Thousands of P&O Ferries customers face Easter holiday chaos as services are halted

6 April 2022, 13:49 | Updated: 6 April 2022, 13:55

P&O has suspended ferries this weekend, causing chaos for travellers.
P&O has suspended ferries this weekend, causing chaos for travellers. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Emma Soteriou

P&O Ferries customers face having their Easter holidays ruined this weekend after rival operators warned they could not honour tickets from Dover to France.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

It comes as P&O told customers that their services were suspended for the upcoming weekend, recommending passengers use alternative operators.

However, rival operators - including DFDS - have said they are also unable to take on additional passengers over the weekend due to them being fully booked.

Ticketholders were warned of the changes on Wednesday morning, causing travel chaos for many hoping to visit Europe during their holidays.

P&O tweeted: "Our Passenger Services are suspended this weekend.

"We sincerely apologise, for travel 8/9/10 April please re-book directly with another operator before arriving at the port.

"DFDS are not able to transfer PO customers onto their ships for travel between 08/04 00:01 - 10/04 23:59, we will provide a full refund of your ticket."

Usually, P&O, DFDS, and the Channel Tunnel have an arrangement in place allowing them to accept each other's tickets in the event of an emergency.

With P&O ferries still being held at Dover, following the sacking of 800 seafarers without notice earlier in March, there are few options left for travellers hoping to make the crossing any earlier than Tuesday.

Read more: P&O Ferries face criminal and civil investigations into mass sacking of 800 staff

Read more: Explained: What has P&O done and why?

According to the Telegraph, a spokesman for DFDS said: "As we look towards the weekend, we have very high booking levels, which sadly means we won't have any capacity available for other operators.

"We will of course do everything we can outside the peak weekends to carry as many P&O customers as possible.

"What we don't want to do is to create a situation where we have to disappoint customers arriving in the port who we cannot get to France because we are full."

It is the latest of travel problems for holidaymakers trying to make the most of their easter breaks, with UK airports continuing to face major delays too.

British Airways was forced to cancel 78 flights scheduled to or from Heathrow Airport on Wednesday as coronavirus-related staff shortages continue to hit the aviation industry.

Meanwhile, EasyJet cancelled at least 30 flights scheduled to or from Gatwick Airport, impacting routes to and from Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Krakow, Poland; Bologna, Italy; and Berlin, Germany.

Several Tube services are also set to be halted for easter next weekend.