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What causes travel chaos at some UK airports and what are your rights? | Travel and Leisure

Vacationers have taken advantage of school holidays and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to make long-awaited trips abroad, but many have faced long queues at airports and flight cancellations. So what is happening and what can those whose plans have been thwarted do?

Why are airports so busy?

Intermediate holidays are traditionally the launching pad for the summer tourist season. However, this year many passengers are traveling abroad for the first time in two years due to the Covid pandemic. This week marks the first school holidays in England and Wales after the lifting of all UK travel restrictions and the relaxation of coronavirus test requirements for many EU countries. Many consumers have saved money by not being able to go on holiday during the lockdown, leading to pent-up demand for overseas travel.

The big holiday also led to traffic congestion. Long queues lined up at the port of Dover for travelers waiting to cross the English Channel over the weekend. The port has warned passengers that the week will be “very busy”.

Why do some airports fail?

Airports say many passengers are using vouchers or credit notes from trips canceled during Covid, boosting demand.

Many of the recent problems can be attributed to a shortage of staff amid a shortage of available workers and record vacancies in the British economy.

The surge comes as the aviation industry is still ramping up its workforce after many workers were laid off or changed jobs during the pandemic.

Thousands of passengers at Manchester Airport missed flights in early spring after waiting hours to go through security. Over the weekend, there were delays in check-in and baggage claim. The airport operator said more than 500 people are undergoing background checks and security training, but only 200 are due to join this month.

Heathrow Airport is hiring 1,000 employees, although it believes the current tourism boom could be a summer bubble. Demand for flights could disappear this fall as the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy prices cut consumer spending. The industry fears that the winter slowdown could cause problems for airlines during a traditionally quieter period of the year.

Which airlines have been hit the hardest?

Airlines including British Airways and easyJet announced a string of flight cancellations just before Easter as a rise in coronavirus cases led to a large number of absent employees.

In recent days, easyJet has canceled more than 200 flights to and from Gatwick between May 28 and June 6. Over the weekend, you also canceled flights at the last minute from airports including Gatwick, Birmingham and Bristol due to “operational and supply chain issues.”

My flight was canceled – what are my rights?

The good news is that you are still protected from many things that could go wrong. If your flight is cancelled, you have the right to choose between a refund or a re-routing – it could be a new flight with the same…

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