A turbulent few weeks at UK and Irish airports has led to travel chaos, with delays, cancellations and missed flights causing disruption to travellers' plans.
Just this week, passengers were left stranded after an IT glitch meant that 200 easyJet flights needed to be cancelled.
Flights scheduled to depart between 1pm and 3pm were either cancelled or postponed because of the systems failure, with some passengers told to book alternative flights.
Last month, 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 summer holidays fast approaching, the first travel period without 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 in the last month, in comparison with the same week in 2019.
Many cancellations were of easyJet flights. But one easyJet representative recently argued, “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.
What do I do if my flight is cancelled?
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.
Will I get my money back?
EasyJet has announced that customers will be able to claim for cancelled flights due to IT failures.
Passengers are encouraged to reroute at the "earliest opportunity" on an alternate carrier, or can claim a refund, Which? travel editor Rory Boland confirmed.
"Compensation [is] usually of £220 (€259) per person,” he wrote on Twitter.