Ministers have announced last minute plans to help prevent summer travel chaos as holidaymakers continue to be caught up in airport mayhem.
Yesterday they announced plans to relax rules which currently force airlines to fly a certain number of planes or risk losing valuable landing slots.
New regulations were laid before Parliament aimed at helping carriers avoid making last-minute cancellations and causing mayhem in the airports.
They will allow a one-off ‘amnesty’ on landing slots, meaning airlines can pull flights from their schedules ahead of the peak summer season without the risk of losing them long-term.
Thousands of passengers have had their flights and travel plans disrupted after weeks of cancellations and huge queues due to staff shortages.
Holidaymakers have also been caught up in Heathrow’s luggage chaos this morning, with dozens of pieces of luggage being dumped by staff outside of the baggage carousels.
Travellers also batted huge check-in queues at Manchester Airport this morning, and complained that they had not received their bags for over two hours despite being the ‘only plane to land in T1’ during that time period.
Ministers have announced that they will be relaxing rules around plane landing slots in a bid to prevent summer travel chaos. Pictured: Dozens of passengers were forced to queue for hours at Manchester Airport this morning amid the ongoing airport mayhem
Passengers at Heathrow Airport witness luggage being dumped int he terminals next to the baggage carousels. It comes just days after the airports Terminal 2 luggage system suffered a failure and left bags to pile up
New regulations were laid before Parliament aimed at helping carriers avoid making last-minute cancellations and causing mayhem in the airports. Airlines will no longer have to fulfil a certain number of flights in order to retain a spot
One traveller said: ‘At Heathrow terminal 3 for 2 hours now in the same immigration line.
‘Two officers managing 500+ passengers.. absolute madness.’
It comes after thousands of passengers were left without their luggage after the baggage system in Terminal 2 faced a ‘technical issue’ on Saturday.
Hundreds of bags were heaped in piles across the terminal without and staff around to sort through them.
Passengers reportedly waited hours for their bags while some had to leave without getting them back at all.
One posted online: ‘I flew from Heathrow Airport on Sunday morning to Lisbon and still have no bag here.
‘Absolute mess. Even if it arrives (unlikely) I really don’t want to check it in for the return journey!’
Passengers travelling from Stansted Airport have been forced to sleep on the floor, before staff ‘scream’ at them to get up.
One traveller said: ‘Complete chaos in Stansted Airport every single night.
‘People sleeping all over the check arrivals gate missing flights and being stranded without bags or any taxis to go home.
‘Airport workers screaming at people to get up. Horrible situation and horrible third world country.’
Thousands of flights have been cancelled by British Airways, easyJet, TUI and Wizz Air, with some being axed at the last-minute, leaving thousands of passengers in the lurch and creating carnage at airports.
Holidaymakers at Stansted Airport have been forced to sleep on the floor overnight after missing flights because of huge check-in queues. Passengers also claim that airport staff ‘scream’ at them to move despite being stranded
Passengers at Heathrow Terminal 3 also complained of being in immigration queues for up to two hours today as they tried to board their flights
Passengers at Manchester Airport were left waiting for hours in the busy check-in desks. Further airport chaos is expected after easyJet announced a further 100,000 cancellations
On Monday easyJet announced it would be axing more than 10,000 flights from its July-September schedule after coming under fire from thousands of customers who suffered last-minute cancellations.
Passengers ‘left without food or water for 11 hours’ after Jet2 flight back from Palma was scrapped
Two women say they were left without food or water for 11 hours while stranded in Palma after their Jet2 flight back to Manchester was scrapped.
Nyomi Loftus, of Sale, and her friend Megan Sainsbury were due to fly home from Palma Airport on Saturday – and arrived early for their Jet2 flight at 11.25pm.
However the flight was delayed and they eventually got an update at 3.50am which revealed a mix-up with baggage led to Jet2 ‘missing their slot to fly’.
Ms Loftus, 36, said 70 bottles of water were then shared around 380 passengers before arrangements for hotels were made.
She told the Manchester Evening News: ‘The worst part was that they called out the names of 30 or 40 passengers and told them to go to a special spot so we could go to an adult-only hotel. We had to pay for the hotel; families with babies were lying on the floor.
‘The hotel ended up being a family hotel anyway – they could have gone. We were told there was a mix-up with the baggage and they had miscounted. They had to unload it off one plane before moving it and then they lost the slot to fly as the staff needed a rest. No one could get any detail from anyone.’
She added: ‘There was a little girl sat near us in the airport who was being sick because she was crying so much. People were just walking around trying to find out what was going on. It was left it absolute uproar – it was a bit of a disaster.’
Miss Loftus and Miss Sainsbury had to pay for a taxi to their hotel 40 minutes away from the airport, costing €65. The pair were eventually flown home nearly 24 hours later and said the first food and drink was given at the hotel at 7.30am – eight hours after the flight was due to depart and 11 hours after they arrived at the airport.
A Jet2 spokesman said: ‘We would like to apologise once again to customers affected by this delay. Our teams have worked tirelessly to look after everyone, however unfortunately there was a shortage of accommodation in Majorca yesterday evening. We advised customers immediately via text that we would reimburse anyone that needed to book hotels separately and we have done everything we can to look after everyone. All remaining customers are being flown home this evening.’
Announcing the landing slots move last night, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘It’s crucial they don’t face disappointing last-minute cancellations and chaos at airports when the system can’t deliver, and I will do everything in my power to stop that.
‘Today’s announcement aims to help airlines provide certainty to passengers and ensure the next few months are as smooth as possible.’
Aviation minister Robert Courts added: ‘We cannot have a situation where passengers arrive at the airport just to have their flight cancelled or face long delays.’
Landing slots are like parking spaces for planes and are used to manage capacity at the busiest airports.
A slot gives permission to use the full range of airport infrastructure necessary to operate an aircraft and are highly valuable commercial assets.
Airlines must use slots a certain amount of times – currently 70 per cent of the time – each season in order to keep them.
Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, said: ‘This is a welcome step which will help build greater resilience into operations this summer, coming on top of measures already taken by the sector.
‘We will continue to work with ministers and the whole aviation eco-system to ensure the summer peak runs as smoothly as possible for our passengers.’
Passengers across Britain have been warned that they should brace for a ‘less than satisfactory’ experience while travelling in the next few months.
Ryanair’s boss yesterday warned that chaos at Britain’s big airports will continue ‘right throughout the summer’ amid scenes of mayhem at Manchester and Heathrow.
Michael O’Leary has claimed that the Government’s Covid lockdowns and general ‘mismanagement’ forced airport chiefs to impose mass layoffs which caused the staffing shortages now plaguing air traffic control, baggage handling and security.
‘This problem is going to continue particularly at airports like Gatwick and Heathrow right throughout the summer. It will be worse at weekends and better during the week,’ he told Sky News.
Mr O’Leary said that 25 per cent of Ryanair flights last weekend were delayed by air traffic control issues, and a further 15 per cent by airports handling delays.
He added that Brexit was compounding the disruption caused as demand ramps up after pandemic restrictions were lifted, with airports unable to hire workers from abroad to fill posts.
Heathrow and Gatwick have urged airlines to cancel thousands of flights this summer as they fight to regain control, while easyJet started axing 10,000 flights to European holiday hotspots including Greece, Italy and Spain from July through to September.
In another blow to travellers, easyJet’s Spain-based cabin crew will go on strike for nine days in July if their demands for higher pay from the budget airline are not met.
Workers will walk out on July 1-3, 15-17, and 29-31, potentially adding to travel woes as the sector struggles to cope with rebounding demand.
The airline’s flight attendants in Spain are demanding a 40 per cent increase in their basic salaries, according to union USO.
Transport Minister Grant Schapps said it was ‘crucial’ that holidaymakers are not left stranded when the systems can’t deliver. He pledged to do everything he could to help stop the chaos ahead of summer travels
Ryanair’s boss yesterday warned that chaos at Britain’s big airports will continue ‘right throughout the summer’ amid scenes of mayhem at Manchester and Heathrow
The announcement comes as passengers continue to face chaos at UK airports, as understaffed airports struggle to cope.
EasyJet has announced it would be cutting an estimated 11,000 flights from its summer schedules, which analysts think will cost the company between £100 million and £200 million this year.
It comes after the former boss of British Airways said Heathrow is ‘not capable of delivering the basic product they are due to deliver’.
Willie Walsh said of Heathrow, Schiphol in Amsterdam and Dublin: ‘It is interesting that the three airports I mention in terms of significant charging increases are also the three that have experienced the most disruption in recent weeks.
‘It really does lead you to question the management executives of these airports that are not even capable of delivering the basic product they produce. I will continue to call on these airports to get their acts in order.’