Air Traffic Control: Your rights at work if you’ve had a cancelled flight, according to an employer lawyer

Thousands of UK passengers have faced delays and cancellations due to air traffic control issues - but what are your employer rights for a cancelled flight?
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Hundreds of flights have been cancelled across the UK due to a failure of air traffic control system, leaving thousands of passengers facing delays and cancellations. The issue began on Monday morning (August 28) at the headquarters of the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) when its flight planning system failed.

NATS was unable to automatically process the flight plans which are submitted by airlines, meaning they had to be inputted manually, causing huge delays. The outage has now been resolved but has caused significant delays at major UK airports, including Heathrow, Newcastle and Manchester.

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For many, this would mean potentially not returning on the day that you were due to return to work, and therefore, you may be wondering what your options are regarding pay and annual leave.

Flight delays: Workers rights 

James Watkins, Employment Lawyer at Howells Solicitors, discusses your options as someone that may face delays and cancelled flights, meaning additional time off work. He said:

“If you’re stranded abroad due to a cancelled or delayed flight, requiring you to miss at least an extra day off work, then you might be wondering what your rights are, and whether your employer will pay you. The simple answer is no, your employer shouldn’t have to pay for you for an additional day, or days, if you find yourself needing extra time off work.

“However, it’s up to your manager and your employer on whether these extra days can be taken from your annual leave allowance at short notice. You could ask your employee if you’re able to take this extra time as annual leave, although if you don’t have any leave remaining, it may be counted as unpaid leave, if the manager agrees to this over the other options.

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“Another choice that you may have, depending on business opening hours, is making up the lost time on weekends and evenings. Doing this would mean that you’d not lose an additional day of annual leave, or take any unpaid leave.

Passengers at Belfast International Airport on Monday, as flights to the UK and Ireland have been cancelled as a result of air traffic control issues in the UK on Monday, Pic: Liam McBurney/PA WirePassengers at Belfast International Airport on Monday, as flights to the UK and Ireland have been cancelled as a result of air traffic control issues in the UK on Monday, Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Passengers at Belfast International Airport on Monday, as flights to the UK and Ireland have been cancelled as a result of air traffic control issues in the UK on Monday, Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

“If you have your laptop with you on your holiday, then your employer may also allow you to work abroad. Most hotels and cafes have strong Wi-Fi connections, meaning you might be able to continue working with a change of scenery.  If you don’t have your laptop with you, would you still be able to take client and internal calls from your phone? Again, this could be an option as long as your employer says that it’s ok.”

UK cancelled flights

Heathrow Airport cancelled flights

  • 07:45 BA flight to Madrid BA458
  • 07:50 BA flight to Ibiza BA410
  • 08:15 BA flight to Dublin BA828
  • 08:15 BA flight to Geneva BA726
  • 08:20 BA flight to Amsterdam BA430
  • 08:20 BA flight to Pisa BA604
  • 08:20 Virgin Atlantic flight to Tel Aviv VS457
  • 08:25 BA flight to Luxembourg-Ville BA416
  • 08:45 BA flight to Paris BA306
  • 08:55 BA flight to Munich BA950
  • 10:35 United Airlines flight to Houston UA879
  • 11:15 Delta Air Lines flight to New York City DL002
  • 12:00 BA flight to Faro BA506
  • 15:05 BA flight to Nashville BA223
  • 15:10 BA flight to Vienna BA704
  • 15:35 BA flight to Belfast BA1418
  • 15:35 BA flight to Geneva BA734
  • 16:05 Virgin Atlantic flight to Tampa VS129
  • 16:15 BA flight to Nice BA348
  • 16:30 BA flight to Brussels BA398
  • 16:50 BA flight to Stockholm BA782
  • 18:15 BA flight to Aberdeen BA1316

Birmingham Airport cancelled flights

  • 08:10 Jet2 flight to Palma LS1275
  • 08:40 easyJet flight to Glasgow EZY428
  • 13:25 Jet2 flight to Antalya LS1343 - flight will operate on Wednesday 30 August
  • 14:15 Jet2 flight to Rhodes LS1283 - flight will operate on Wednesday 30 August

Manchester Airport cancelled flights

  • 07:55 Jet2 flight to Catania FontanaRoss LS1719
  • 08:00 easyJet flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle EZY2105
  • 08:00 Jet2 flight to Dubrovnik LS961
  • 08:00 easyJet flight to Jersey States EZY729
  • 08:00 easyJet flight to Malaga EZY2007
  • 08:35 Jet2 flight to Heraklion LS905
  • 08:45 easyJet flight to Belfast Aldergrove EZY090
  • 09:15 Ryanair flight to Cork FR1863
  • 10:00 Jet2 flight to Tenerife LS917
  • 14:20 easyJet flight to Geneva EZY2187

Bristol Airport cancelled flights

  • 10:15 easyJet flight to Alicante EZY2723
  • 10:35 easyJet flight to Venice Municipal EZY2831
  • 11:00 easyJet flight to Inverness EZY245
  • 13:15 Jet2 flight to Kos LS1847 - delayed until Wednesday 30 August
  • 13:40 Jet2 flight to Heraklion LS1831 - delayed until Wednesday 30 August

Edinburgh Airport cancelled flights

  • 08:50 BA flight to London City BA8703
  • 09:25 easyJet flight to Gatwick EZY6474

London Stansted Airport cancelled flights

  • 08:15 Ryanair flight to Belfast (International) RK129
  • 08:15 Ryanair flight to Edinburgh RK596
  • 08:30 Ryanair flight to Plovdiv FR1836
  • 08:30 Ryanair flight to Beziers FR876
  • 08:55 easyJet flight to Glasgow EZY408
  • 10:50 Ryanair flight to Bergamo FR4189

London Luton Airport cancelled flights

  • 15:00 Ryanair flight to Faro FR5767

Gatwick Airport cancelled flights

  • 13:50 easyJet flight to Olbia EZY6468
  • 13:55 BA flight to Nice BA2623
  • 14:00 easyJet flight to Athens EZY8182
  • 15:25 Tui flight to Kos TOM4263
  • 20:30 BA flight to Mauritius BA2064D
  • 23:35 BA flight to Palma Mallorca BA2879
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