Holiday chaos at Heathrow as more flights axed over 'too many passengers' at airport

30 June 2022, 08:22 | Updated: 30 June 2022, 08:57

Passengers queue inside the departures terminal at Heathrow Airport.
Passengers queue inside the departures terminal at Heathrow Airport. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Heathrow Airport has been plunged into travel chaos after airlines were told to cancel more flights due to "higher passenger numbers" than the site can serve.

In a rare "schedule intervention" the London airport asked airlines to scrap 30 services on Thursday, out of the 1,200 due to take off.

Thousands of travellers were disrupted by the cancellations, with many not finding out their flights were scrapped until they arrived at the UK's busiest airport.

Travel writer and broadcaster Andy Mossack wrote on Twitter: "Total chaos at Heathrow this morning. British Airways flights cancelled and zero customer service!"

Another affected passenger, Andrew Douglas, described how he was due to be on a flight to go on holiday but had "spent the last four hours in multiple queues at Heathrow Airport because it's been cancelled".

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

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'Airlines are not responsible for long queues at airports'

He added: "Absolute shambles, complete chaos and only found out at check-in with no prior notification. Horrific service."

The travel industry’s been struggling to scale-up operations after the removal of coronavirus restrictions - which experts say has left the sector facing 40 years of passenger growth in just four months.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: "We are expecting higher passenger numbers in today's morning peak than the airport currently has capacity to serve, and so to keep everyone safe we have asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the morning peak for today only."We apologise for the impact this has on travel plans.

"We are working hard to ensure everyone has a smooth journey through Heathrow this summer, and the most important thing is to make sure that all service providers at the airport have enough resources to meet demand."

Read more: Spain's easyJet cabin crew to strike for 9 days in July over pay row

British Airways said in a statement: "As a result of Heathrow's requirement for all airlines to reduce their schedules, we've made a small number of cancellations.

"We're in contact with affected customers to apologise, advise them of their consumer rights and offer them alternative options, including a refund or rebooking."

Passengers using Heathrow in recent weeks have experienced long queues, and many have been separated from their luggage for several days.

There are fears that the severe disruption seen at UK airports in the run-up to Easter and the Jubilee bank holiday will return during the peak summer holiday period.

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