Passengers on Thursday, June 30, 2022, complained of queues and “total chaos” at Heathrow after the airport asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the day’s schedule.
The UK’s largest airport asked airlines to cut the flights because it was expecting more passenger numbers than it can currently cope with. Some passengers did not know that their flights were cancelled until they arrived at the airport. But Heathrow said the cancellations were necessary for safety.
Travel writer and broadcaster, Andy Mossack tweeted that there is “total chaos” and “zero customer service” at the airport on Thursday (June 30, 2022) morning. Another passenger, also tweeted that terminal 5 is a “disgraceful shambles” after he arrived on Thursday (June 30, 2022) morning to find his flight cancelled.
Passenger Address (PA) reported that one passenger, Andrew Douglas, said he spent four hours in queues to find out at check-in that his flight was cancelled with no prior notifications. Other travellers complained of poor customer service and a lack of help when trying to rebook their flights.
Response from Airline Operators
A Heathrow Spokesman said “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away, and we apologise for the impact this has on travel plans”.
“We are working hard to ensure everyone has a smooth journey through Heathrow this summer, and the most important thing is to make sure that all service providers at the airport have enough resources to meet demand.”A Heathrow spokesman
A Spokesman from British Airways, one of the airlines affected, said “As a result of Heathrow’s requirement for all airlines to reduce their schedules, we’ve made a small number of cancellations”. The airline said it is in contact with affected customers to “apologise, advise them of their consumer rights and offer them alternative options, including a refund or rebooking”.
Virgin Atlantic said one of their Heathrow to New York return services was cut in each direction, while Air France, KLM, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Brussels Airlines and Air Canada have also been affected.
Meanwhile, the government is calling on the industry to run “realistic” summer schedules and alert passengers to any flight changes as “early as possible” to minimise disruption for passengers. Additionally, it is introducing a measure to give airlines a short window to hand back plane parking slots for the rest of the summer season to better manage capacity at the busiest airports.
Earlier this month, around 5,000 people were hit by Heathrow cancellations because of technical issues affecting baggage. Before that, tens of thousands of passengers were affected by disruption at UK airports and flight cancellations during the week of the Platinum Jubilee and half-term holidays. The disruption was caused by several factors, but staff shortages left the aviation industry struggling to cope with resurgent demand.