Why Travelers in Europe Face Canceled Flights, Delayed Luggage, Endless Lines

As tourism rebounded from a drop in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that laid off baggage handlers, ticket sellers and cabin crew are unable to keep track of the number of travelers

Flying to Europe right now?

This is not the right time.

A severe labor shortage coupled with a post-pandemic vacation boom has led to canceled flights, baggage delays and passengers facing endless queues.

Why does this happen?

Because tourism has rebounded after a drop in travel during the pandemic. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects total passenger numbers in Europe to reach 86% of 2019 figures in 2022.

Meanwhile, companies that have laid off baggage handlers, ticket sellers and aircraft cabin crew are unable to keep pace and hire fast enough.

Which airports are affected?

According Financial Express, Major European hubs – Heathrow, Schiphol in Amsterdam and airports in Brussels, Frankfurt and several others – are struggling with delayed baggage.

Passengers’ baggage is not loaded onto planes on time and several flights depart without carrying baggage due to a labor shortage. Additionally, airports experience long queues, causing passengers to miss flights.

An arrivals board at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport showing some delayed and canceled flights. PA

According CNN Travelerlast week at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, more than 100 flights were canceled after the workers’ union staged a strike to demand higher wages.

Meanwhile, in Italy, a similar situation unfolded at several airports last week after air traffic controllers and cabin crew went on a 24-hour strike.

Several Scandinavian Airlines pilots also announced a strike in late June in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, over pay issues, according to the report.

According PoliticsBrussels Airport was forced to cancel the 232 departing scheduled flights due to a strike by screening staff.

“It’s been a complicated week,” said Nathalie Pierard, spokeswoman for Brussels Airport, adding that “such actions obviously don’t work in our favour” for an industry struggling to return to the status quo after a damaging pandemic. “We are less than two weeks away from the summer holidays and therefore we have more and more passengers.”

Geneviève Frydman, who works in risk management for Amazon, was among many passengers stranded. She was due to fly from Prague to Brussels on Monday afternoon but was told at 11pm on Sunday that her flight was cancelled.

“My frustration was that there was no support for the passengers. It was really a ‘we can’t help you, there’s no solution how we can help you, there’s no ‘there’s no schedule that we can provide you with,'” she told the outlet. “Not only are you stuck in another country, but you don’t get any advice from the airline, whom you trusted to help you get home.”

According BloombergLondon’s Heathrow, one of the hardest-hit airports, has asked airlines operating at two of its terminals to cancel 10% of their flights.

Explained why travelers in Europe face canceled flights delayed baggage endless queues

Representative image. PA

Heathrow has asked several airlines to cancel some flights to reduce the load. Experts anticipate a worsening of the situation in the coming days. No flights took off from Brussels on Monday due to social unrest and a lack of security guards. The force majeure made it impossible for the airport to guarantee the safety of passengers and staff, according to the report.

Schiphol in Amsterdam said it was limiting the number of passengers per day to 70,000 – 13,500 less than the airlines had planned – due to the shortage of workers.

“I don’t see travel demand dissipating”

However, Emirates said it does not see travel demand dissipating any time soon.

Speaking to CNBC, Tim Clark, chairman of the Dubai-based carrier and airline veteran, said he had “never seen anything” like the headwinds the industry is currently facing. Still, vacationers don’t seem deterred from taking advantage of newly resumed travel opportunities.

“It’s unlikely that whatever the barrier — whether it’s price, whether it’s airport facilities — that demand will dissipate in the near term,” Clark said. CNBC Dan Murphy at the 78th Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association in Doha, Qatar.

“Asia could witness similar chaos”

Industry insiders have warned that Asia could witness similar chaos.

Straits time quoted Iata’s Regional Vice President for Asia-Pacific, Philip Goh, telling reporters on Monday: “Asia does not yet experience a lot of airport congestion. But I am aware that this will change very quickly when the travel momentum will continue to build as they have in recent months.”

“The fact is that in two years a lot of people have left the industry, and it takes time to bring those workers back, to train them, to get them security cleared,” he said.

“If airports and airlines are smart enough to look at the problems facing Europe, they must be able to plan ahead for the demand curve. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have learned anything.”

With contributions from agencies

Mary I. Bruner