British holidaymakers slam ‘disgusting’ hotels easyJet are putting them up in after axing flights – as travel experts warn airline’s last-minute cancellations will be ‘the first of many’ amid summer of travel chaos
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British holidaymakers have slammed easyJet for putting them up in ‘disgusting’ hotels after the airline cancelled their flights and left them ‘stranded’ abroad.
Some passengers were told their flight home was cancelled while they were waiting to take-off, leaving them dependent on easyJet to provide hotels, which they claim are not clean.
It comes as experts warn of a summer of travel chaos, with passengers told to expect further disruptions over the peak season as airlines are forced to ‘reduce their flying programme’ amid a series of strikes and air traffic control delays.
Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel consultancy The PC Agency, has warned that the weekend’s disruptions are only the ‘start of a bandwagon effect’, telling The Telegraph: ‘EasyJet will not be the only one, there will be others.’
A holidaymaker travelling to Liverpool from Cyprus last weekend was among the thousands displaced by easyJet’s last-minute cancellations.
Clare, posting about her journey on Twitter, slammed the airline over the ‘horrendous’ hotel she was placed in.
Moment furious passengers on EasyJet flight are ordered off plane while they wait for take-off: CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
She claims that she did not arrive at the hotel until 2am and that it was in poor condition.
‘I didn’t sleep a wink,’ she said. ‘With cockroaches, room was dirty, the bed was awful. This isn’t the way to treat paying customers.’
Her frustrations were echoed by holidaymaker Zoe Wright, whose flight home from Lanzarote was also cancelled.
She sarcastically ‘thanked’ easyJet for ‘cancelling our flight home’ and ‘checking us in to the most disgusting, dangerous hotel on the island at nearly midnight’.
Ms Wright added: ‘I’m having to sleep on the floor as the ceiling fan is hanging off and can’t be turned off without injury!’
While some passengers have been left stranded, others have expressed frustration over missing their holidays and being out thousands of pounds.
Mark Buntin, who was travelling from Belfast to Turkey, told MailOnline how he was forced to spend £350 on a taxi after his flight was disrupted.
He was meant to fly from Belfast to Dalaman, Turkey with a connection at London’s Luton airport.
But when he arrived at his home airport at 6am on Saturday, Mr Buntin claims staff informed him the route to Luton had been cancelled.
‘I had to get a flight to Bristol, then a taxi from Bristol to Luton – which is three hours away,’ he said. ‘The taxi which cost me £350! Not the start to the holiday I was expecting.’
Mr Buntin made it to Turkey, but says the service from easyJet since then has been ‘poor’ and worries his flight back to the UK will also be cancelled.
MailOnline has approached easyJet for comment.
EasyJet axed two per cent of its summer flight schedule, leaving the travel industry on high alert for disruption this summer.
The low-cost air carrier, which is the biggest airline in the UK by number of passengers, said yesterday that making changes now meant it could avoid last-minute cancellations which were more costly and caused passengers more inconvenience.
The airline said it had plenty of crew and pilots but worries over air traffic meant it had cancelled 1,700 flights, mostly from its biggest base at Gatwick airport, out of the 90,000 scheduled for the rest of July and August.
It said 95 per cent of affected passengers had already been re-booked on an alternative flight because it had mostly consolidated flights with multiple frequencies.
‘We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused,’ easyJet said in a statement yesterday.
Nicky Kelvin, Editor at Large at The Points Guy, told MailOnline that the easyJet cancellations will ‘play havoc for thousands of travellers this summer’.
‘These cancellations couldn’t come at a worse time – we’re at the beginning of peak summer holiday season and many families will be looking to jet away for their annual summer holiday,’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Charles has warned that more cancellations are likely to come, telling the Telegraph: ‘This is the start of a bandwagon effect, there will be others who have to cut back because they won’t be able to deliver the flying programme they anticipated at the start of the year.’
But easyJet’s cancellations ‘only represent a small percentage of the total summer departures’ and many travellers will depart for their holidays ‘as planned’, Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of The Advantage Travel Partnership, has noted.
She told MailOnline: ‘Disruption because of congested airspace is an issue facing the airline industry during this very busy period but it’s essential that airlines do all they can to ensure that there is as little disruption to travellers as possible and work to ensure that consumer confidence in the travel industry remains high.
‘Passengers whose flights are cancelled are entitled to travel on any other airline that has seats available on the original day of travel, at the expense of the airline that cancelled the flight. They are entitled to cash compensation if they aren’t rebooked onto a flight that arrives close to the original time.’
Addressing concern of further disruptions, the Association of British Travel Agents has reiterated that it is ‘always geared up for potential problems’ and is prepared to address them as they come.
Europe’s peak travel season last year was hit by cancellations, causing chaos at airports, because the industry did not have enough staff to handle the rapid bounce back in demand after the pandemic.
This summer, air traffic control issues are likely to be the weak spot, according to warnings from Eurocontrol, which manages European airspace.
Up to a third of all European flights are at risk of being delayed or cancelled during the peak holiday period if industrial action goes ahead.
A full strike may mean up to 12,600 flights a day are ‘at least delayed’ and hundreds of thousands over the whole summer would be in jeopardy.
A travel industry expert described it as potentially ‘the most damaging industrial action to hit the aviation industry for many years’.
Workers at Eurocontrol, which manages the congested European airspace, are threatening to walk out in a dispute over staffing problems.
Europe’s airspace has been squeezed by the war in Ukraine leaving less capacity for aircraft, plus staffing issues at some air control locations and industrial action are causing bottlenecks, making on the day cancellations more likely.
An industry source previously told The Times: ‘In a full-blown strike, 20 to 30 per cent of flights would be at least delayed. They are big numbers.’
The air traffic management body is expecting to handle about 33,000 flights a day for the next eight weeks, rising to more than 34,000 on Fridays in July and August.
Eurocontrol confirmed that one of the unions, Union Syndicate Brussels, has announced a ‘period of six months during which industrial action could take place’.
A statement said ‘no specific dates for industrial action had been announced’ and the union had given a ‘pre-warning’ only.
Under UK law, airlines must provide travellers with care and assistance if their flight is significantly delayed or cancelled.
The law requires that an airline provide passengers with accommodation – usually at a nearby hotel – if their flights is re-routed the next day, as well as transportation to and from the accommodation.
However, it does not appear that there is a requirement of what type of hotels airlines are required to place travellers at.
HOW TRAVELLERS CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES AMID SUMMER AIRLINE CHAOS
Nicky Kelvin, Editor at Large at The Points Guy, told MailOnline that the easyJet cancellations will play havoc for thousands of travellers this summer.
The airline has cancelled 1,700 flights from London Gatwick which has impacted around 180,000 people travelling to and from the airport this summer.
He has offered the following advice to summer holidaymakers:
WHAT TRAVELLERS SHOULD DO NOW
- Check your flight before travelling to make sure the airline hasn’t cancelled, postponed or rebooked you on an alternative flight. If your flight has been disrupted, check how this will impact the rest of your itinerary.
- Check social media platforms to see what current conditions at the airport are, such as if there are huge queues and how the situation is developing.
- If you’re booking travel from now, you may want to consider avoiding Gatwick and look at alternatives airport.
- Ensure you always have travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked a flight.
- Can you look at postponing your holiday to another time? Check the terms, conditions and restrictions on your booking.
WHAT HOLIDAYMAKERS SHOULD DO WHEN THEY TRAVEL
- Leave plenty of time to get through security, but be mindful that arriving too early could potentially cause excessive crowds in the terminal.
- Travellers should be prepared for delays even at priority security lanes.
- Passengers should try to be as efficient at security check points as possible. This includes being ready to remove laptops and other electrical items from bags and ensure you are only carrying liquids of 100ml or less.
- Ensure you always have travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked a flight.
- Try and travel with hand luggage only, as you will avoid further queues to check in and on arrival waiting for hold luggage.