Despite wrecking the Platinum Jubilee breaks for tens of thousands of Britons during a half-term holiday from hell at airports, travel companies are still marketing cheap holidays and flights in June, MailOnline can reveal today.
Families have had plans canceled as they boarded planes, while others have been trapped at airports for up to 48 hours when flights were delayed or have had to wait for hours for their luggage to arrive owing to a staffing shortage.
Holiday companies have been accused of profiting by receiving money for trips that may or may not take place, and then using steep discounts to attract millions of people desperate for a break after two years of lockdown. MPs are likely to investigate accusations that vacations are still being sold but will not be taken.
Despite axing six flights per day from the airport dubbed ‘hell on earth due to long queues and shops running out of food and water, MailOnline can reveal that Tui – Britain’s largest holiday operator and the firm whose customers have arguably suffered the most – is still selling holidays from Manchester departing this weekend.
Despite the carnage in Manchester, 180 Tui seven-day vacations to Majorca, Gran Canaria, Morocco, and Mexico are still available for as much as £1,500 per person, departing on Friday. EasyJet has canceled 200 flights this week, including 31 today, but was promoting vacations online and offering consumers £100 off their next trip if they booked before 11 p.m. yesterday.
Millions of Britons have waited in long lines at airport check-in offices around the country for the past five days, and some have even bought mattresses and duvets knowing they would have to sleep on terminal floors. Others passed out waiting for their belongings on baggage carousels for hours, some of which never arrived.
Those caught up in the chaos have described being afraid to use the restroom for fear of losing their spot in the snaking lines that have formed at Manchester, Stansted, Birmingham, Bristol, Gatwick, and Heathrow airports.
The spat between airlines and the UK government heated up further when Dominic Raab accused them of ignoring ministers’ instructions to hire enough personnel, despite the fact that they had been handed £8 billion in support.
The Deputy Prime Minister slammed airlines for a “lack of preparation” for the post-pandemic rise in tourist demand as mayhem persisted at airports throughout the UK today, with 20% of all flights disrupted.
EasyJet canceled at least 31 flights at Gatwick, including to Bologna, Italy, Barcelona, Spain, Prague, Czech Republic, Krakow, Poland, and Edinburgh. British Airways had already canceled at least 124 short-haul flights due to leaving London Heathrow Airport today, despite saying passengers had been given advance notice. Tui Airways continues to cancel six daily flights from Manchester Airport, accounting for a quarter of the airline’s total schedule.
Separately, there were delays on international trains today, with large lines at London St Pancras due to an IT fault impacting e-gates at the French border delaying Eurostar services by up to an hour.
Today’s massive lineups at Gatwick, Bristol, and Manchester airports were described as ‘carnage’ by one easyJet passenger at the latter, who said: ‘Took two hours 45 minutes to get through – most of that was bag drop.’ ‘Now on the plane, however, due to a ground personnel shortage, there will be another delay of about 50 minutes.’
After landing at Gatwick shortly before 3 a.m., another easyJet passenger stated they had to wait two hours and 40 minutes for their bags. This, he concluded, was “just not good enough.”
After getaways were ‘thrown into disarray,’ the Liberal Democrats have urged for the Army to be deployed to relieve the lines, adding that ‘drastic action’ is needed ‘immediately to handle this travel horror and break the logjam.’
The government, according to trade unions and the Labour Party, has failed to provide enough support to the sector. Mr. Raab, on the other hand, said that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been in touch with the industry for months, warning that “this would happen” and that “you need to make sure that you’ve got your recruitment in place.”
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