Heartbreak at Heathrow: 15,000 passengers stranded and easyJet axes flights at Gatwick

20 June 2022, 09:05 | Updated: 20 June 2022, 14:15

By Daisy Stephens

Thousands of holidaymakers will have their travel plans thrown into chaos after Heathrow asked airlines to cancel flights following a baggage backlog and easyJet axed more of its summer trips.

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A technical issue at Heathrow over the weekend left some passengers departing without their luggage and waiting up to two days to get it back.

Now Heathrow has asked airlines with flights from terminals two and three to cancel 10 per cent of their journeys on Monday to help manage the disruption.

It means around 15,000 passengers on 90 flights will be affected, as airlines including Virgin Atlantic and British Airways reduce their services.

Read more: Chaos at Stansted Airport as passengers face 'horrid' queues and people sleep in terminal

Read more: Airport chaos: Which airlines are cancelling flights and why?

Around 15,000 people will have their travel affected
Around 15,000 people will have their travel affected. Picture: Alamy

Also on Monday, EasyJet announced it is "proactively" cancelling flights at Gatwick in response to a cap introduced by the airport - meaning travel chaos for thousands of holidaymakers this summer.

It comes after a weekend of disruption at Heathrow after a technical glitch led to a backlog of baggage at the site's terminal two.

Furious passengers took to social media over the weekend to share their frustration.

Photos showed the "enormous luggage carpet" as travellers waited for the problem to be resolved.

Stuart Dempster, whose bag was among the pile up, said there were two hour delays at baggage reclaim.

"Two-hour delays for Heathrow Airport T2 baggage reclaim tonight apparently," he tweeted.

"Welcome back to Britain!"

While another traveller, named Pia, said her bag was lost on her outbound flight. She hoped to collect it on Saturday.

Meanwhile, easyJet has cancelled dozens of daily flights at Gatwick in recent weeks, including some when passengers were already on the plane.

It said it wants to "build additional resilience" as the aviation sector across Europe is experiencing "operational issues".

These include air traffic control delays, staff shortages in ground handling and at airports, and increased times for identity checks of new recruits.

Read more: Gatwick slashes summer flights in bid to avoid more airport chaos

Read more: Britain's summer of strikers as nurses, teachers and binmen could walk out

Gatwick announced last week that it will be reducing the number of daily flights during July and August to help tackle staffing issues.

A limit on flights has also been introduced by Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

EasyJet said: "In response to these caps and in order to build additional resilience, easyJet is proactively consolidating a number of flights across affected airports.

"This provides customers with advance notice and the potential to rebook on to alternative flights."

The airline said it expects to be able to rebook "the majority" of passengers on to other departures, with "many being on the same day".

The "enormous luggage carpet" was pictured at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2
The "enormous luggage carpet" was pictured at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2. Picture: Stuart Dempster

EasyJet admitted there will be a "cost impact" from the disruption, and the amount of money it spends to operate each seat per kilometre excluding fuel will "exceed" previous guidance.

It said: "We believe that these capacity/cost impacts are a one-off this summer as we would expect all parties to build greater resilience in time for 2023 peak periods."

Flights at Gatwick have also been cancelled
Flights at Gatwick have also been cancelled. Picture: Alamy

The carrier expects its capacity between April and June to be 87% of 2019 levels, rising to 90% during the following three months.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "Delivering a safe and reliable operation for our customers in this challenging environment is easyJet's highest priority and we are sorry that for some customers we have not been able to deliver the service they have come to expect from us.

Read more: Luggage chaos at Heathrow as passengers told they may not get bags back for 2 days

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"While in recent weeks the action we have taken to build in further resilience has seen us continue to operate up to 1,700 flights and carry up to a quarter of a million customers a day, the ongoing challenging operating environment has unfortunately continued to have an impact, which has resulted in cancellations.

"Coupled with airport caps, we are taking pre-emptive actions to increase resilience over the balance of summer, including a range of further flight consolidations in the affected airports, giving advance notice to customers, and we expect the vast majority to be rebooked on alternative flights within 24 hours.

"We believe this is the right action for us to take so we can deliver for all of our customers over the peak summer period in this challenging environment."