobs.

"Operators are now struggling to meet increasingly busy schedules as we move towards the first Covid-free summer since 2019 - a wholly foreseeable surge in bookings that should have been adequately prepared for.

"The responsibility for maintaining adequate staffing levels lies with the airlines and airports themselves.

"Not only are they causing huge frustration to their customers, they are missing out on the benefits of the strong recovery in foreign travel."

Read more: Ministers slam airlines for 'completely unacceptable' cuts amid half-term hell at airports

Airlines have blamed supply chain issues while easyJet apologised for previously cancelling a raft of Gatwick flights.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said the worst was yet to come.

"Sadly, I think it will get worse because we're reaching its peak in a few days," he told MailOnline.

"Monday 6 June scheduled to be the busiest day since 2019, with 2,864 departures from the UK, and the same number of inbound flights - it will be the busiest day since before the pandemic."

Previously, Manchester Airport apologised for the disruption, and said that delays at check-in and baggage reclaim are the responsibility of airlines and ground handling firms which run their own services.

A spokesperson for TUI said: "We’d like to apologise to customers impacted by cancellations and delays this weekend, caused by various operational and supply chain issues.

Read more: Anarchy at the airports: Families stranded for 5 hours and one plane 'runs out of fuel'

"We'd like to reassure customers that we are doing everything we can to minimise delays and would like to thank them their patience and understanding during this time."

An easyJet spokesman said: "We have taken the decision to make advance cancellations of around 24 Gatwick flights per day starting from May 28 until June 6.

"We are very sorry for the late notice of some of these cancellations and inconvenience caused for customers booked on these flights, however we believe this is necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period."