Thousands of Brits stuck abroad amid airport chaos as they're forced to drive home

7 June 2022, 06:12

Britain's aviation industry has buckled under demand for flights
Britain's aviation industry has buckled under demand for flights. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Thousands of Brits have been stranded overseas after hundreds of flights were scrapped.

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The cancellations have left people having to spend hundreds on new ways home, including driving back from Germany, to make sure they can resume work.

Britain's airports have been a picture of chaos as the airline industry buckles under the weight of demand for travel.

It has forced bitterly disappointed would-be tourists having to scrap their long-awaited getaway plans and left thousands stuck in another country.

That includes doctors and teachers who have missed their planned return to work.

Almost 90 flights that were set to fly to the UK on Sunday and Monday were axed, leaving tourists to fork out hundreds of pounds on alternative trips home.

Airports have been extremely busy as airlines struggle with demand
Airports have been extremely busy as airlines struggle with demand. Picture: Alamy

One West Midlands couple, Clare Engelke, 49, and Christian, 56, had to borrow a car to get back from Germany after their easyJet flight from Berlin was cancelled on Sunday, and no alternative flights were available until Wednesday.

Clare, who lives near Wolverhampton, told The Times: "We are two well-travelled adults. But if this had been a family or older people who don't have access to the internet, this would have been really scary and unacceptable."

Christian, a director at a company, was due to begin work almost as soon as they got back after their 12-hour trip, which saw them borrow a car from his parents in Hanover before driving to the Eurotunnel in Calais.

Meanwhile, easyJet customers say they have been unable to get back from Portugal after the airline scrapped flights home for a week.

More than 80 flights were axed, forcing Brits to remain in the country and seeing them turned away from Faro airport.

One customer told The Sun: "How are we and the rest of the passengers getting home?? No flights to the UK available this week."

Passengers have been frustrated with the delays and cancellations
Passengers have been frustrated with the delays and cancellations. Picture: Alamy

Matt Wheeler, 37, a train driver from Nottingham, said he and his partner had to make emergency childcare arrangements after finding out their easyJet flight home from Amsterdam had been cancelled on Monday morning.

"It's a farce... didn't know about the cancellation until we arrived at the airport at 3.30am, no easyJet staff or any staff that could help us," he said.

"We now have to try and arrange family members to pick our kids up from school/childminders this afternoon and then have them overnight and take them to school tomorrow.

"They'll have to take time off work (and) we will now miss a day's work tomorrow as we won't be home."

British Airways cut more than 100 short-haul flights at Heathrow on Monday, saying passengers got advance notice, while Tui Airways is still axing six flights a day at Manchester.

Some 225 departures from UK airports were cancelled between Monday and Friday last week, according to aviation data firm Cirium, compared with 24 during the corresponding half-term week last year.

The PC Agency, a travel consultancy, estimated that at least 15,000 passengers were affected by "last-minute changes" to flights on Sunday, which chief executive Paul Charles said caused "major knock-on effects" which "will take three days to clear".

The aviation industry has been blamed for cutting jobs during the pandemic and are struggling to get staff recruited through the security checking process.

The demand has increased thanks to half-term and the Platinum Jubilee weekend, which led to chaotic scenes of hours-long queues, delays and a raft of cancellations,