Travel disruption: Miserable Monday as travellers hit by major flight cancellations following Covid absences
Travellers embarking on overseas trips on Monday have faced chaos as flights were cancelled and cross-Channel rail services were hit by major delays.
Flights across the UK are being grounded following airlines suffering from staff shortages related to the coronavirus.
EasyJet cancelled 62 flights scheduled for Monday, after axing at least 222 flights across Saturday and Sunday.
Some holidaymakers reported being stuck abroad with no explanation or alternative route home offered by the airline.
Scottish crime writer Val McDermid took to Twitter to share her dismay at the lack of customer service after experiencing delays on three flights over the weekend.
She wrote: “In the last 3 days @Easyjet have delayed three flights, meaning I had to completely reroute one journey, miss two connections and spend 7 hours in Edinburgh Airport.
“And at no point has anyone been available to help the poor passengers rebook or reroute. And there’s no comeback.”
Following the weekend disruption a spokesman for the airline said: “As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness.”
British Airways cancelled at least 115 flights to or from Heathrow Airport on Monday, although the PA news agency understands that only a handful were last-minute cancellations caused by coronavirus-related staff shortages.
The total includes many flights axed due to the airline’s recent decision to reduce its schedule until the end of May due to rising coronavirus cases.
It also suffered chaos on March 30 as flights were cancelled due to an IT meltdown.
The airline said: “Aviation has been one of the industries worst hit by the pandemic, and airlines and airports are experiencing the same issues rebuilding their operations while managing the continuing impact of Covid.”
Disruption wasn’t limited to the aviation industry with Eurotunnel warning its vehicle-carrying Le Shuttle rail services from Folkestone, Kent to Calais, France were delayed by three hours due to “a train stopped temporarily in the tunnel”.
On Sunday Edinburgh Airport warned that passengers should expect longer queues and some disruption over the busy summer months as the airport attempts to operate at pre-Covid capacity again.
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “The return of passengers to Edinburgh Airport is both exciting for the team here but challenging at the same time. During the pandemic, we lost many valued colleagues and our recruitment campaign to employ 1,000 people across the airport has been underway since the end of 2021.”
Adam Wilson, the Operations Director, said the airport has planned for the busier spells in the hope of avoiding too much disruption but said that realistically passengers should be prepared for some delays.
He said: “Operations virtually shut down during the pandemic and although we have been planning for a sudden rise in demand, we cannot deny it will have an impact on our operations as we look to readjust.
“We’ve drawn up a range of plans to deal with potential scenarios but unfortunately this may not avoid queuing at peak times. We clearly hope this won’t be the case, but we think it’s better to be honest and ask passengers to work with us to make the process as smooth as possible.”