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Will the disruption at UK airports ruin your Easter holiday plans?

The long queues and flight cancellations look set to continue throughout the week

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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With hours-long queues and thousands of cancelled flights, UK airports are pretty chaotic right now. Right across the country, airports and airlines are short on staff for security, baggage handling and cabin crew – and it’s having huge knock-on effects for people’s holidays.

Naturally, with the Easter weekend looming, people have got some big questions on their minds: how long will the disruption last? And will it ruin their Easter getaway plans?

Well, frustratingly, it looks like the disruption is set to continue well into the next few months. At Manchester airport – one of the worst hit by staff shortages – local mayor Andy Burnham said the delays could last two more months. The airport’s CEO, meanwhile, has formally apologised for the chaos, saying that delays at peak periods could last until the summer.

Other airports and airlines haven’t offered a timeframe for when the queues and cancellations might end. However, it’s expected that after the Easter weekend – once demand for flights is lower – there should be fewer queues. Which isn’t exactly reassuring for anyone looking to get away this weekend, is it? 

The staff shortages are being caused by both mass pandemic redundancies and rising Covid cases. And though you might wonder why airports don’t just hire more people, it’s actually a pretty difficult problem to quickly solve. Aviation-industry employees must be thoroughly vetted, so the hiring process takes longer. In short, there’s no quick fix. 

There are a few easy things you can do to make sure you don’t miss your holidays. Firstly, check in online and as early as your airline allows. Then get to the airport several hours before your flight, allowing time for lengthy queues at security.

If your flight is cancelled or delayed, on the other hand, it helps to simply know your rights. Here is a handy Citizen’s Advice page setting out what your rights are depending on your airline, length of flight and destination.

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