British Airways is cancelling loads of flights right up until the end of June

The chaos at the UK’s national carrier looks set to drag on into the peak summer season

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
News Editor, Time Out UK and Time Out London
British Airways plane
Photograph: Shutterstock

The worst thing about the current travel chaos isn’t that it’s affecting thousands of us. It’s that there’s no end in sight. The lengthy passport renewal delays and hours-long airport queues look set to drag on for months. And now another crappy travel issue looks like it’ll carry on for ages, too.

British Airways, which has already cancelled hundreds of flights over the past few months, says it will be scrapping even more – all the way into summer. The carrier has struggled as staff shortages have coincided with increased demand following the easing of travel restrictions and the Easter holidays.

So why is BA so short on staff? Well, the airline itself has blamed high Covid rates. However, it could also be linked to the fact that the carrier made thousands of employees redundant during the pandemic – and hasn’t yet replaced them. To make matters worse, it often takes much longer to hire new employees in the aviation industry due to additional security checks. 

Originally the disruption to BA flights was expected to last until May, but that’s now been extended to the end of June. To try and reduce the impact on holidaymakers, BA says it will be trimming its schedules in advance, thereby helping avoid last-minute cancellations. The carrier also says that the flights most affected will be on low-demand, frequently-flown routes. However, it hasn’t yet confirmed exactly which flights will be cancelled.

It should be noted that BA was facing problems long before the current staffing issues. Earlier this year the airline suffered huge IT failures, forcing it to cancel or delay hundreds of flights. Over the years, the UK’s national carrier has built an unfortunate reputation for IT glitches and mass data breaches.

If your BA flight is cancelled in the coming months, it helps to know your rights. For a full overview of the airline’s compensation and refund rules, see the ‘conditions of carriage’ here.

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