Fury as holidays ruined for 15,000 Easyjet passengers, as airline axes more than 100 Gatwick flights amid stormy weather

12 June 2023, 12:13 | Updated: 12 June 2023, 12:14

Thousands of passengers' flights have been disrupted
Thousands of passengers' flights have been disrupted. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Easyjet has cancelled more than 100 flights because of "extreme weather", leaving thousands of passengers' plans in tatters.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The airline cancelled 54 flights taking off and landing from Gatwick on Sunday, and 55 more on Monday - meaning about 15,000 people were left grounded.

Forecasters have predicted thunderstorms and torrential downpours for the early part of the week, with almost a month's worth of rain expected to fall on Monday.

Passengers will not get compensation, because the cause of the cancellations is outside the airline's control. But Easyjet does have to offer them new flight options and help such as food and drink, as well as overnight accommodation if they need it.

Some passengers reacted with anger and confusion about the flight cancellations.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

One person said: "Easy jet just out here cancelling flights at gatwick for the pure craic. Some saying there’s not enough cabin crew others saying cause of the storm."

Another added: "Absolute disgraceful service from Easyjet tonight at Gatwick Airport. Delayed for nearly 4 hours sitting in the main waiting area - no staff members have came to us to explain the situation nor any effective updates online. Just left stranded here."

A third said: "Absolutely disgusting behaviour by Easyjet tonight... Flight to Gatwick at 21:50 delayed of 5 hours, eventually cancelled at 1:44 AM. No vouchers, no water, no food, no hotel. NOTHING".

Read more: 'What the hell is going on?': British Airways IT problems cancel flights as bank holiday travel chaos begins

Read more: British holidaymakers face Easter travel chaos with mass flight cancellations amid strikes at Heathrow and in France

An easyJet spokeswoman said: "Thunderstorms in the Gatwick area which restricted the number of arrivals and departures on Sunday unfortunately resulted in disruption at London Gatwick Airport, including some diversions and cancellations which is having a knock-on impact this morning as a number of aircraft are out of position.

"We are doing all possible to minimise the impact on our customers, providing those on cancelled flights with options to rebook or receive a refund as well as hotel accommodation and meals where required.

"The safety and wellbeing of customers and crew is easyJet's highest priority and, while this is outside of our control, we would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused."

A Gatwick airport spokeswoman said: "Due to unsettled weather conditions and thunderstorms across the south of England and Europe yesterday, temporary air traffic restrictions were put in place, which resulted in some flights being delayed and cancelled.

"London Gatwick apologises to passengers for any inconvenience.

"Further thunderstorms are expected today, so passengers should contact their airline for further information."

Meanwhile, Gatwick Express, which runs non-stop trains between the airport and central London, was suspended on Monday.

The operator said this was due to "urgent repairs to the track" after a set of points - which allow trains to move from one line to another - were damaged in the East Croydon area.

Passengers travelling to or from the airport were advised to use Southern and Thameslink services, which are slower as they stop at intermediate stations.

Jo Rhodes, deputy editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: "Thousands of travellers will be frustrated to have had their plans thrown into disarray as a result of thunderstorms over Gatwick.

"While easyJet does not have to pay compensation for these cancellations, it must offer affected passengers the option of a refund or to be rerouted at the earliest opportunity - even if this means booking seats with a rival carrier to ensure minimal delay.

"If delayed for more than two hours, passengers will be entitled to assistance such as free meals or refreshments, and overnight accommodation if required."