Airlines cancelled more than 120 flights, and Eurotunnel warned of three-hour delays for British passengers on Monday. Easyjet and British Airways blamed cancellations on Covid staff absences, while Eurotunnel blamed delays on a broken down train.
Easter is the first school holiday since the pandemic travel restrictions were lifted. As a result, holidaymakers are experiencing increased demand and frustration.
Flight cancellations were caused by a “a perfect storm” of factors, according to Simon Calder, travel correspondent for The Independent, who spoke to the BBC.
“Covid levels in the country are extremely high, which is affecting the transportation industry. However, there are other underlying issues that date back to Covid’s inception “he stated
Thousands of people left the aviation industry during the pandemic, resulting in a staffing shortage. Long lines at security and check-in have resulted from staff shortages.
Passengers in Manchester said they are attempting to switch flights to avoid the airport’s ongoing “chaos” and long lines.
Flights from Edinburgh to Gatwick and Luton on Easyjet have been impacted.
Meanwhile, until April 12, a ferry company in Wales has cancelled trips between Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, and Rosslare, Republic of Ireland.
EasyJet, one of Europe’s largest airlines, said the cancellations, which included 62 from the United Kingdom, were only a small part of its 1,645-flight schedule on Monday.
It apologized and said it tried to mitigate the problem by using standby crew but had to “to make some cancellations in advance”
“As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses, EasyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness,” a spokesman said.
Affected customers had been contacted and could rebook on other flights, receive a voucher, or receive a refund, he said.
On Monday, British Airways cancelled about 60 flights to and from Heathrow Airport. Last week, fifty flights were cancelled in advance, but ten were cancelled on short notice due to Covid illness among staff.
BA had already had to rethink its spring schedules due to the challenges of recruiting enough staff in time to replace those who had left during the pandemic.
The airline announced two weeks ago that it would suspend some flights until May. About 20 daily services, primarily on short-haul routes, were reportedly cancelled.
After a train “temporarily stopped” in the tunnel connecting England and France, Eurotunnel warned motorists to expect delays.
Journeys from Folkestone to France could be delayed by up to three hours, according to the operator. The airline apologized in a tweet and advised passengers to “check in as normal”