Girl, six, cries from ‘exhaustion’ stuck in Cyprus after Tui cancelled her family’s flights twice

Girl, six, cries from ‘exhaustion’ stuck in Cyprus after Tui cancelled her family’s flights twice

Soccer News

Have you been hit by travel delays today, or do you know a staff member who has quit?

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The aviation industry has been slammed by the government for the chaotic scenes seen at UK airports over the past few days as experts warned queues and cancellations are only going to get worse in the coming days and weeks.

This Thursday, 2,700 outbound flights are scheduled at UK airports, and Friday will see even higher figures with another 2,800 jetting off. Based on average figures of passenger numbers per flight, this would mean Friday will see 500,000 people in airports at the beginning of the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

It comes as a six-year-old girl was left in tears from ‘exhaustion’ after she and her family were stranded on their half-term holiday in Cyprus after TUI cancelled their flights twice – as a travel expert warns the travel chaos in UK airports is only set to get worse.

Glenda Powell, 40, from Bristol, took to social media on Sunday night where she shared an image of her ‘exhausted’ six-year-old daughter, Freya, crying because she is unable to return to the UK.

She wrote: ‘Second attempt to get home… So our Manchester flight is cancelled…. Literally got off the coach at the airport to be turned straight back round to go back to the same hotel/room.

‘Absolute joke… TUI this is the face of a six-year-old who is exhausted from travelling to an airport at 10pm and just wants to go home we were supposed to get on our flight 24 hours ago.’

British Airways and easyJet have both been removing thousands of flights from schedules in recent months at Gatwick and Heathrow airports amid staff shortages.

The airlines say most travellers have been given at least a few weeks’ notice, although the situation this week has been compounded by an IT glitch affecting easyJet.

There are also issues recruiting for roles such as security staff, ground handlers and check-in staff which is seeing passengers advised to arrive much earlier than normal for their flights because they are facing long queues.

While many businesses in the aviation sector are struggling to rehire staff after many were let go during the pandemic due to a collapse in demand thanks to successive lockdowns, high levels of staff sickness for those who are still employed is also having an impact.

And now, a government source has directly blamed the industry itself for the mess seen at UK airports in recent days, describing it as ‘completely unacceptable’.

The source told The Times: ‘The simple fact is that airlines and airports overcut staff during the pandemic, ignoring the fact that the billions of pounds of aid — including furlough — handed out by the government was meant to protect those very jobs.

‘Operators are now struggling to meet increasingly busy schedules as we move towards the first Covid-free summer since 2019 — a wholly foreseeable surge in bookings that should have been adequately prepared for.

‘The responsibility for maintaining adequate staffing levels lies with the airlines and airports themselves. Not only are they causing huge frustration to their customers, they are missing out on the benefits of the strong recovery in foreign travel.’

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline that the issue is not for the government to step in on: ‘It’s for travel firms themselves to get themselves in order.

‘It might mean sadly diverting money due to go into investment, or earmarked for new aircraft or into better check-in facilities to instead go towards hiring more staff. They’ve got some tough decisions to make.’

A six-year-old girl was left in tears from ‘exhaustion’ after she and her family were stranded on their half-term holiday in Cyprus after TUI cancelled their flights twice – as a travel expert warns the travel chaos in UK airports is only set to get worse. Glenda Powell, 40, from Bristol, took to social media on Sunday night where she shared an image of her ‘exhausted’ six-year-old daughter, Freya, crying (pictured) because she is unable to return to the UK

Airports from Bristol to Manchester have reported huge queues as half-term travel hell began early on Monday, with the aviation industry continuing to buckle under a surge in demand and last-minute bookings. Pictured: Hell at Heathrow Airport on Monday

Pictured: People queuing at Manchester Airport, as Tui has announced a ‘small number’ of flight cancellations and delays in a blow to travel plans at the start of the half-term break

Pictured: Stansted. Passengers sleeping at the airport overnight due to flight cancelations and excessive delays during the half term weekend in to travel hell for many passengers hoping for a first holiday in two years

He added that that the busiest day of the year for the aviation industry is on Monday 6 June, with 2,864 departures and the same number of inbound flights scheduled. This will be the the highest number of flights since 2019, before the Covid pandemic.

Yet more havoc looms as BA staff threaten to strike

By David Churchill Transport Editor 

British Airways customers were yesterday warned they face a summer of chaos as hundreds of staff threaten to strike.

Two unions representing check-in staff – GMB and Unite – are balloting members in a row over pay.

Staff at Heathrow Airport took a 10 per cent pay cut during the pandemic and are demanding their full salaries are reinstated. Without any check-in staff, most flights will likely be grounded.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘British Airways used the cover of Covid to brutally cut members’ pay. BA has now reversed the pay cuts imposed on management but refuses to do this for our members. This is disgraceful.

‘Unite will not allow our members to be treated as a second-class workforce.’

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: ‘BA forced our members into pay cuts during the pandemic. It is their time to claim back what is theirs.’ Strikes could begin by July and continue into August.

BA said the majority of staff accepted a ‘generous’ one-off lump sum equivalent to 10 per cent of their salary. But check-in staff rejected this because it meant taking a long-term pay cut.

‘Sadly, I think it will get worse because were reaching its peak in a few days,’ Mr Charles told MailOnline. ‘Monday 6 June scheduled to be the busiest day since 2019, with 2,864 departures from the UK, and the same number of inbound flights – it will be the busiest day since before the pandemic.’

Transport workers trade union Unite also blamed the aviation chiefs for their mass-sackings during the Covid-19 pandemic, describing the airport chaos as a ‘crisis of their own making’.

The general secretary at Unite, Sharon Graham, told The Mirror that the chaos is to ‘last the entire summer season’: ‘During the pandemic, when airline operators and others in aviation slashed jobs to boost corporate profits, we warned this corporate greed would cause chaos in the industry.

‘The aftermath of mass sackings is now chronic staff shortages across the board. Aviation chiefs need to come clean with the public. This is a crisis of their making.

‘We are determined that workers will not pay for this crisis. Current pay and conditions in the industry are so poor that workers are voting with their feet. It can only be resolved by offering higher wages and better working conditions for staff. Unite is utterly determined to fight for that.’

Rory Boland, the travel editor of consumer group Which? said that the government must intervene to make sure airlines stop selling flights ‘they can’t actually provide’.

He told The Times: ‘We’re already seeing very long queues, widespread chaos at airports, huge stress for people planning to get away, and we haven’t hit the peak yet.

‘Airports and airlines have known this recovery was coming for a period of time now. We’re continuing to see things get worse, not better.’ 

The national secretary of GMB union representing aviation workers, Andy Prendergast, told the newspaper: ‘Cutting skilled workers’ jobs — a practice that we saw repeated across the sector during Covid — that cannot be replaced overnight was short-sighted. To solve the problem, airports and operators need to offer fair wages and plan for peaks in demand.’

Another family was left devastated after their first holiday since the Covid pandemic was cancelled by TUI as they waited to board their flight. Anna Saunders, pictured with her husband Matthew, and kids Eva and Jack

Anna Saunders, 41, had booked a week’s getaway in Cyprus with her husband Matthew, 44, and two kids from Stansted Airport on Saturday. But holiday firm TUI sent a crushing text message after delaying the flight saying the family’s entire trip – costing £5,200 – was cancelled for ‘operational reasons’

Anna said her kids Eva and Jack (pictured), aged 13 and 10, were ‘heartbroken’ as they lost out on what would have been the family’s first holiday since the Covid pandemic. Instead, they are staying in a friend’s caravan in Cromer, Norfolk this half-term

As the aviation industry continues to battle with a tight labour market that has more vacancies than job-seekers, airlines have not been able to recruit staff quickly enough after most foreign travel has been reopened over the last year – with the removal in restrictions both in the UK and abroad in recent months causing even greater demand.

The Unite union said there are ‘chronic staff shortages across the board’, and that ‘current pay and conditions in the industry are so poor that workers are voting with their feet’, adding: ‘It can only be resolved by offering higher wages and better working conditions for staff.’

Union officials added that many airport staff are being asked to work extra hours, and ‘relying on staff overtime to run the business can’t be a long-term solution’.

The situation is also not expected to improve any time soon – with the European Travel Commission saying air travel within Europe is set to recover to pre-pandemic levels this summer, although visitors from outside the region will likely be down 30 per cent from 2019.

2 hours waiting to collect our keys and car at #bristolairport Parking. Over 200 people waiting, peoples keys and/or cars lost! No updates, no order, buses kept arriving and people left clueless!! Sat outside in the cold and rain with my 9 month old baby.. PAY YOUR STAFF PROPERLY pic.twitter.com/dBzjfYvKGE

— Ruuuu 💙 (@Ruberrrrr) May 30, 2022

Paul Charles, aviation industry expert, told MailOnline: ‘There’s going to be extraordinary pressure on processes at airports on getting flights away on time and on schedule and its going to need as many staff on duty as possible, but you know, despite the fact that the vast majority of flights will go out on time there’s still going to be long queues at times an there may well be some last minute cancellations continuing. 

‘The reality is that there’s still not enough people employed to cope with the huge demand to travel. It’s the struggle to get enough workers trained up in time to deal with the demand. I’m afraid there will still be some issues, but at least the vast majority will get away.’

Travel expert tips to combat flight chaos

Travel expert Paul Charles told MailOnline his best advice to those who are set to board a flight in the next few weeks.

He says that a key thing to remember is that passengers can be called to the front of the queue if they are up against it for time.

‘The best advice is still to check in two-and-a-half hours before, but crucially pack as little as possible in your hand luggage.

‘The less there is to process, the faster your journey through security channels.

‘The queues would not be so long if they were taking less on board with them.

‘Pack in as much as you can to your check in luggage and as little in your hand luggage. The key is to get through security as possible, if everyone packs less, the queues will be less.’

He added that after Monday 6 June, the next busiest period is expected to be the last week of July: ‘I would hope that airlines and airports would have recruited enough by then but I’m afraid there is still a number of challenges.

‘The first is to find enough people who want to work in the sector. Secondly to get them trained in time, and third to ensure the government have processed their security passes in time. You need all of those three to ensure it will be a smoother summer period. 

‘There is a window of opportunity now for airlines and airports to ensure they’re recruiting enough people between 6 of June and end of July.

‘One of the problems is that pay rates are not seen as high enough – that needs addressing – because potential employees may be attracted to other sectors.

‘There is already a dearth of workers the industry relied upon from Europe, who decided to stay in Europe because of the pandemic. They don’t need to come to the UK. That’s a real challenge for the sector as a whole. 

‘Finding enough talent is going to continue to be a real challenge and I think now more than ever the industry needs to be running marketing and ad campaigns how attractive it is to work in aviation.

‘They need to show people the industry opportunities and why it’s great to be a part of the aviation world.

‘The procedure needs to be as electronic as possible. The big problemis airlines have to check you’ve had your big US travel test – need to see US government pre-departure test department. That would help enormously. 

‘Some difficult days lie ahead, the next few days imply, because it’s difficult to see where staff are coming from to fill the gap caused by staff shortages.

‘Sadly there will be some missed flights or last minute cancellations due to the very nature of it being such a busy period. But it will get better after this weekend, simply because there will be less people flying for the rest of June. Anyone flying needs to be patient, needs to be as prepared as possible and obviously hope that it will all go smoothly.

‘The vast majority of flights are going, the vast majority of passengers are gong through on time – but sadly there will be some disappointment.’  

In comparison to June 2019, this month’s number of flights to particular spots in Europe are reflecting the delay in relaxing Covid restrictions for the unvaccinated, said travel expert Paul Charles. 

Kim McManus, 40, from Widnes, Halton, Cheshire, was due to fly out to Turkey on Friday for her daughter’s first ever holiday abroad when their flight as they stood in the queue for the plane. They were told it was due to overbooking. Less than an hour later, the mum-of-one received a text from the travel company, TUI, saying that their whole package holiday had also been cancelled. Her daughter, Autumn, is pictured left before the news, and right, upset after cancellation

The top destinations for June are Turkey, which has seen the number of flights rise by 34 per cent compared to June 2019, Greece, up 24 per cent and Morocco, up 13 per cent.

Spain has seen a fall in numbers and is down 8 per cent on flights outbound from the UK, the US is down 15 per cent, Italy down 17 per cent, France, 25 per cent, and the United Arab Emirates down 31 per cent. ‘Those countries that don’t ease restrictions will see holidaymakers choose to go to places with easier access,’ Paul Charles added.

Travel expert and broadcaster Simon Calder told MailOnline that he fears of another weekend of ‘shambles’ with the Jubilee celebrations fast approaching: ‘What we have learnt from all the travel disruption is that predictably enough, it happens when demand is strongest which is during school holidays.

‘I fear that the coming weekend could be another shambles, but after that there will be a bit of a breather for the travel industry for the rest of June.

‘It remains to be seen if the travel industry can get its act together or whether the government will start knocking heads together rather than obsessing about its own future.

‘There is a huge structural problem born of the shambolic travel restrictions that crushed what was previously the worlds best aviation industry. a year ago, we were just emerging rom a 19 week ban on all overseas leisure travel, so it’s no surprise that 12 months on the industry is still in a mess, with problems exacerbated by Brexit, and the loss of many great European workers.

‘However, travel is the industry of human happiness, it runs on optimism and I’m looking forward to the vast majority of holidaymakers having a great summer. 

‘It’s going to be another horrible weekend I fear, and then we will see if the industry can sort out its many  deep rooted problems in 4 weeks before the July rush begins.’

Mrs Powell, who is stuck with her family in Paphos Airport, said: ‘There’s been a lot of coverage about those having holidays cancelled but not much about not being able to get home’.

The family are currently waiting in Paphos airport and have said by the time they arrive home ‘if it all goes well, we’ll be over 48 hours late’.

Glenda and her husband Stephen Powell, 46, were due to travel back to Bristol Airport from Paphos, Cyprus, with their two young children over the weekend.

However, the family have been forced to stay in a hotel after learning their flights home had been cancelled – twice.

The Powell family are now at Paphos airport, waiting for a flight home back to Manchester airport – but say they won’t be ‘convinced of getting home tonight until the landing gear goes up and we’re in the air’.

The Avon and Somerset police officers told local reports that the situation is an ‘absolute joke’ and ‘TUI won’t even get us all-inclusive despite their utter failure to get us home’.

The couple, who both serve as police officers, said they were lucky to have missed problems at Bristol Airport when they flew out on May 21.

Bosses at Bristol airport said its queues were being caused by people turning up five hours early to check in.

But passengers hit back and said the ‘morning rush hour’ – departures before 8am – was simply more than staff could cope with. One father, who booked with airline Vueling, claimed his teenage son had to fly ahead of him due to the flight being overbooked.

Pandemonium pictured at Manchester Airport as travellers wait four hours to get through the baggage checks with only one employee reported to be ‘sorting out’ the delays

Passengers pictured laying on the floor of Stansted Airport overnight due to flight cancellations and excessive delays during the half-term weekend in travel hell for many passengers hoping for their first holiday in two years

A No 10 spokesman said yesterday: ‘We will continue to work with the aviation industry and be clear with them that we want to see disruption reduced to a minimum.’

However, they are now shocked to learn about the number of flights that had recently been cancelled.

Glenda added that Mr Powell was due to attend a three-day trial at 9am on Monday morning to give evidence at Bristol Crown Court but has been forced to cancel.

She said: ‘We were then told by email we would be put on the 1.20 am flight to Manchester on May 30 with a coach transfer to Bristol.

‘Families were checking online themselves for the status of said flight and rumours were going around that it was cancelled.

‘Sure enough, when we arrived at the airport and unloaded our luggage we did not even enter the airport as the information board displayed that our flight was again cancelled.

‘My daughters burst into tears with the anxiety and just wanted to go home,’ she added.

Glenda reveals the family were informed last night by an airport representative that they would be upgraded to all-inclusive at their hotel – but were disappointed after there was ‘no communicated about this at the hotel’.

She said: ‘I feel like TUI told us what we wanted to hear just to keep the peace at the time as emotions were running high.

‘There’s a lot going on in the world which is significantly worse than this but when you save and pay for a service you expect them to follow through’.

Holiday firm TUI sent a crushing text message after delaying the flight saying the family’s entire trip – costing £5,200 – was cancelled for ‘operational reasons’

Anna, from Bedfordshire, said the family had travelled on several holidays with TUI with no major problems. But she said that TUI’s handling of her flight on Saturday had damaged her trust in the travel firm. Anna said: ‘We booked a week of hard-earned leave but you can’t compensate for that. You can’t compensate for heartbroken children.’ Anna Saunders’ husband Matthew and son Jack pictured waiting for their luggage at Stansted Airport

Absolute chaos 10 hours in the airport with no food because most places were shut…and over 2 hours sat on the plane on the tarmac for the holiday to be cancelled because there were no staff to load the luggage on!! Literally the only reason for it to be cancelled was due to the luggage not being loaded on… they wouldn’t let us off the plane because there were no staff to let us off and then armed police had to escort us all off…. luggage nowhere to be seen… looks like we are here for the night… If you plan on booking a holiday in the near future DO NOT RISK FLYING FROM MANCHESTER ITS AN ABSOLUTE FARCE

Posted by Kelly Clarke on Monday, May 30, 2022

TUI sent Glenda an email regarding the delay today, saying: ‘We’re sorry for the continued delay to your flight X Paphos to Manchester.

‘Please collect welfare voucher to the value of Euro 8 from the check in desk.

‘With this voucher you will be able to purchase refreshments in the terminal while you wait. Thank you for your patience.’

Glenda revealed the family were told today their flight had been changed originally to 7:05pm (Cyprus time) this evening – which has since been delayed over an hour to 8:35pm – but they remain unconvinced until the plane takes off.

She said: ‘We’ve gone through security but now we’ve been told that we’re delayed until 8.35pm and there also won’t be hot or cold snacks on the flight!

We have been given eight euro each to buy refreshments at the airport.

‘I won’t be convinced of getting home tonight until the landing gear goes up and we’re in the air and then there’s the dread of Manchester chaos and a long coach trip back to Bristol overnight.

‘By the time we arrive home, if all goes well, we’ll be over 48hrs late.’

The mother-of-two added the respons es from TUI have been ‘fairly automated responses’ She explained: ‘One manager was reasonable with my husband earlier today at the hotel but other than that they’ve either been absent, not on the coaches at pick up or saying we know as much as them.

‘Another tourist described one of the reps as rude. The powers that be need to step up, put their hands up and apologise properly.’

The family have been offered £200 each towards another TUI holiday, as well as the standard flight cancellation compensation, but Glenda reveals she is ‘not really feeling like booking a holiday with them unless this all calms down’.

Glenda says she has not formally complained yet from being ‘too exhausted’ but she is planning to.

Another family was left devastated after their first holiday since the Covid pandemic was cancelled by TUI as they waited to board their flight.

Anna Saunders, 41, had booked a week’s getaway in Cyprus with her husband Matthew, 44, and two kids from Stansted Airport on Saturday. But holiday firm TUI sent a crushing text message after delaying the flight saying the family’s entire trip – costing £5,200 – was cancelled for ‘operational reasons’.

Anna said her kids Eva and Jack, aged 13 and 10, were ‘heartbroken’ as they lost out on what would have been the family’s first holiday since the Covid pandemic. Instead, they are staying in a friend’s caravan in Cromer, Norfolk this half-term. 

TUI has issued a statement apologising to its customers for flight cancellations and claims to have been in contact with passengers to advise of new service departure times.

Anna, a property worker, said: ‘My kids were heartbroken. Explaining to a child that they’re not going on holiday after going through the airport is pretty tough. I would be wary to book with TUI again.

‘It wasn’t what we expected. They must have known they couldn’t do the holiday. To not tell us the flight was cancelled until we got to the airport is just disgusting.’

In a text message, TUI offered Anna’s family a full refund, compensation worth £350 per person and a holiday voucher worth £200 per person.

Anna, from Bedfordshire, said the family had travelled on several holidays with TUI with no major problems.

But she said that TUI’s handling of her flight on Saturday had damaged her trust in the travel firm.

Anna said: ‘We booked a week of hard-earned leave but you can’t compensate for that. You can’t compensate for heartbroken children. We haven’t heard anything from TUI and there’s been no refund yet.’

The family’s all-inclusive holiday to Paphos, Cyprus had initially been planned for October 2021 when it had to be postponed due to Eva catching Covid in the run-up.

Anna said she was aware of queuing delays at Stansted Airport and the family arrived almost four hours before their departure on Saturday.

Travel chaos has struck Britain’s major airports over the past few days, with some holidaymakers missing flights due to long waiting times.

Anna added: ‘We turned up at Stansted at 12.30pm, our flight was 4.10pm and there was no indication of any problems.

‘We had received text messages from TUI in the run-up saying ‘looking forward to seeing you’.

‘At the check-in desk there was a bit of chaos. There were a few flights checking in but not enough staff.

‘We were there for a good two hours. The queue was moving very slowly. After that we went through security and had to run to the gate. There was no indication of a problem with the flight. People were queuing to board.

‘As we were waiting we got a text saying it was delayed for an hour. We asked the staff and they didn’t have a clue, which was a bit strange.

‘Then two hours later they made an announcement that the flight was completely cancelled.

‘Everyone was devastated but we thought we might get a flight the next day. We went to get our luggage and then went back to the gate again. We spent another hour and a half waiting in the queue.

‘Then we got a text saying the entire holiday was cancelled. The other passengers were calm but we were all shocked.’

A spokesperson said: ‘We’d like to apologise to customers travelling on flight TOM6677 from Paphos to Bristol which was unable to depart as planned on Saturday 28 May due to operational issues.

‘All impacted customers were offered welfare vouchers, overnight accommodation and meals while we worked through a new flight plan.

‘We were in regular contact with customers and advised them of their new departure time as soon as we could. Customers are now due to arrive in Manchester this evening and transport back to Bristol Airport will be provided.

‘We’d like to thank customers for their patience and understanding during this time.’

Last Friday, Bristol Airport announced that 300,000 customers are expected to travel this week in light of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

There has been thousands of passengers stranded at airports across the UK, waiting in queues hours long amongst various cancellations of flights.

Plenty of other furious passengers have revealed their holiday hell after being kicked off ‘overbooked flights’, luggage bungles and families being left at the wrong airport as chaotic scenes continued to plague Britain’s airline industry at the start of half-term week.

Airports from Bristol to Manchester have reported huge queues of up to five hours as the school break began today – and the aviation industry continues to buckle under a surge in demand and last-minute bookings.

Customers hoping to return home have even reportedly seen flights jetting off to the UK without passengers on board, and were sent to the wrong airport and told to find their own way home, without their luggage.

Airlines have continued to blame the chaos on widespread staffing shortages as they battle to recover from Covid restrictions and struggle to hire enough staff amid a tight labour market with more vacancies than job-seekers. 

Eyewitnesses at Gatwick said some disgruntled cabin crew even handed in their notice after enduring the chaotic scenes over the weekend. Others said stewards and pilots had been flown in from Heathrow especially on Monday before having to be informed by passengers that the flight had, in fact, been cancelled.

Laurie Nathaniel was journeying back to the UK with easyJet from Santorini to Gatwick when her flight was suddenly diverted to Luton when crew said they didn’t have enough fuel to continue as planned – after the jet was given a later slot than expected to touch down.

EasyJet farce saw luggage delayed after a series of incidents

Once they landed in Luton she was stunned to be told their baggage would also be late due to limited baggage handlers, and they should fine their own way to Gatwick – and reclaim the money back.

Passengers, including families without buggies or child car seats, were told that their bags would be carried onto Gatwick for them. 

But once they got to Luton they were informed by text the luggage was not there – and bags are still yet to be returned to them.

Laurie told MailOnline: ‘We got home today in the early hours of the morning. Our luggage still hasn’t arrived after they said it would be sent here.

‘The airline just doesn’t sound like it knows what it is doing. My glasses and contact lenses were in too so I can’t see anything – so I have had to miss work today. It’s a shambles.

‘The air hostesses on the flight were complaining openly about the long hours they have worked and one air hostess openly told passengers she’s handed in her notice.’

Emily Wratting, a former easyJet employee, said she had ‘never seen it this bad’, after her family was diverted to Luton Airport and ‘dumped there’.

‘We were quite literally told to make our own way to Gatwick where our bags would meet us there. Of course our baggage didn’t arrive, and still hasn’t arrived.

‘It’s absolutely disgusting. I used to work for easyJet for 10 years and took voluntary redundancy in 2020 and I have never seen it this bad, very sad for what was once was an amazing airline.’

Vicki Walton was another holidaymaker who was on the diverted Gatwick-Luton flight. She had just returned from Santorini with her partner where they had celebrated their wedding.

She told MailOnline she still hadn’t heard from luggage handlers after her bags, which contained wedding gifts and clothes from her special day, went missing more than 24 hours ago. 

An easyJet spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘easyJet can confirm that flight EZY8844 from Santorini to London Gatwick on 29 May diverted to London Luton as a precaution due to air traffic control restrictions in place at Gatwick airport causing delays for arriving aircraft.

‘The aircraft landed normally with above minimum levels of fuel and in no way was the safety of the passengers or crew compromised at any time. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority.

‘Unfortunately, there were limited staff available to deliver the bags at Luton due to the aircraft’s unscheduled arrival and so we are working to reunite customers with their bags as soon as possible. Due to a shortage of coach availability at Luton, customers will be reimbursed for their own onward travel arrangements to Gatwick.

‘While this was outside of the airline’s control, we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.’

Families have also been forced to sleep on the floor of airports as Britain’s travel hell continued today, with little sign of abatement.

In Stansted the combination of delays and queues provided nightmare conditions that saw some try and get rest on the floor.

Elsewhere jam-packed outdoor lines formed outside Bristol’s terminals from 4am under the sky as the day dawned.

And 140 miles away at Gatwick passengers said they too were enduring ‘long and snaking’ queues just to reach their planes.

It came after easyJet had cancelled more than 200 flights to or from Gatwick between May 28 and June 6.    

STANSTED: Taking a rest from the chaos! Passengers sleep on the ground before they try and board their flights at Stansted Airport this morning

HEATHROW: Hundreds of passengers faced fresh half-term holiday hell at the beleaguered London airport on Monday as huge queues formed

GATWICK: There were large queues at Gatwick just after 5am too as numbers of passengers gave staff much to do as holidays began

BRISTOL: The southwest airport was again hit by lengthy lines as people tried to catch their planes to leave the UK for foreign climes on holiday

MANCHESTER: Pictured is Manchester Airport this morning as passengers were also hit by enormous queues as people lined up to clear security protocols today

SCHIPHOL: Hundreds of tourists were pictured queuing outside Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport amid half-term holiday chaos

British holidaymakers reported waiting for upwards of 2 hours at the Dutch airport (above) as their flights reportedly set off without passengers being able to board

Passengers faced fresh headaches on Monday morning as dozens of flights were cancelled without warning

Hand luggage and coats had to be used as makeshift pillows and blankets to try and tackle the long and boring delays

Chloe Bryjka had been on a hen do with friends and her mother to Cyprus, which saw three flights cancelle d and them shunted around to four hotels. At one point her mother (right) had to sleep on a mattress on the floor as the group anxiously waited to find how to get home

Airports have struggled with the influx of people wanting to use them after the pandemic saw staff reduced. Pictured Bristol

Bristol Airport this morning featured queues outside of the building for passengers just trying to get inside the terminal

What’s causing the delays and chaos at airports? 

British Airways and easyJet have both been removing thousands of flights from schedules in recent months at Gatwick and Heathrow airports amid staff shortages.

The airlines say most travellers have been given at least a few weeks’ notice, although the situation this week has been compounded by an IT glitch affecting easyJet.

There are also issues recruiting for roles such as security staff, ground handlers and check-in staff which is seeing passengers advised to arrive much earlier than normal for their flights because they are facing long queues.

While many businesses in the aviation sector are struggling to rehire staff after many were let go during the pandemic due to a collapse in demand thanks to successive lockdowns, high levels of staff sickness for those who are still employed is also having an impact.

And as they continue to battle with a tight labour market that has more vacancies than job-seekers, airlines have not been able to recruit staff quickly enough after most foreign travel has been reopened over the last year – with the removal in restrictions both in the UK and abroad in recent months causing even greater demand.

The Unite union said there are ‘chronic staff shortages across the board’, and that ‘current pay and conditions in the industry are so poor that workers are voting with their feet’, adding: ‘It can only be resolved by offering higher wages and better working conditions for staff.’

Union officials added that many airport staff are being asked to work extra hours, and ‘relying on staff overtime to run the business can’t be a long-term solution’.

The situation is also not expected to improve any time soon – with the European Travel Commission saying air travel within Europe is set to recover to pre-pandemic levels this summer, although visitors from outside the region will likely be down 30 per cent from 2019.

Sarah Waddington Solicitors, a legal firm who have expertise in flight delay compensation, said it is likely airlines will be ‘inundated with claims which could run into millions of pounds’.

Chloe Bryjka had been on a hen do with friends and her mother to Cyprus, which saw three flights cancelled and them shunted around to four hotels as they tried to get home.

She told MailOnline: ‘We went to Gatwick on Thursday, May 19, we were having a drink before take-off and then got an e-mail saying that it was cancelled.

‘They said the best they could do was to get us out there by Sunday, but he had a lot of excursions booked and paid for.

‘So we decided to book a flight the following day with British Airways and paid out for a hotel the night before.

‘When we finally flew out there we had to pay a £100 taxi to our hotel. Then the same thing happened on the way back home.

‘We were put in a hotel that was like a prison and which booted us out the next day anyway. 

At one point her mother was forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor as the group anxiously waited to find how they would be returning to the UK.

‘The flight information said it had to go via Milan, staff said that it was because it needed to refuel’, Chloe added.

‘Then it got cancelled and we got put into another hotel until the next flight. It was an absolute nightmare. We lost at least two days of work because of all of it.

‘All in all we must have each spent about £1,400 extra on it – I am just hoping the insurance covers it all.’

One Bristol passenger wrote online: ‘Queue to get in the terminal at 5:15 at Bristol Airport. At least the sky is pretty.’

Another passenger railed: ‘Only half the security lanes open and not fast track. Two hours to get through. Queues started 300m on road outside.’

Another added: ‘Only half the security lanes open and not FastTrack. Several hours to get through with queues starting 300m on the road outside. Everyone was calling it a zoo – and it was a pretty apt description.’

Richard Thomasson, head of customer operations at Bristol Airport, said: ‘For early morning flight departures we are seeing customers arriving 5 hours prior to flight departure, adding to the congestion in the terminal. This is something we have not experienced before.’

Many reported having problems with TUI, with a number claiming they had their flights cancelled with little notice. 

Families were forced to wait outside from 5am as crowds of holidaymakers snaked around the car park at Bristol Airport (above)

Disgruntled holidaymakers accused Gatwick Airport of being ‘unsafe’ after passengers for a fully-booked flight were bundled into the ‘tiniest corner of the airport’

Passengers trying to get away for a half-term break were greeted with chaotic scenes at Bristol Airport on Monday morning

Holidaymakers were also stuck in two-hour long queues at international airports, including Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam (above)

Sonja Hoffman (above) was one of the stranded travellers at Bristol Airport who faced headaches when she was told she faced hour-long queues just to enter the airport terminal

The scenes today follows weeks of disruption with hundreds of cancelled flights by Easyjet and Tui, and long queues. Pictured: Winding queues at Bristol Airport on Monday

At Heathrow airport, a spokesperson said they are expecting high numbers throughout half-term

Stars are also grounded in plane take-off delay

John Bishop and Damian Lewis bemoaned flight delays

Stars John Bishop and Damian Lewis also found themselves at the centre of travel delays over the weekend.

The pair were at the Champions League final in Paris and had managed to get a charter jet home to the UK.

But their good fortune quickly turned to misfortune after delays to the plane’s take-off.

In the end they were over six hours late to leave France after being stuck on the tarmac.

At one point the pair went in the cockpit to joke they were going to fly it themselves to try and get home.

Bishop said: ‘I managed to get a seat on a club charter flight from Paris.

‘This felt like a win when I got on with Damian Lewis. More than 5 hours later and we have not moved.

‘I wish I had got the train.’

Lewis joined in ‘Make that 6 hours me and John Bishop Day 2 in the Big Brother House’

Meanwhile at Gatwick one airport user posted a picture of a heavy line just to get to the baggage drop.

A Wizz Air flight from Gatwick-Venice was sat on the tarmac for more than three hours on Monday afternoon with reported ‘mechanical issues’. 

Shirley Brownbridge, 71, from Lewes, East Sussex, who is flying to Cologne from Gatwick with her husband John, 74, said: ‘We were told to come three hours early.

‘But we aren’t able to get through until two and a half hours before the flight.

‘There was no point in getting here early because there were no queues. And it’s frustrating because we can’t check in until two and a half hours before our fight.

‘We’ve been waiting in here and an hour and a half already.’

Ross Bryant, 31, from London, echoed her comments. He had hoped to travel to Rome with vueling but ended up waiting for almost three hours at the check-in queue.

He said he had been due to fly on Sunday but said he arrived to be to told his flight was full.

Ross told MailOnline: ‘It’s shocking. I even got kicked off the last flight because they overbooked it. Four people didn’t get let on the flight.

‘It’s really shocking, I won’t be using the company again.

‘They promised I’d be on the 9am flight today but now I’m on the 3pm one.’

Meanwhile, Wizz Air flight to Larnaca, Cyprus was cancelled today and passengers say they could not find airline representatives in the terminal to answer their questions.

Gatwick said there had been some queuing issues for security this morning but it cleared in about half an hour with no ongoing issues. The airport said things were ‘operating smoothly’.

Problems also hit people trying to leave the UK via Dover – with some reporting four hour delays due to a lack of open French border control booths.

The difficulties reared their head first on Sunday as P&O Ferries said delays were ‘out of their control’ and hinted French border police were responsible.

On Saturday hundreds of Tui passengers were in uproar at Manchester airport after they were told their trips were cancelled after an eight-hour wait, with police called to deal with scenes.

Meanwhile people also reported ‘shambolic’ scenes of ‘carnage’ at Bristol airport, and easyJet has cancelled more than 200 flights to or from Gatwick between May 28 and June 6.

Holidaymakers’ travel plans for the Jubilee celebrations have also been thrown into disarray after a ‘shambolic’ weekend of flight cancellations.

Drivers have been warned to expect long delays on popular routes during the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday period with nearly 20 million getaway journeys are planned.

The RAC estimated that 19.5 million leisure trips by road will take place between Wednesday and Sunday.

A survey of 1,460 drivers’ travel plans indicated that Friday is likely to be the most congested day on the roads as day-trippers combine with families returning home from half-term breaks.

On Sunday as Bristol airport customers revealed seven-hour delays and devastated passengers at Manchester were grounded on the runway, as TUI told ‘hundreds’ of passengers their holidays were cancelled through text message.

Holidaymakers waiting at the Manchester airport were left hungry, with children ‘screaming and crying’ as their flights faced delays.

Sharon Marie was travelling with her partner on a TUI flight to Paphos at the weekend. It was due to depart from Manchester at 5.30pm, but by 8pm they had still not heard an announcement for its new departure time, and were told it was delayed until tomorrow.

She told the Manchester Evening News that they moved from ‘queue to queue’ in the airport for more than six hours.

‘We were then told we had to wait for our luggage and be escorted out of the airport as our flight has been cancelled to 12pm tomorrow [Monday],’ Ms Marie added. ‘We are being sent home with luggage at a cost to ourselves to return and go through the whole process again. We are tired, hungry and fed up.’

‘There are so many eateries just not open at all, we were told many had ran out of food so they had to close. It is just unbelievable that families aren’t able to get anything to eat,’ she told the news site.

‘There were so many children screaming and crying and people just wondering what on earth was going on.

‘People are tired, hungry and stressed. It is shambolic.’  

Now traffic information supplier Inrix advised drivers to set off either before 6am or after 3pm to avoid the worst of the traffic.

The M25 anticlockwise from Junction 17 at Maple Cross Interchange, Hertfordshire to Junction 12 at Thorpe Interchange, Surrey has been highlighted as a likely congestion hotspot.

Another is the A303 running past Stonehenge, Wiltshire, which is a popular route for holidaymakers travelling towards the South West.

Some 37% of respondents to a separate RAC poll said they will not be driving long distances over the weekend.

Of those people, 11% attributed this to high fuel prices.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘Drivers clearly see a double bank holiday this close to the summer as a gift with so millions eager to make the most of it – although many appear keen to keep their car journeys short, perhaps mixing a daytrip or two with a Jubilee celebration at home.

One posted: ‘Bristol Zoo, sorry airport was the same for the Mrs on Friday. She made her flight only because it was delayed’

‘The fact the bank holidays coincide with the end of half-term in many places has the potential to put some extra pressure on the road network, so planning a journey carefully is important to beat the worst of any queues.’

He urged drivers to carry out essential checks on their vehicles before setting off, such as making sure oil, coolant and screen wash levels are correct, and tyres are properly inflated and free from damage.

‘A bit of TLC now could make the difference between a straightforward trip and one beset by a breakdown,’ he added.

UK airports will also be busy with more than 10,000 flights departing between Thursday and Sunday, according to aviation data firm Cirium.

That is a three-fold increase on the same period last year, when the UK’s coronavirus travel restrictions remained in place.

Network Rail normally carries out widespread engineering work during bank holidays, but nearly all major lines will remain open during the Jubilee celebrations.

Chief executive Andrew Haines said: ‘We are really pleased to say that all routes into London’s major stations will be open across the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

‘We know that demand will be high as people travel into the capital to celebrate this special occasion and our station staff will be on hand to welcome passengers and help them with their journeys.

‘Of course, we are still carrying out hundreds of important projects to upgrade the railway, but the majority of these will have no impact on passenger or freight services.

‘As ever I’d like to thank the countless railway staff who will be out delivering upgrades or who will be working hard to keep services running for passengers.’

Aisha Marzouq, who was due to fly to Kuwait City from Manchester with Kuwait Airways, was left sat on the plane for more than four hours.

She also shared images of empty vending machines at the airport.

Keith Barrett, from Hazel Grove, Stockport, was due to flight to Antalya this evening for a family holiday. He discovered that their group of 15 had been delayed, and would not depart until tomorrow.

‘We’ve not been away for three years, he told the news site. ‘We’ve been queuing for two hours and all of a sudden they say they have technical problems and we can’t fly today. They’ve said they will text us with a flight time for tomorrow.’ 

In a statement, Manchester Airport apologised for the disruption, and said that delays at check-in and baggage reclaim are the responsibility of airlines and ground handling firms, which run their own services.

It added that staff are ‘in contact with the senior management teams of the relevant airlines and ground handlers’ to ‘understand the cause of these issues’. 

A holidaymaker at Bristol Airport said that his 2pm flight to Gran Canaria had been delayed for seven hours, and wasn’t scheduled to leave until 8.55pm. 

Yesterday, TUI told ‘hundreds’ of passengers that their holidays are cancelled over text following ‘eight-hour’ airport wait as hundreds of trips are axed amid half-term travel chaos.

Bristol Airport also urged passengers not to arrive too early to avoid congestion, but passengers described severe waiting times this morning with few staff on the ground

A youngster breaks down in tears at Gatwick Airport as a family waits for their luggage to arrive after hours of waiting

Couple Seren Rounds, 27, and Adam Howells, 29, of Caerleon, south Wales, are on the verge of postponing their wedding after their flight to Cyprus was scrapped

…As militant union baron Mick Lynch threatens to cripple Britain with rail strikes lasting for MONTHS – leaving families unable to get to airports

By Jacob Thorburn for MailOnline   

The leader of a rail union threatening to bring Britain’s railways to a standstill in a summer of travel chaos has warned the strikes could last a ‘very, very long time’.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said industrial action could be imminent – raising fears over the delivery of goods on an already-stretched supply chain and knock-on effects for petrol and diesel prices.

Speaking to Sky News‘ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, he did not divulge how much disruption the proposed ‘summer of discontent’ action would cause, but said he planned for strikes to be ‘as effective as possible from our point of view’. 

The far-Left union is set to announce a series of strike dates that could last for months after thousands of its members voted in favour of walkouts last week.

It is resisting government plans to shave £2billion off the rail budget by modernising the industry with new technology and wants pay rises for workers in line with inflation.

RMT boss Mick Lynch told Sky News‘ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme that walkouts could go on ‘for a very, very long time’ as there was no sign of a deal being struck.

It comes as it was revealed the fanatical union bosses have already threatened strike action despite failing to begin official negotiations with operators.  

Pressed by Andrew Neil during an interview on his new Channel 4 show, Lynch admitted that despite already threatening industrial action, his far-left union had not yet sat down at the table for any formal talks with rail bosses.

Sources say the militant RMT is fighting even the slightest changes to ‘Spanish practices’ – some dating back more than 100 years – despite taxpayer-funding of £16bn being used to prop up Britain’s beleaguered passenger railway services during the pandemic.

RMT Union baron Mick Lynch, pictured, who pockets a total compensation package worth some £124,886, said his unionised workers feared disruption to their ‘work-life balance’ in an interview with Channel 4’s Andrew Neil

Britain is bracing for a so-called ‘summer of discontent’ with rail union bosses threatening to bring travel hell to millions of passengers with crippling strikes of up to 80% of the network

‘The people who are telling us to rein in our belts, are the people who are raking in profits from the industry,’ Mr Lynch claimed.

The union baron, who pockets a total compensation package worth some £124,886, also said unionised workers feared disruption to their ‘work-life balance’.

He said: ‘They’re [our workers] are being told that thousands of them are going to lose their job. 

‘They’re also being told that the conditions we negotiated, with those companies, are going to be ripped up and that their work-life balance will be disrupted and their whole lifestyle will be changed by these cuts.

‘We’re not in this game to attack people’s working lives and disrupt the economy. This is a defensive dispute, they have put their tanks on our lawn.’ 

Speculation has mounted that up to 80 per cent of existing services would be cut under any strike action, with trains running part-time and only on main lines.

Industry insiders have already been told to prepare plans to ensure shelves are stocked and access to essentials maintained by giving freight operators priority over any remaining passenger services. 

Ministers have been already been warned that freight trains providing supply to critical power plants could be severely disrupted.

Passengers who had waited for eight hours — four during check-in and security, and four ‘waiting for a pilot’ — were told by text that their trips were scrapped.

One family was told that their trip, including flights and an all-inclusive hotel, were cancelled. 

Helen, from Sale, Cheshire, was travelling to Kos with her husband and teenage daughter. They have been left appalled by the treatment, they say. ‘It’s utter, utter chaos,’ she said. 

‘There has been hardly any staff here. Everyone got a text from TUI saying their holidays have been cancelled and to go home. 

‘The check-in girls knew nothing, we found out before they did. And they were left to deal with hundreds of passengers complaining, a full flight’s worth. 

‘The police had to come in and make an announcement, a holidaymaker was arrested and was in handcuffs. 

‘We have had to go back through security, show our passports, even though we’d never left the airport.’

‘All the passengers are really angry, there’s children crying. We’ve taken the week off work, my daughter is off school – she’d been looking forward to this holiday, bought new clothes and everything. We expected it to be bad at Manchester Airport but everyone is in shock at how bad it actually is. The police had to unload people’s suitcases because there were no staff to do it.’ 

A spokesperson for TUI said: ‘We’d like to apologise to customers impacted by cancellations and delays this weekend, caused by various operational and supply chain issues.

‘We’d like to reassure customers that we are doing everything we can to minimise delays and would like to thank them their patience and understanding during this time.’

Yesterday’s troubled flight to Kos, out of Terminal 2, was supposed to take off at 3.45pm but angry ticketholders say they would have missed the flight anyway due to queues ‘out of the building’ to check-in. 

George Sharp said his daughter had travelled from Bradford for their holiday to Kos – on the same flight as Helen – and had been queuing since 12pm. They were at the gate ready to board the flight when they received a text from TUI saying their £4,500 trip was cancelled. 

‘It was like circumstances I’ve never ever heard of before,’ George said. ‘They went to board and then they cancelled not just the flight but the entire holiday. TUI staff refused to face up to anyone and the police arrived to tell them to go back through security to collect their bags and go home. 

‘She just got married two years ago so all they’ve known is Covid since they got married in March 2020 and this was supposed to be a big reset for them and to help them get back to normality. They were with a five-year-old little girl and it’s just horrendous. They were just heartbroken and confused. 

‘It’s hard to console her , because what can you say? They had only just got their passports two days ago so they’ve been stressed to bits over that. It’s just been one thing after another. To be at the airport for eight hours, face numerous delays and get ready to board to then be told that it’s over is just really upsetting for them all. There’s been no communication other than a text message.’ 

Jayesh Patel, from Manchester, was due to travel on the same flight to Kos with his wife and their three children, aged nine, 12 and 13. 

‘We arrived at the airport three hours before our flight, as advised, and the queue for the baggage at T2 was all along the sky bridge up to terminal one,’ Jayesh said.  

‘At 7.48pm, we received a text to tell us our entire holiday had been cancelled. There was nobody at the airport to speak to, but there was a lot of upset and frustration as we all received the text at the same time. 

‘We all then had to go back through passport control, which was ironic as we hadn’t gone anywhere, and back into arrivals to wait for our luggage which was already on the plane. 

‘People were visibly upset and children were crying. We then had to wait another couple of hours and at this point, we’d spent the whole day at the airport and just wanted to leave. ‘ 

Jayesh said all passengers were offered a full refund on their flights, £350 in compensation and a £200 holiday voucher, but he says he would rather the voucher was in cash. 

‘Realistically, I’m not sure we want to book another holiday with TUI at this point,’ he explained. 

‘We’ve travelled with TUI in the past – before the pandemic – but I’ve got no confidence in them at this point. I can’t see these problems being solved in the short-term either so I think I would rather just have the cash, instead of a voucher, so we can book elsewhere.’ 

Speaking about what he and his family now plan to do with their week off, he said they will just spend time together as it looks like they will be unable to book somewhere last minute. 

He added: ‘We thought we’d be waking up this morning going out to have a Greek breakfast somewhere near the beach, but it wasn’t meant to be.’ 

A spokesperson for TUI said: ‘We would like to apologise for the inconvenience to our customers on flight TOM2680 from Manchester and Kos, on Saturday 28th May who were delayed to a combination of factors causing significant operational disruption. 

‘Unfortunately, we felt the impact to customers’ holidays was too great and took the difficult decision to cancel the flight. We contacted affected customers as soon as we became aware of the change and all customers will receive a full refund within 14 days. We understand how disappointing and frustrating this is and we do apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

Bristol airport was compared to a ‘zoo’, with its crowded terminal the site of yet more chaos and confusion. 

Elsewhere, one Twitter user wrote: ‘Bristol Zoo, sorry airport was the same for the Mrs on Friday. She made her flight only because it was delayed.

‘Try employing more people, even on a temporary basis to cover the holidays. Oh come great asteroid!’

Meanwhile, a British Airways flight from the Italian city of Cagliari to Gatwick planned for 11:30am has been delayed until at least 7pm, leaving mothers and young children stranded in a small airport with no explanation given for the delay and no access to baby milk or sanitary products.

Bristol Airport also urged passengers not to arrive too early to avoid congestion, but passengers described severe waiting times this morning with few staff on the ground.

TUI flight from Bristol to Paphos, Cyprus, was also delayed by eight hours yesterday and then cancelled in the evening.  Among the passengers were 34 wedding guests including the bride and groom.

Yesterday, Seren Rounds, a primary school teacher, and her fiancé, electrician Adam Howells, are on the verge of postponing their wedding after their flight to Cyprus was scrapped.

Ms Rounds, 27, and Mr Howells, 29, of Caerleon, South Wales, have been planning their big day since 2020, but might be forced to postpone it after Tui cancelled their flight to Paphos.

34 guests were due to fly from Bristol on Saturday, with 11 guests already in Cyprus, but their 1.30pm outbound flight was first delayed and then cancelled.

The wedding is booked for Thursday June 2, but they have an appointment at a town hall on Monday.

Miss Rounds’ mother Lisa Trenchard said there is now ‘no way’ they can find flights for all 34 guests, so the wedding is ‘ruined’.

Ms Trenchard, 55, a health visiting manager from Caerleon, said: ‘We have families with babies and a devastated bride and groom to be.’

She added: ‘Absolutely I blame Tui, not necessarily for the initial problem, but their lack of visibility and compassion, and how they have taken the easy option to cancel.’ 

Meanwhile, one traveller stranded in Cagliari, Italy told of how her 11:30am British Airways flight to Gatwick has been delayed until at least 7pm with no communication from the airline.

‘We are at Cagliari airport in Sardinia and our BA flight is going to be over seven hours delayed. Absolutely no communication on why,’ she told MailOnline.

‘No one in the whole airport seems to have any idea what’s going on and no BA employees to be seen… No communication at check in that the flight was severely delayed, despite the fact they would have known because the plane hadn’t even taken off from Gatwick. Shambles.

‘Tiny airport too so nowhere for anyone to buy any milk, baby food or nappies even though we’ve all been here since 9.30am for an 11.30 flight – now allegedly taking off at 7pm. 

‘Loads of babies and young kids on the flight so everyone is losing their minds.’

A British Airways representative said the extensive delay was due to a technical concern with the aircraft in question and a different plane was needed to operate the flight.

At the weekend, travellers made complaints about further delays at Bristol Airport.

RedChris 1964 tweeted: ‘Chaos at Bristol Airport this morning, people been sat over three hours on planes waiting to take off due to luggage handler shortage. All departures [have been] taken off the website info.’

Baron Von Jasper posted: ‘Over two hours stuck on the tarmac at Bristol Airport because they firstly hasn’t taken off the luggage from the inbound flight and then nobody to remove the stairs and push us back. Massive delays.’

Luca Goddard added: ‘I’ve have been sat on an aeroplane here at Bristol Airport for three hours and it hasn’t moved. The captain has just told us that this is due to there only being one team on air traffic control today!’

Across the country, scores of holidaymakers faced travel chaos after Tui axed a ‘small number’ of flights and easyJet announced it would scrap more than 200 over the next 10 days. 

Mother-of-one Sunita Ramjee, 50, of Swansea, Wales, said she spent £6,000 on tickets to take her daughter, 19, and brother to the Grand Prix in Monaco for his 40th birthday present.

They were meant to be flying from London Gatwick to Nice on Friday, but the flight was delayed and then cancelled while they were at the airport.

She says there were no alternative flights available because of the Grand Prix and the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday.

Ms Ramjee said: ‘We had tickets to the Grand Prix and now easyJet has cancelled my flight and I’m not going to get a refund (for the Formula One tickets).

‘I’m really disappointed in the way it was handled. Nobody helped us to try and figure out alternative flights or make hotel bookings.

‘It is something my daughter has been looking forward to since we moved to the UK, it was my brother’s 40th birthday present.’

Michele Farmer, 56, tweeted: ‘Our easyJet flight to Naples at 5.30pm, yes, in less than an hour’s time has been cancelled.

‘We’ve been sent through baggage collection with luggage thrown on the floor now standing outside Bristol Airport.

‘No help. Poor on every level.’

She was meant to be taking her daughter Madeleine for a half-term holiday they booked for the same week in 2020.

A Tui spokesman said: ‘We would like to apologise for the inconvenience to customers who have experienced flight delays or a flight cancellations.

‘Delays have been caused due to a combination of factors and we are doing everything we can to keep customers updated, and will provide refreshments and, where appropriate, provide hotel accommodation.

‘Where we have made the difficult decision to cancel a small number of flights, customers will receive a full refund within 14 days and we will contact them directly to help them try and find another holiday.’

An easyJet spokesman said: ‘We have taken the decision to make advance cancellations of around 24 Gatwick flights per day starting from May 28 until June 6.

‘We are very sorry for the late notice of some of these cancellations and inconvenience caused for customers booked on these flights, however we believe this is necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period.’

A Bristol Airport spokesman said: ‘The Bristol Airport team and business partners are working hard to ensure all customers have a smooth and easy journey through the terminal. 

‘For early morning flight departures we are seeing customers arriving five hours prior to flight departure, adding to the congestion in the terminal. This is something we have not experienced before. 

‘When customers are queuing before check-in and security opens it provides a negative customer experience for everyone, and one we want to avoid. We advise all customers to arrive in the terminal when their check-in opens, this helps us to manage resources and gets customers on their way quickly and efficiently as possible. 

‘Each day over 80 per cent of customers experience less than a 20-minute security queue time, it is only during peak flight operations we extend beyond this.

‘We have already made a positive start recruiting new colleagues across the business and it is great to see so many new colleagues joining the team ahead of the busy summer.’ 

Nicola Caine (left), 37, from Cheshire, was due to fly from Manchester Airport to Tenerife on Monday in a group of 13 with her husband, children and several family members. They were booked on the EZY1903 easyJet flight to Tenerife South for a seven-day holiday, which cost around £2,500

In an announcement on Friday, Easyjet said cancellations would affect about 24 flights per day from London’s Gatwick airport between May 28 and June 6.

It added the cancellations were ‘necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period’.

It comes after a software failure forced EasyJet to cancel around 200 flights on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the company said in a statement: ‘We have taken the decision to make advance cancellations of around 24 Gatwick flights per day starting from May 28 until June 6.

‘We are very sorry for the late notice of some of these cancellations and inconvenience caused for customers booked on these flights, however we believe this is necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period.

‘Customers are being informed from Friday and provided with the option to rebook their flight or receive a refund and can apply for compensation in line with regulations.

‘Over the next week we will be operating around 1,700 flights per day, with around a quarter of these operating to and from Gatwick.’

‘We notified customers of their options to rebook or receive a refund directly via email and SMS. While this was outside of our control, we are sorry for any inconvenience caused and we have been in touch with Mr Bruce to provide a full refund.’

On Friday, Liverpool FC supporters travelling to the Champions League final and families embarking on half-term getaways faced long queues at the Port of Dover and UK airports.

Thousands of fans descended on the Kent port on Friday to board cross-Channel ferries en route to Paris for Saturday’s match.

Airline passengers were also stuck in lengthy queues at airports such as Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted and Bristol.

There is also high demand for sailings from families embarking on trips to the continent for half-term.

The port advised passengers to ‘pack adequate supplies including food and water’ as it is expecting ‘a very busy week ahead’.

At Heathrow airport, a spokesperson said they are expecting high numbers throughout half-term. 

‘While the travel experience may take slightly longer during peak periods, we have been preparing for this for many months,’ they said. 

‘Additional colleagues will be on hand to support passengers, and we will continue working closely with all our airport partners to get people away on their journeys as smoothly as possible.’ 

Have you been hit by travel delays today, or do you know a staff member who has quit? E-mail: Jamie.Phillips@mailonline.co.uk or lizzie.may@mailonline.co.uk with your story

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