Why are flights being cancelled from London airports? Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton cancellations explained

Many flights departing from London have been cancelled

People across London have faced major disruptions to their May half-term and Jubilee bank holiday plans with flight cancellations and delays up and down the country.

With schools off for the first time since Covid restrictions were fully lifted in England and Wales, airports have seen an influx of holidaymakers looking to escape to the sun.

Many EU countries have also begun easing the testing requirements for Covid, meaning more people are able to travel.

There are only certain circumstances where an airline doesn’t have to help or compensate you (image: AFP/Getty Images)
There are only certain circumstances where an airline doesn’t have to help or compensate you (image: AFP/Getty Images)
There are only certain circumstances where an airline doesn’t have to help or compensate you (image: AFP/Getty Images)

However, sadly  many airlines including Easyjet, British Airways and Tui have cancelled some departing flights, and passengers have missed flights due to large queues and delays getting through airport security.

Gatwick has been one of the worst hit airports in the UK for delays and cancellations with the worst offending airline being Easyjet.

So, why are so many flights being cancelled? Here’s what you need to know.

Which airlines have cancelled flights?

On 26 May, Easyjet cancelled around 200 flights due to IT issues and the company later announced that it would cut around 240 more flights that were scheduled to depart before or on 6 June.

Among some of the cancelled destinations were: Rome, Lisbon, Madrid, Prague, Venice, Seville and more.

Tui announced a small number of cancellations including some flights departing from Gatwick.

British Airways announced it would cancel at least 124 short-haul flights from Heathrow on Wednesday 1 June. This was the first wave of what the airline called ‘pre-planned’ reduction in scheduled flights.

The airline confirmed that passengers on these flights were given advance notice.

Why are flights being cancelled?

There are multiple reasons behind the mass cancellations.

Easyjet has blamed its flight cancellations on a backlog caused by software issues.

TUI has yet to release concrete details surrounding its cancellations, simply saying the disruption is due to “operational and supply chain issues”, as well as an influx of passengers travelling.

A spokesperson for the travel company said: “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience to customers who have experienced flight delays or a flight cancellation.

“Delays have been caused due to a combination of factors and we are doing everything we can to keep customers updated, and will provide refreshments and, where appropriate, provide hotel accommodation.”

British Airways spoke to LondonWorld about the cancellations stating that ‘resource challenges’ were the source of the cancellations: “any cancellations being reported for British Airways were pre-planned and customers were notified at the time.”

“In order to help provide customers with more certainty in the months to come, we took the decision a while back to reduce our schedule by 10% (around 8,000 roundtrips) until the end of October as a result of resource challenges.”

“As a guide, we’ve managed to accommodate around 85% of affected passengers to arrive at their destination within 24 hours of their original scheduled arrival.”

How can I check if my flight has been cancelled?

For the latest information on cancellations you should visit the website of the airport from which your flight is departing.

You can find out the information for Gatwick departures on its website’s departures and arrivals page.

Cancellation information for Luton airport can be found on the airport’s official website.

Information on whether your flight from Heathrow has been cancelled can be found on the airport’s departures and arrivals page.

Can I get compensation for my flight being cancelled?

If your flight is cancelled or delayed by a certain amount of time, you should be able to get compensation.

The delay time varies from airline to airline so it is best to check directly with your airline.

Tui said that refunds would be available to those affected.

In a statement, the airline said: “Where we have made the difficult decision to cancel a small number of flights, customers will receive a full refund within 14 days and we will contact them directly to help them try and find another holiday.

“We would like to thank our customers for their understanding and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

You can find out more about how you can claim a refund due to a cancelled flight with TUI via their refunds request form.

British Airways website offers information on how you can claim a refund if your flight has been affected by the ongoing disruptions.

For passengers due to fly with Easyjet you can find out more about whether you are entitled to a refund or compensation and when you will get it from their delays and cancellations page.

Law UK261 covers disruption to any flights departing from a UK airport, as well as flights arriving at a UK or EU airport on a UK or EU airline, meaning you should be entitled to flight compensation.

Every airline has a duty to get you to your destination with as little delay as possible. They should offer you passage on a rival carrier if their flights are full or cancelled.

Airlines must offer assistance and care such as food vouchers and accommodation if your flight is delay under the following parameters:

  • More than two hours for a short-haul flight under 1,500km 
  • More than three hours for medium-haul flights between 1,500km to 3,500km
  • More than four hours for long-haul flights over 3,500km