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Airport hell, security chaos… should you stay put or fly? The Holiday Guru answers your questions

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The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.

Here he discusses the recent travel chaos at European airports, explains why so many flights have been canceled by airlines and informs readers about their rights if their own holiday has been disrupted – or canceled altogether.

Q. Will my summer vacation continue? This recent chaos at the airport does not bode well.

The Holiday Guru answers readers’ questions about travel this summer, amid flight cancellations and huge queues at UK airports

A. You are right to be concerned. Alarm bells are ringing, with flights knowingly canceled by BA (in addition to the 16,000 canceled between March and October), easyJet and TUI. The latest of these is canceling 43 flights a week from Manchester this month, affecting up to 37,000 travelers. Meanwhile, the understaffing at the airport creates terrible queues. Still, there may be reasons to be hopeful.

Desperate staffing is underway for the summer — and industry insiders argue that the Easter and Platinum Anniversary holidays just came too soon after travel restrictions ended in March. New background checks and conversations about better pay could help. We’ve crossed our fingers.

Q. That sounds a bit dubious – can you reassure us even more?

A. Yes, there is the bottom line to consider. Last-minute cancellations cost airlines and tour operators huge amounts of compensation and lost revenue. They cannot afford this in the long run and are under tremendous pressure to perform.

Flights are ‘willy-nilly canceled by BA, easyJet and TUI’, says Holiday Guru

Q. Then why do they cancel flights when they lose so much money because of it?

A. Partly due to the sudden loss of wanderlust since the lifting of travel restrictions in March. For example, this week between Thursday and Sunday, the number of flights has tripled year on year – and that number would have been even greater if airlines and tour operators had kept up. Letting go of so many workers during Covid has backfired – many have since found jobs in other sectors.

Q. When can we expect the situation for travelers to improve?

A. Hopefully by July – but it won’t be anything like pre-pandemic levels. Airlines and tour operators are reluctant to continue with services only to have to cancel at the last minute.

Hopefully the situation for travelers will improve by July, according to the Holiday Guru

Hopefully the situation for travelers will improve by July, according to the Holiday Guru

Q. Does this mean that these companies are likely to continue canceling vacations in advance?

A. Possibly. What TUI is doing with its package holidays from Manchester this month is a bad sign. BA and easyJet also make a lot of early cancellations.

Q. What are my rights if my holiday is eventually cancelled?

A. For package holidays you will be refunded the full amount within 14 days after the announcement of the cancellation. For airline cancellations announced more than two weeks before your flight, the airline is required by law to find an alternative flight that is as close to the original flight as possible, possibly with another airline.

Q. What if my flight is canceled just before we leave?

A. Your airline has a duty to get you to your destination on the next flight. You will also be charged a fee if a flight is canceled within 14 days of departure. If your flight is less than 1,500km, it’s £220, increasing to £520 for long-haul flights. So you have to go to your destination and get money back.

The Guru says that if your flight is canceled just before you travel, your airline has a duty to get you to your destination on the next flight

The Guru says that if your flight is canceled just before you travel, your airline has a duty to get you to your destination on the next flight

Q. If the next available flight is not until the next day, will accommodation be provided?

A. Yes, the airline must offer 3-star accommodation and food. Save your receipts.

Q. Are airports really recruiting enough people to handle the rising demand in the summer?

A. Not now. Major airports need 80 to 90 percent of the workforce for the summer, and at smaller airports it’s more than 70 percent. There are recruitment campaigns and only time will tell if they work.

The Guru recommends arriving at the airport three hours before your flight

The Guru recommends arriving at the airport three hours before your flight

Q. Does this mean we need to allow for more time in airports for flights?

A. Arrive three hours before your flight, but not earlier, as this can make things worse.

Q. What happens if we miss a flight because of all the delays at the airport?

A. You will struggle to get your money back from your airline, airport or travel insurance. So don’t cut it fine.

'Expect a lot of bumps this summer,' warns the Guru, adding that travelers need to manage their expectations when it comes to holidays abroad

‘Expect a lot of bumps this summer,’ warns the Guru, adding that travelers need to manage their expectations when it comes to holidays abroad

Q. Any other travel advice to help travelers this summer?

A. Yes: manage your expectations. Travel just isn’t up to speed yet. Long queues have erupted at the Eurostar terminal in London this week, while confidence in P&O Ferries has plummeted following the massive layoffs in March. Expect a lot of bumps along the way this summer.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP

If you need any advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email us at holidayplanner@dailymail.co.uk.

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