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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Half-term travel chaos as flights cancelled and passengers ‘stuck for hours’ at Dover

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alf-term holidaymakers are facing further travel chaos after hundreds of flights were cancelled in airports across the UK over the weekend.

Britons jetting off for the long Jubilee bank holiday have seen their plans thrown into disarray as travel operators brace for a surge in demand.

Footage posted on social media showed long security queues at Manchester Airport on Sunday, with Tui passengers informed via text that their flights had been cancelled following an eight-hour wait.

The firm said “various operational and supply chain issues” were to blame for the cancellations in a statement on Saturday.

Damian Lewis and John Bishop on a grounded flight back from Paris

/ Damien Lewis

Several passengers at Bristol airport complained of severe delays, with some claiming they had been forced to wait outside the terminal building to get through security.

Paul Trueman tweeted a picture of a large queue stretching outside of the terminal at 5am on Monday morning.

In a statement, Bristol Airport said they expected the Platinum Jubilee holiday to be its busiest period for four years with some 300,000 customers set to travel through the airport this week.

A spokesperson told ITV: “The Bristol Airport team and business partners are working hard to ensure all customers have a smooth and easy journey through the terminal.

“We’re sorry that this morning there were longer queues at security.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Easyjet announced they would axe more than 200 flights over the next week, saying the cancellations were “necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period”.

The cancellations would have an impact on around 24 flights a day from Gatwick airport, London, between May 28 and June 6, the airline said.

Passengers queue at Gatwick airport

/ Elliot Wagland

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

Liverpool fans travelling home from the Champions League Final in Paris also faced significant delays, with comedian John Bishop and actor Damian Lewis stuck on a grounded flight for six hours.

Passengers leaving the UK via the port of Dover also faced heavy delays due to a lack of open French border control booths.

One passenger claimed to have missed their ferry after waiting almost two hours at border control.

The Port of Dover said in a statement: “The Port is working with its French counterparts to move tourist traffic through the Border Controls as quickly as possible.

“The Port is very busy working with all the Ferry Operators to minimise delays once through the Border Controls.”

The Port said it had seen some tourists arriving without tickets, adding: “Please do not travel to the Port of Dover unless you have a booked ticket for travel.”

They urged passengers to “pack adequate supplies including food and water” ahead of a “very busy week”.

Elsewhere, drivers were warned of long delays on popular routes as Britons travel across the country during the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday.

The RAC estimated that around 19.5 million leasure trips would take place between Wednesday and Sunday, with Friday set to be the most congested day.

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