Jubilee crowds…and that’s just at the airports: Aviation industry under fire from all sides!
Chalkmarks: Station crowds

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 3rd June 2022

Bunting or no bunting, we’re in the middle of the Jubilee four-day bank holiday. There’s a whole lotta travel trouble brewing at the airports. Every part of the Kingdom is affected so brace yourself if you’re catching a flight this weekend.
We are heading to Stansted so wish us luck. We’re going to channel our inner Queen and calm down and carry on. It’s going to be a long day but our trip to Iceland is going to be one to remember.
Here’s this week’s travel news. Some things are worth reading! 

Get your Jubilee on!

Airport watch: The “bloody chaos” at airports has been making front page news all week. Bristol Airport was a “zoo”, there’s been passengers sleeping on the floor, 17-hour waits at Birmingham and a plane that took off empty. It’s all bad news. Some said the chaos was media hype, others told their stories of being stranded overseas and their flights being cancellations or delayed. As travellers complained, the responses came via Twitter. The problems aren’t just in the UK but across Europe and around the world.

Front page news: On Thursday The Telegraph ran with “Just take one bag abroad to avoid delays, holidaymakers are told”. On Wednesday the Daily Express had “You spent £8bn of our money ‘what’s gone wrong?’”. The Independent said “Half-term travel misery for thousands”. And The Times said: “Cut red tape to help us clear travel backlog, say aviation bosses”. On Tuesday the Daily Mirror went with “Summer of chaos – fears airport queues crisis is here to stay for months”.

Warning: The chaos is expected to go on into the summer but we expect it will calm down once the school holidays end – and start up again during the summer. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told travel firms not to overbook holidays.

Bristol Airport: They announced they were expecting 300,000 passengers during the four-day bank holiday – and that 80 per cent of customers had experienced queues of less that 20 minutes. They advised passengers not to arrive too early which causes the congestion. They didn’t mention the other 20 per cent or a family on their first holiday in three years whose trip to Egypt was cancelled. The BBC had the story. 

Manchester Airport: It was here where they saw some of the worst disruption. Sky News shared the moment police arrived to tell passengers their Tui holidays were cancelled. The airport’s message to travellers was that Tui and its ground handler Swissport had experienced “significant challenges” with check-in and baggage reclaim. They advised passengers to arrive three hours before their flight.

Birmingham Airport: They told passengers to ensure they arrived on time as they were expecting a busy weekend. The BBC spoke to a family that waited 17-hours to board their flight to Greece.

Gatwick Airport: Here passengers were told to arrive in “plenty of time” before take-off. The Guardian ran a story about a Vueling flight to Florence which took off empty, as the passengers waited in the terminal.

Heathrow Airport: The UK’s busiest airport told travellers to arrive three hours before their flights whether that was to Europe or long-haul. The airport saw big queues at Terminal 2 this week when the escalators broke down which meant passengers had to squish into lifts to reach check-in. ITV News reported that one man had said, “it’s chaos”, which prompted the response: “Try working here”.

Edinburgh Airport: According to the Daily Record queues at Scotland’s busiest airport were caused when “an airline handling agent opened up a number of flights at the same time for check-in this morning instead of staggering them and that resulted in a build-up of people.” The airport acknowledged there were queues and would “get people through quickly”.

Glasgow Airport: The queues snaked into the car park. The Scotsman reported one passenger said his flight to London was half empty because he suspected people were stuck in the queues. Speaking to the BBC an airport spokesperson said: “This morning’s average queue time at security was longer than usual, however, passengers moved through at a steady pace to reach their flights.”

Cancellations: According to aviation data firm Cirium, 10,000 flights were expected to depart between Thursday and Sunday – that’s three-times as many as 2021 – but already hundreds have been cancelled due to staff shortages.

British Airways: On Wednesday BA cancelled 124-short haul flights from Heathrow. LBC had the latest news. Simple Flying also reported that BA staff were considering striking this summer. The union claimed management had refused to reverse a 10 per cent pay cut imposed during the lockdown. BA said a 10 per cent pay rise had been rejected. Any strike would affect check-in staff at Heathrow.

easyJet: On Thursday Simon Calder reported that easyJet had cancelled 36 UK and European flights from Gatwick. The airline replied in a tweet to one passenger they were “truly disheartened” and cancelling a flight was always “a last resort”.

Tui: The German holiday company has cancelled nearly 200 flights from Manchester Airport between now and the end of June. The Manchester Evening News told how one family waited for two days in the terminal for their flight to Greece only to be told they’d been selected to be removed. Replying to another family who had their flight cancelled, Tui apologised on twitter for “the disruption to some of our flights and the impact caused by the difficult decision to cancel some flights.”

Need some good advice: Why didn’t the airlines and airports prepare for the busy weekend and what’s being done? The FT reported that the government blamed the travel industry for staff shortages. The Daily Mail questioned why holiday firms were still selling cut-price flights and Which? explained how passengers can claim compensation.

Elsewhere….

Ice to see you: Iceland is back but not just back, it’s opening up a new region, with a new geothermal spa, the Forrest Lagoon, courtesy of a brand new airline Niceair. If you’ve been to the land of ice and fire before and are ready for another adventure here it is in Akureyri, the Capital of the North. The first Stansted flight leaves today (Friday 3rd June) and we’re on it!. Return tickets start from £270. Here’s a sneak peak of what to expect!

Jubilee timetable: If you’re joining in with the celebrations, a momentous day one is done, so here is what to expect for the rest of the bank holiday in London. Today – Friday 3rd – is a thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral and royal reception at Guildhall. Tomorrow – Saturday 4th – is Derby Day at Epsom followed by the BBC’s Platinum Party at the Palace concert with a line up including Queen + Adam Lambert, Diana Ross and Duran Duran. On Sunday 5th expect street parties across the nation with celebrations ending in London with the Jubilee Pageant which includes a carnival, plenty of celebs and Ed Sheeran singing the national anthem in front of Buckingham Palace.

UK City of Culture: Live on the BBC The One Show Bradford was named the 2025 City of Culture. The four cities shortlisted by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport included DurhamSouthampton and Wrexham. From Charlotte Brontë to Zayn Malik, the Guardian gave us 10 reasons to visit the rolling hills of this west Yorkshire city.

Everyone…hip hip hooray!

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