Passengers pass out at Gatwick Airport as they are stuck ‘without air conditioning’ due to delays
Passengers ‘fainted’ at Gatwick Airport after flight delays left them waiting ‘without air conditioning’ at some gates, sources say.
Meanwhile, some easyJet passengers complained that their flights were stranded on the tarmac for hours at the airport due to luggage problems.
Frustrated flyers took to social media to vent their anger. One reported that they were stuck on a plane that was going nowhere for six hours.
And in a replay of scenes earlier this week, some waiting passengers complained about the airport’s heat, which was making them sick as Britain remains in the grip of a sweltering heatwave.
It comes after months of chaos at UK airports as a labor shortage combined with higher-than-expected demand for flights has caused travellers’ misery.
Earlier this month, Heathrow Airport ordered some operators to cancel dozens of flights at short notice as it could not accommodate the number of passengers, and hundreds of other flights were canceled throughout the summer.
The latest chaos at Britain’s second-busiest airport came as the country experienced some of its highest temperatures on record this year, with mercury topping 80F (28.7C) in London today.
There was even more travel chaos at Gatwick Airport today. Pictured are passengers queuing at Gatwick’s North Terminal on Friday morning.
EasyJet was among the airlines hit by delays, with some of their passengers complaining of being stuck on the tarmac for hours. Pictured is an easyJet plane landing in Prague
Passengers inside the airport complained about the temperature, with some saying there seemed to be no air conditioning at some gates.
One person wrote: “@Gatwick_Airport please turn on the AC at the gates, Gate 52 is unbearably hot and we’re stuck here.”
Another said: “@Gatwick_Airport can you please turn on the air conditioning at Gate 53 North Terminal. I sat here for 40 long minutes and felt very uncomfortable.’
Another passenger wrote: “Dear @easyJet, has anyone seen the Gran Canaria cabin crew?! We are waiting in a BOILING @Gatwick_Airport, people are passing out, please hurry. Many thanks.’
Things got worse for some passengers when they complained about hours being delayed on their flights, with an easyJet flight from Gatwick to Innsbruck in Austria remaining on the tarmac in Sussex more than six hours after it was scheduled to take off.
Passengers on the 11.15am flight were complaining about the delay, with plane tracker showing FlightRader24 still at the airport at 8.15pm tonight.
A frustrated flyer wrote: “Dear @Gatwick_Airport, We’ve been on the runway for 1.5 hours now. Why didn’t you update @easyJet to an ETA to remove the aircraft from the tarmac. I understand that you have a shortage of staff, but after the Air Con gate earlier in the terminal, the passengers of this flight are angry!’
Another added: “@Gatwick_Airport has so far spent five hours on our plane on the tarmac en route to Innsbruck. The fabulous pilot and crew really helped.’
Meanwhile, a person waiting for the flight to arrive in Austria said they would be delayed returning to the UK.
They wrote: “Stayed in Austria at Innsbruck Airport for hours awaiting flight U28294 – which is not yet departing from @Gatwick_Airport (U28293). Little information available and we are exhausted! It looks like a 6-7 hour delay.’
Meanwhile, passengers on another easyJet flight say they were stranded on the tarmac as they waited for their bags to be loaded onto the plane.
A passenger on the flight to Bari, Italy, even tweeted a picture of fellow flyers looking down at the bags from the plane’s stairs as they waited for help from the ground crew.
A passenger posted this image of people waiting on their plane’s stairs, frantically looking at bags to be loaded onto the flight
EasyJet and Gatwick Airport have been asked to comment.
The chaos comes days after the airport was hit by a water outage after a water main burst in nearby Crawley on Thursday, leaving defective toilets.
Gatwick staff distributed bottled water and brought water tank trucks to the site, with only a limited number of toilets working. While some restaurants had to close earlier, the airport said all had reopened by 5 p.m.
The airport issued an apology and said it was working closely with SES Water, which insisted just before 7pm that “the issue has been resolved”.
It comes as British Airways began contacting passengers on Tuesday, urging them to postpone their flights amid a row between Heathrow and airlines over the airport’s passenger cap.
Travel center bosses in west London sparked fury from tour guides on Tuesday after announcing an immediate limit of 100,000 passengers per day – a move that will affect tens of thousands of travelers in the coming weeks.
Proposals to cut compensation for air travelers come ‘at the worst possible time’
Proposals to cut compensation for air travelers when their flights are delayed or canceled come “at the worst possible time,” ministers have been told.
SNP MP Patricia Gibson (North Ayrshire and Arran) said: “The UK Government’s proposals to reduce compensation rates for delayed, canceled or overbooked domestic flights come at a time when passengers across the UK are facing unprecedented disruption and this cut of compensation can only be bad news for consumers.
“Compensation levels have been set to discourage airlines from operating delayed flights. A reduction opens the door to lower standards that will adversely affect travellers.
“Is the Speaker of the House going to make a statement at the worst possible time expressing his concern about this misguided policy?”
Commons leader Mark Spencer responded that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had been doing “a lot of work” with airlines to try and solve industry challenges.
He added: “I think we’re making progress and I hope by the summer people who have booked holidays can get on those planes and enjoy the summer.”
Airport bosses have ordered UK airlines to “stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers” as Heathrow already expects an average of 104,000 daily departing passengers in the coming months.
Following Heathrow’s announcement, the airlines have reportedly been in intensive talks with the airport and flight planners to try to reduce capacity at Terminals 3 and 5 by up to 15 per cent.
And BA has now started contacting passengers scheduled to fly before July 25 if they can rebook their flight. Industry insiders have suggested the company is filling in flights to facilitate shorter-term cancellations.
However, MailOnline understands the British carrier has made a “small number” of short-haul and domestic cancellations over the next two weeks to accommodate Heathrow’s passenger cap. BA says it put passengers on either trains or similar flights from Heathrow or City airports.
Travel expert Paul Charles, who runs PC Agency’s travel advisory service, shared an email from BA with customers asking passengers traveling in the next two weeks if they would like to rebook their flights for free.
BA said passengers could change their flights to another BA-operated flight on any date within the next 12 months, subject to availability.
Commenting on the email in a post on Twitter, Mr Charles wrote: “I said it was going to be a stressful summer. BA among the airlines operating from Heathrow is now asking those traveling before July 25 to consider rebooking so they can more easily choose which flights need to be canceled at short notice.’
Meanwhile, Emirates announced on Tuesday that it was ignoring an order from Heathrow Airport to cancel flights to comply with a cap on passenger numbers, calling it “completely unreasonable”.
Virgin Atlantic also criticized Heathrow’s actions, claiming it was responsible for outages adding to the chaos.
In response to Emirates’ refusal to cancel flights, a Heathrow spokeswoman said she had “no choice” but to make the “difficult” decision to introduce a passenger cap and said it would be “disappointing” if one Companies “assuming profit” would ensure safe and reliable passenger travel”.
The new measures, set to remain in place until September 11, are part of Heathrow’s latest attempts to prevent a repeat of the chaotic summer holiday scenes observed at airports across the UK over the Easter weekend.