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Worried about your flight being cancelled? Here's how to check and what to do next

A digital departures board showing cancelled flights.
A digital departures board showing cancelled flights.   -   Copyright  Canva
By Eve Hebron

A turbulent few weeks at UK and Irish airports has led to travel chaos in recent days, with delays, cancellations and missed flights causing disruption to travelers' plans.

On Tuesday, managing director of Manchester Airport, Karen Smart, stepped down in response to fierce criticism from upset passengers. Many had to wait several hours in security queues, with some passengers abandoning suitcases in terminals due to extreme waiting times. Staff at the international airport have also expressed disappointment in management, with some quitting over concerns for passenger safety.

Other large airports, such as Heathrow and Dublin, are also struggling. Staff shortages since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in the UK and parts of Europe are said to be behind the delays, as the world reopens to mass transit after the Omicron outbreak.

With the Easter Bank Holiday approaching, the first holiday period without travel restrictions since the pandemic began, the situation is expected to continue.

How do I check if my flight is cancelled?

According to aviation data firm Cirium, 1,143 UK flights were cancelled last week, in comparison with the same week in 2019.

Many cancellations were of easyJet flights, with an easyJet representative recently stating that the company has cancelled flights with multiple frequencies meaning “customers have more options to rebook their travel, often on the same day.” You can check the status of your easyJet flight here.

British Airways also cancelled a large number of their flights. Thankfully, the airline operates a flexible ‘book with confidence policy’ meaning you are able to rebook, cancel or request a voucher until the closure of your flight check-in. You can check the status of your British Airways flight here.

If your RyanAir flight is cancelled, the airline promises to notify you directly via text or email. You’re then able to change your flight or apply for a refund. Refunds should be processed within five working days, and are paid back using the same form of payment made for the booking.

Jet2 is the UK’s third biggest airline. If your flight is cancelled, it should be listed on the airline’s ‘incident page’. If an alternative flight is not available, they will issue you with a refund too.

An easyJet plane. The company has cancelled many of its flights in the UK and Ireland.Canva

What are my rights?

Sometimes it’s not clear what to do when a flight is cancelled, and it is difficult to know your rights as a consumer.

However, there are a number of regulations that all airlines are obliged to honour.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), you have important legal rights on many flights to, from or within the UK. This includes access to ‘a reasonable amount of food and drink (often provided in the form of vouchers)’ and accommodation until the airline is able to fly you to your destination.

With many last minute cancellations occurring, it’s also good to know that compensation may be available if you receive less than 14 days notice of cancellation.

For more information regarding your rights, click here.