Here's How Much Longer This Air Travel Chaos Is Set To Last

Gatwick is capping the number of flights it will process in August, leading to further cancellations.
Many flights are being cancelled.
Steve Parsons via PA Wire/PA Images
Many flights are being cancelled.

Have you had a trip booked in the past few weeks? Or perhaps you’ve got an upcoming one? Well, then you know all about the travel chaos going on right now.

A combination of increased post-lockdown demand and staff shortages have left airports around the country in chaos.

The aviation industry is struggling to cope with the rise in demand for travel and being forced to cancel thousands of flights.

And unfortunately, the chaos doesn’t look set to calm any time soon.

What is the current situation with flights?

Travel consultancy the PC Agency estimated that at least 15,000 passengers were affected by “last-minute changes” to flights during the hectic half-term holidays.

And now, the chaos is likely to follow into the summer as the Department for Transport (DfT) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have advises airlines to cap and cancel flights to deal with the lack of staff and increase in demand.

Gatwick is reducing the amount of flights it will process during the peak summer periods due to a shortage of staff. This means that the number of outgoing flights will be capped to 825 in August, down from 900 in previous years.

EasyJet, is also said to be cancelling around 60 flights a day, the majority from Gatwick airport. Wizz Airlines has also seen some cancellations.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, British Airways said it was axing flights – including domestic – impacting 130 short-haul trips to and from Heathrow

So can we expect travel chaos all summer?

According to Nicky Kelvin, head of the travel site Points Guy UK, the disorderliness will continue.

He tells HuffPost UK: “There is a very high chance that chaos at airports will continue into the summer as the travel industry continues to try and cope with the massive surge in demand coupled with a shortage of staff and other issues.

“Some airlines will be scaling back the tickets on offer and many seats are already sold out, however, there is still a chance of having a summer holiday.”

Should you still go ahead and book flights?

“The most important thing to remember, if you haven’t already booked flights, is that all bookings should be as fully flexible and refundable as possible to allow for a change in plans,” Kelvin advises travellers.

Practise caution and look carefully into booking and insurance policies, he adds.

“It’s worth researching airlines and destinations that have been less affected by the current problems. However, this may change as we move through the coming weeks. It’s unlikely that we’ll see perfect efficiency in the summer months, although with more and more staff hired, there is a good chance that by the time the school holidays roll around the industry will be better prepared.”

And for those who are still planning to fly, there are some things you can do.

Be prepared for disruptions and do all that you can to mitigate delays by arriving at the airport early, paying for priority security lanes if available and keeping a very close eye on flight changes and cancellations to avoid travelling to the airport for a flight that has already been cancelled.