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Holiday turmoil for travellers as EasyJet cancels thousands of flights

John Fitzsimons
Written By:
John Fitzsimons

EasyJet has cancelled around 1,700 flights which were due to take place between July and September, mostly from London Gatwick airport.

The budget airline said that it had little choice but to cancel the flights due to congested airspace across Europe, as well as issues with air traffic control.

A spokesperson for EasyJet said that the closure of Ukrainian airspace ‒ due to the ongoing war with Russia ‒ was causing congestion in airspace on the continent and disrupting flights.

They also blamed the threat of planned strikes by air traffic controllers over the coming months.

The spokesperson said: “We have therefore made some pre-emptive adjustments to our programme consolidating a small number of flights at Gatwick, where we have multiple daily frequencies, in order to help mitigate these external challenges on the day of travel for our customers.”

According to EasyJet, 95% of those impacted by the cancellations have been rebooked onto alternative flights, while all have been given the option of rebooking or getting a refund.

Reports suggest that as many as 9,000 passengers are still yet to be rebooked on new flights following the cancellations.

The cancelled flights come after a weekend of disruption for the airline, with dozens of flights scrapped. EasyJet has previously been accused of disregarding the rights of holidaymakers by Which?, and reported to the aviation authorities.

What are your rights when your flight is cancelled?

The cancellations will be a big concern for many holidaymakers, particularly given they cover one of the busiest periods of the year for holidays.

Analysis from Cirium has suggested that this July is likely to see the highest number of UK flight departures since October 2019, as travel continues to improve following the impacts of the pandemic.

However, given the issues faced by easyJet and other airlines it’s important to grasp where you stand should there be any issues with your flight.

If your flight is cancelled, then your airline must give you the choice between a refund and booking onto an alternative flight. While airlines may offer you a voucher for a future flight instead of a refund, there is no obligation to take this ‒ you can demand the cash instead.

There are then further rights in place based on how much notice you got for the cancellation. If you received less than 14 days’ notice then you are entitled to compensation, which can range in value from £110 to £520 depending on the level of notice.

If you are already in the airport when the flight is scrapped, then the airline is also required to provide you with “care and assistance”, which includes things like providing you with a reasonable amount of food and drink, refunding the cost of any calls you need to make, and covering any accommodation costs incurred as a result of the cancellation ahead of taking a later flight.

Should the airline fail to meet its obligations, then don’t just accept it ‒ take the matter to the Civil Aviation Authority, or an alternative dispute resolution provider if they are a member of such a scheme.