UK holidaymakers planning a trip abroad ithis summer have been warned to expect a “summer of chaos” in airports.

Staff shortages are expected to cause mass disruption nationwide as the aviation industry continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff shortages has led to passengers being forced to wait in long queues outside of airports for several hours.

The situation has been described as “absolute chaos” and “manic” by UK holidaymakers.

The boss of budget airline Ryanair has warned that flight delays and cancellations will continue “right throughout the summer” as airports suffer amid staff shortages.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said passengers should brace for a “less than satisfactory experience”, with flight delays due to last across the peak season and some airlines cancelling between 5% and 10% of flights.

He told Sky News this was “deeply regrettable”.

He said: “This problem is going to continue particularly at airports like Gatwick and Heathrow right throughout the summer.

“It will be worse at weekends and better during the week.”

As Brits look ahead to summer holidays it may be useful to know the cancellation process for flights as the aviation sector continues to suffer from staff shortages.

Here is some of the most popular air travel firms and contact details if you are affected.

What happens if you miss your flight due to airport delays

British Airways

If your journey is supposed to completed by September, 30th 2022, you are eligible for a voucher equal to the value of your flight.

The voucher will be valid for 12 months, up until September 30th, 2023 and can be used to pay for, or towards, any future bookings.

If you have to cancel your flight withing the next 28 days due to unavoidable circumstances you can claim a refund. More details can be found on the British Airways website.

If your flight is cancelled you can contact the airline directly.


According to the Ryanair website, once a flight is operational and does not exceed a five-hour delay then it is not possible to claim a refund.

However, flights are changeable up to 2.5 hours before a flight, but remember they cannot be cancelled.

You can change your flight on the Ryanair website, or contact the customer service team directly.

The website says you will be eligible for a full refund on flights if:

  • we change the scheduled departure time by at least 5 hours;
  • this is unacceptable to you; and
  • we cannot book you on an alternative flight which is acceptable to you.


If you cancel your easyJet flight withing 24 hours of making your booking you will be entitled to a full refund, minus the cancellation fee.

If easyJet needs to cancel or delay your flight the firm will contact you directly and transfer you to another available easyJet flight to the same (or a nearby) destination for free, or if you prefer you can get a full refund.

Depending on the circumstances of any cancellation or delay, you may also be entitled to necessary overnight accommodation and/or compensation under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

It’s worth noting that ff you book your flight with a third party, a travel agent for example, they may be responsible for contacting you.

More details can be found on the easyJet website.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic allows you to cancel your booked flight withing 24 hours of buying your ticket, for a full refund on the price of your ticket.

For more information on cancelling your flight, you can head to the virgin atlantic website.


Passengers can cancel flights via the Emirates website. If you cancel your flight withing 24 hours of making the booking, then you will not need to pay a cancellation fee.

To get a refund on a ticket you haven’t used, you can cancel the ticket via Manage your booking and complete the refund form. Depending on the conditions, you could be refunded via the card you used to purchase your ticket.

More information can be found on the Emirates website.

TUI Airways

If you have a flight-only ticket with TUI Airways then you can contact the company directly by calling 0203 451 2688 to discuss your options with travel exports.

You can also visit TUI’s Manage My Bookings page.