Furious passengers have revealed their holiday hell with planes reportedly running out of fuel, luggage bungles and families being left to sleep on airport floors 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 half-term travel hell began early on Monday, as the aviation industry continues to buckle under a surge in demand and last-minute bookings.
Have you been hit by lengthy travel delays and queues?
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Customers hoping for a relaxing getaway have even reportedly seen flights jetting off without passengers on board, as they remain stuck in pre-holiday queuing hell during half-term break.
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.
Laurie Nathaniel had been flying back on 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.
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.
EasyJet farce saw luggage delayed after a series of incidents
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.’
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.’
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: Rest from the chaos: Passengers sleep on the ground before they try and get their flights in 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
Some EasyJet services were delayed for almost 24 hours (pictured above) on Monday
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 cancelled 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.
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.
Meanwhile at Gatwick one airport user posted a picture of a heavy line just to get to the baggage drop.
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.
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’
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
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’
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.
A 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.’