Cancelled flights, long queues and chaotic scenes at airports have hit the headlines in recent weeks, leaving many people asking whether their summer holiday is at risk.
Last week, passengers described their travel “hell” at Manchester Airport, with some saying they received messages from tour operator TUI stating breaks had been cancelled. Meanwhile, holidaymakers at Doncaster Sheffield Airport vented their frustration after Wizz Air announced it was cancelling flights, while other customers reported long queues at the terminal.
Travel agents across the country are being inundated with phone calls from concerned customers worried that their holiday plans could be affected. Today, Hull Live spoke to a leading travel agent based in the city to get the lowdown on whether local people should be worried about their holiday flights being cancelled.
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With more than 30 years’ experience in the business, Andrew Earle is well-placed to advise concerned customers. And the good news, he says, is that the majority of travellers should have “nothing to worry about”, as long as they’re booked on reliable services.
He said: “There’s an awful lot of people who think that they’re going to be affected when they’re probably not. We haven’t had many of our customers being affected.
“The issue from our perspective is really only with two airlines, TUI from Manchester Airport and EasyJet from Gatwick. They have both got staffing issues where they have not got enough staff in place to operate the number of flights they were hoping to. The local airports that we would use, including the Humberside Mallorca flight, have all got flights running as per normal.”
The surge in demand for flights overseas has led to staffing issues for some companies, which have cancelled flights as a result. But Mr Earle said he was able to offer reassurance to his clients.
“We have people asking if their flights are going to be cancelled, and to that we say no. It is going to be busy, it always is during summer. So we are able to give clients the confidence to be able to get away on holiday.”
For people worried about booking flights for this summer, Mr Earle advised using services that have proved themselves to be reliable over the past months. “My advice would be to fly with an airline like Jet2 this summer who have been great so far,” he added, “Ryanair is also operating very effectively.
“British Airways made the decision back in April to not operate as many flights, they did the right thing by being pragmatic, so they’ve escaped from it all pretty well. I would advise not flying from Manchester with TUI, or Gatwick with EasyJet, until they have proved they can operate those flights effectively again. Hopefully as the summer progresses, things will get easier at the airport with the security as well.”