‘How long is this mess with long queues at airports and cancelled flights going to continue?’ The Holiday Guru answers readers’ travel questions
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
Here, he helps one reader who is concerned that their flight might be cancelled last minute, and advises another on the lesser-visited counties to explore on a staycation.
Q. Our BA flight from Marseille was cancelled and my wife and I had to stay on for two days for a later BA service. Should we be compensated for the inconvenience?
Richard Goodman, via email.
A reader whose British Airways flight was cancelled – leading to a prolonged stay in Marseille, France – turns to the Holiday Guru for advice about compensation
A. Yes. For a flight cancellation of this distance, announced less than two weeks in advance, you are due £220 each by law. You should also receive ‘reasonable expenses’. This means you will be able to claim for a three-star hotel (luxury accommodation is ‘unreasonable’) plus similar-standard meal. You will need to have kept receipts. See the ‘Complaints and claims’ page at ba.com and complete the form.
Q. British Airways and Easyjet seem to be having the most trouble with cancellations. Why is that?
Gemma Hope, via email.
A. Both made large staff cuts during the height of Covid lockdowns. This seems to be coming back to haunt them.
Q. How long is this mess with long queues at airports and cancelled flights going to continue? We are due to go to Tenerife in mid-May.
Sue Parker, Manchester.
A. Things ought to calm down after Easter. BA had 126 cancellations on April 3, but as few as 29 on Tuesday. Easyjet had no cancellations on Tuesday and only 29 on Wednesday, which bodes well, although figures for both airlines could spike this weekend. In the longer term — with Covid cases likely to drop and staff recruitment drives — airlines should improve. For airports, it’s the same but with the added complication of screening tests that can take 15 weeks when hiring security staff.
Q. Is all this going to happen again in the summer? I don’t think I could bear that. Should we book another staycation?
John Yates, via email.
The Holiday Guru recommends heading on a staycation in ‘lesser visited counties’ such as Lincolnshire. Pictured is a cobbled street in Stamford, Lincolnshire
A. The hope is that airlines and airports will have woken up to the seriousness of the situation by then and be prepared for the start of the summer holiday rush in June — although some aviation experts think it could take up to a year for troubles to settle. Nothing wrong with another staycation, of course, but maybe avoid tourist honeypots such as Cornwall and the Lake District. Perhaps it’s time to savour Staffordshire (enjoystaffordshire.com) or learn to love Lincolnshire (visitlincolnshire.com) and other lesser visited counties.
Q. Do you have any advice for avoiding travel delays in the summer?
Jess Smith, Newcastle.
A. It might be an idea to arrange mid-week flights to avoid weekend peaks. Do also consider paying extra for fast-track security passes, if you are especially worried.
Q. Do you know when ferry crossings will return to normal? We have a house in France and don’t want to be stuck in queues at Dover.
Mrs Wainwright, Salisbury.
A. It’s not good right now. P&O Ferries has suspended most of its services and had another ship, the Spirit of Britain, detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. With P&O’s Pride of Kent also detained since March 28, capacity on the Dover-Calais route is way down. However, two P&O ferries have been approved by the MCA, the European Causeway and the Pride of Hull, so progress is being made. Eurotunnel is running as usual (eurotunnel.com).
A reader with a trip booked to Milan asks the Guru what they should do if their flight is cancelled last minute
Q. We’re due to fly with BA to Milan to visit friends next week, but I see that Italian, as well as German, routes are quite often being cancelled at the last minute. Any advice?
Caroline Doyle, Liverpool.
A. Hang in there. If your flight is cancelled BA is obliged to take you to your destination on an alternative flight as soon as possible. If not, you are due a refund or a change of departure date, plus compensation.
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If you need travel advice, the Holiday Guru is here for you. Email us at [email protected].