‘Total chaos’ at Heathrow as airport cancels 30 flights
Airline passengers hit out at the "total chaos" at Heathrow on Thursday morning after the airport ordered flights to be cancelled because it could not handle them.
Thousands of travellers were disrupted by a rare "schedule intervention" which led to the scrapping of 30 flights during the morning peak.
Some passengers did not find out their flights were cancelled until they arrived at what is the UK’s busiest airport.
Travel writer and broadcaster Andy Mossack wrote on Twitter: "Total chaos at Heathrow this morning. British Airways flights cancelled and zero customer service!”
Another affected passenger, Andrew Douglas, described how he was due to be on a flight to go on holiday but had "spent the last four hours in multiple queues at Heathrow Airport because it’s been cancelled".
He added: "Absolute shambles, complete chaos and only found out at check-in with no prior notification. Horrific service."
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said British Airways and any airline forced to cancel journeys must inform customers of their refund and rebooking rights, including alternative flights with rival carriers.
“Heathrow knew how many passengers were due to fly from the airport weeks ago, so there is absolutely no excuse for it to be ordering on-the-day flight cancellations," he said.
"These last-minute cancellations are hugely upsetting for travellers.
“Airports and airlines need to be held to account for the unacceptable disruption travellers have faced in recent months.
"Reform of travel rules is desperately needed, and the government should give the CAA direct fining powers so it can properly hold operators to account and drop plans to slash passenger compensation for delayed and cancelled domestic flights.”
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A Heathrow spokesman said the airport "asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the morning peak" as it was expecting more passengers "than the airport currently has capacity to serve".
He went on: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away, and we apologise for the impact this has on travel plans.
“We are working hard to ensure everyone has a smooth journey through Heathrow this summer, and the most important thing is to make sure that all service providers at the airport have enough resources to meet demand."
Passengers using Heathrow in recent weeks have experienced long queues, and many have been separated from their luggage for several days.
There are fears that the severe disruption seen at UK airports in the run-up to Easter and the Jubilee bank holiday will return during the peak summer holiday period.