Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Thousands of flights cancelled across Europe amid major summer travel warnings

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PASSENGERS have been warned about a huge increase in the number of flight cancellations this summer – with more disruption expected.

The number of trips grounded by airlines has almost doubled already and strikes and Air Traffic Control (ATC) staffing problems could be set to make things worse.

Flight cancellations in Europe have doubled over the last monthCredit: Getty
A total of 8,145 flights were grounded throughout Europe in JuneCredit: Getty
British Airways is under pressure to reduce its number of cancellationsCredit: PA

Figures released by aviation analytics company Cirium shows instances of flights being cancelled in Europe rose 46 per cent in June, when compared with the previous month.

That equalled a total of 8,145 cancelled flights altogether, across all European airports.

This increase is a significant one at the start of the summer holidays and will no doubt have travellers worried about their trips abroad, with most schools yet to break up.

The news comes amid similarly poor stats for British Airways, which is under pressure to make improvements due to a higher-than-average cancellations rate across the past year.

Read More on Travel Problems

The British flag carrier has grounded 4,033 flights from UK airports over the last 12 months, again according to Cirium – a figure the Financial Times says is almost twice as high as easyJet‘s for the same period.

The paper claims that BA is “under pressure to improve its operations” with the summer travel rush starting to begin this month.

However, it’s been accused of cutting costs by aviation experts, who claim it is no longer the reliable airline it once was.

Chris Tarry, an aviation industry consultant told the FT: “BA is still suffering from years of cost cutting,

“In my view BA still has a long way to go, and once you lose a customer it takes a long time to win them back.”

A second aviation consultant, and former BA executive, John Strickland added: “Undoubtedly the operation is BA’s Achilles heel. They are a premium airline and historically it was an airline which had exemplary reliability.”

Flight cancelled or delayed? Top tips for handling travel disruptions

He suggests that BA should be aiming to cancel fewer than 1 per cent of its flights.

Currently, the airline is exceeding that, with 2.3 per cent of its flights from the UK grounded over the last year.

It’s also exceeding the industry average of 1.4 per cent.

Sun Travel has contacted British Airways for comment.

Flight compensation rules

What are my rights if my flight is cancelled or delayed?

Under UK law, airlines have to provide compensation if your flight arrives at its destination more than three hours late.

If you’re flying to or from the UK, your airline must let you choose a refund or an alternative flight.

You will be able to get your money back for the part of your ticket that you haven’t used yet.

So if you booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket refunded.

But if travelling is essential, then your airline has to find you an alternative flight. This could even be with another airline.

When am I not entitled to compensation?

The airline doesn’t have to give you a refund if the flight was cancelled due to reasons beyond their control, such as extreme weather.

Disruptions caused by things like extreme weather, airport or air traffic control employee strikes or other ‘extraordinary circumstances’ are not eligible for compensation.

Some airlines may stretch the definition of the “extraordinary circumstances” but you can challenge them through the aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Will my insurance cover me if my flight is cancelled?

If you can’t claim compensation directly through the airline, your travel insurance may refund you.

Policies vary so you should check the small print, but a delay of eight to 12 hours will normally mean you qualify for some money from your insurer.

Remember to get written confirmation of your delay from the airport as your insurer will need proof.

If your flight is cancelled entirely, you’re unlikely to be covered by your insurance.

The worrying statistics come amid warnings for passengers this summer, with The Sun’s head of travel, Lisa Minot, warning that a “perfect storm of major problems” will cause more disruption.

That includes ATC staffing issues, as well as restricted airspace due to conflicts in both Ukraine and the Middle East.

The ATC problems have already affected both British Airways and easyJet, who were forced to cancel more than 60 flights at the weekend, with bad weather also blamed.

Meanwhile, strikes in Paris, Italy, Glasgow and Aberdeen are also due to create more problems.

However, strike action schedule to take place at London Gatwick this month has now been called off after staff members received an increased pay offer.

Meanwhile, passengers have also been warned about passport problems that could also affect travel this summer.

And this travel expert revealed their eight golden rules to avoid stress and save money.

Passengers have been warned about travel problems coming this summerCredit: Getty

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