Summer Travel Chaos: British Airways, Lufthansa Cancel 2,500 Flights

Traveling abroad soon? You might want to have a Plan B, or C, or maybe even D.

byLewin Day|
heathrow airport

British Airways has announced the cancellation of 1,500 flights for the summer season, reports the BBC. Across the channel, Lufthansa claims to have pulled the plug on around 1,000 more flights. This is the latest of many air travel nightmares in the U.S. and abroad as airlines, airports, and other transportation- and travel-related businesses address the shortages and excesses of 2022.

The decision comes in the wake of cuts made earlier this year to shed 10 percent of flights planned from April to October. The new cuts take this figure up to approximately 11 percent. The U.K. flag carrier has taken advantage of a government amnesty program allowing flight slots to be canceled without losing them on an ongoing basis.

Heathrow and Gatwick services will be affected most severely by the cuts. Repeat daily flights to the same airports will be trimmed back, including to popular holiday destinations like Málaga and Faro. This may leave some scope for customers to rebook on alternative flights on the same dates, where possible.

Travelers have been looking more miserable than usual as staff shortages cause increased delays and cancellations. AP Photo

As the cancellations are happening more than two weeks ahead of time, no compensation will be paid for the inconvenience. Customers are only entitled to a refund for their canceled flights.

British Airways was apologetic in its statement on the issue: "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," said a company spokesperson.

Lufthansa, meanwhile, issued a letter of apology to its customers and staff. In it, it explains that demand continues to rise while its facilities, equipment, and resources simply aren't up to the task. It also briefly mentions travel constraints to some destinations due to restricted air travel over Eastern Europe due to the Ukraina-Russia military conflict.

As airlines try to rebuild its services to pre-pandemic levels, it simply doesn't have enough workers to make things work smoothly at present. It's a common problem across the industry at the present moment.

Industrial action also looms large. Approximately 95 percent of union members recently voted in favor of strike action over pay and conditions, to take place during the peak summer season. The root of the issue is that many check-in and ground staff took a 10 percent pay cut as the pandemic raged, with the airline refusing to restore pay to previous levels for many workers.

For those booked in with British Airways in the next couple of months, it will pay to keep a close eye on your flight status. Until staffing issues are resolved and normality returns, flying anywhere will remain a gamble for some time.

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