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British Airways flight cancellations: What you need to know

Passengers stand in a queue to the British Airways check-in desks in the departures. Photo: Reuters/John Sibley
Passengers stand in a queue to the British Airways check-in desks in the departures. Photo: Reuters/John Sibley (John Sibley / reuters)

The UK's biggest airline British Airways (BA) is cancelling flights for thousands of travellers, according to new plans, affecting as much as 70 tourist hotspots.

BA said on Tuesday that it would slash its summer flight schedule further as the aviation industry faces "the most challenging period in its history".

The chaos at UK airports has seen widespread cancellations, long queues and luggage pile ups, as airlines ground flights at the last minute and overstretched security staff scramble to deal with a surge in post-pandemic demand. Worker shortages across both carriers and airports have also been blamed.


Read more: Travel chaos: BA to cancel flights for 100,000 passengers in July

And things are set to get worse for passengers as they face air, rail and road travel chaos, with strike action planned at Heathrow, and other major airlines expected to add more pressure.

How many flights are being cancelled and when?

BA will cancel over 1,000 flights in the coming weeks as it struggles to cope with the disruption and staff shortages that have hit the travel industry this summer.

It is planning to axe 76,000 seats from Heathrow and a further 29,400 will be ditched from Gatwick in July, according to reports, representing 7% of those scheduled from Heathrow and 14% of flights from Gatwick.

In May, the company outlined plans to cut 10% of flights during its summer season, which runs between March and October, in a bid to inject reliability into its operations.

The airline has now decided to slash another 1%, equivalent to about 1,500 flights, the majority of which will be taken out this month.

"We took pre-emptive action earlier this year to reduce our summer schedule to provide customers with as much notice as possible about any changes to their travel plans," a BA spokesperson said.

Read more: British Airways strike to cause summer of travel chaos

Last week, Heathrow airport asked airlines to cancel 30 departures because it was expecting more passenger numbers than it could cope with, leaving up to 6,400 passengers stranded.

The airline, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.L) is also facing strike action as hundreds of Heathrow customer service agents plan to take industrial action this month.

The workers are striking over an ongoing pay dispute regarding a 10% salary cut made during the pandemic. BA has offered them a one-off bonus payment but the employees would like their pay reinstated permanently.

Watch: British Airways workers vote to strike in pay dispute

Which routes and destinations are affected?

More than 100,000 holidaymakers planning to visit Malaga, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca and Faro will be affected by the cancellations, although BA plans primarily to trim routes with multiple daily departures.

Trips to Amsterdam and Athens will also be hit, along with Barcelona, according to reports.

Read more: Travel insurance: The 10 mistakes stopping you from getting a payout

Will holidaymakers get a refund if their flight is cancelled?

British Airways has suggested it will reach out to customers affected by the cancellations, offering either the option of rebooking or a full refund.

"As the entire aviation industry continues to face the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions," it said in a statement. "We’re in touch with customers to apologise and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund."

Watch: Airline refunds: What are your rights as a consumer?

Will other airlines cancel flights?

Europe's largest budget airline, easyJet (EZJ.L) has cut thousands of flights over recent months, and additional cancellations could be announced over soon after airlines were given permission to cancel flights this summer without incurring in any fines as the government introduced an "airline slot amnesty".

Tour holiday operator TUI (TUI.L) told Yahoo Finance UK that it's not planning further cancellations, but will give customers "as much notice and support as possible" in the "rare event" of disruption.

Read more: Airline slot amnesty: will my flight get cancelled?

Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK & Ireland said: "Last minute flight delays and cancellations are always deeply regrettable and disappointing for customers.

I’d personally like to reassure customers that we continue to work closely with the government, our suppliers and our airport partners to address the issues that caused the disruption.

"We’re confident we’ve got the staff we need to get customers away on their well-deserved holidays this summer, and we don’t have any more cancellations planned."

A spokesperson for Ryanair (RYA.IR) said the airline is operating its "full flight schedules this summer, with no disruptions due to staffing shortages".

They added: "We expect minimal (if any) disruption to our flights operating to/from Spain as a result of cabin crew strikes called by the USO and SITCPLA unions from 12 July to 28 July.