(CNN) – London Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world, has taken the extraordinary step of asking airlines to stop selling tickets for outbound travel this summer.
Here’s what you need to know about size.
Why is this happening?
Like many airports around the world, Heathrow is struggling to cope with staff shortages and passenger demand has increased following two years of epidemic disruptions.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said in an open letter to passengers on July 12 that “in the last few weeks, as the number of departing passengers has regularly exceeded 100,000 per day, we have begun to see periods when service is declining. No. Acceptable. “
These temporary measures have been introduced as an attempt to reduce further disruption.
When does it start?
The cap will take effect immediately from July 12 and will last until at least September 11.
I have already booked my ticket. What should I do?
You don’t have to do anything. Your journey will proceed as planned unless you are contacted by your airline with the opposite information. Keep an eye on your email and text alerts and check the airline’s app or website before you go to the airport.
If you want to reschedule or cancel your flight, check the airline’s website for guidance.
“The airport will still be busy,” Holland-Kay said in a July 12 letter. “We ask you to bear with us if it takes a little longer to check in at Heathrow, go to security or collect your bags. We ask passengers to help, making sure they have fulfilled all their cowardly requirements online. Before arriving on, not arriving three hours before their flight, laptops from bags and liquids, ready for safety with aerosols and gels in sealed 100ml plastic bags and using the e-gate in immigration where qualified. “
I am transported by Heathrow. Will I be affected?
Again, your flight will proceed unless you hear otherwise from your airline. Keep an eye out for updates as you prepare to travel.
What should I do if my flight is canceled?
More disruptions are definitely in the cards, and some travelers will be affected by their flights the next day, moving to another airport or being canceled altogether.
Passengers should be prepared to be flexible and be prepared for what they may need to change their travel plans or refund their flights.
What are the problems faced by the passengers?
Canceling a last-minute flight this summer is a big problem. In June 2022, they were 188% higher on outbound flights from the UK, compared to June 2019, according to aviation analytics firm Serium – and that is despite a 22% lower than scheduled flights last month.
Holland-Kay said in an open letter that when recruitment for the summer season began last November, “new colleagues are learning fast but not yet at full speed.”
Ground handlers in particular have significantly less resources, Holland-KA said, adding that they are workers who are contracted by airlines to “check-in staff, load and unload bags and provide turnaround aircraft.”
How do these numbers compare to pre-epidemic travel?
In 2018, the daily number of passengers passing through Heathrow was about 220,000, divided between arrivals and departures.
Can I still buy a departure ticket from Heathrow?
Heathrow’s airline partners have been asked to stop selling summer tickets for unsold seats. So while it is still possible to take some last minute flights, this window of opportunity will soon expire and you run the risk of cancellation or interruption.
Fares for these slightly outstanding flights are currently very high due to strong demand. We recommend that travelers look for alternative options.
What are the options?
Consider flying from another airport in Britain – just an hour’s drive from Birmingham International London East – or traveling by train or ferry.
When traveling this summer, aim to be flexible, travel early in the day if you can and buy travel insurance.
Is there another airport that only affects Heathrow?
“Similar measures have been implemented to control passenger demand at other airports in the UK and around the world,” Holland-Kay said in an open letter. This latest move could encourage other hubs to take stronger action as well.
How are the airlines responding?
Slot amnesty was implemented last month to encourage airlines to remove flights from the schedule without penalizing them.
“Some airlines have taken significant steps, but others have not and we believe more steps are now needed to ensure safe and reliable travel for passengers,” Holland-Kay said in the letter.
CNN has contacted British Airways, a UK flag carrier based at Heathrow, to comment on the situation.
CNN’s Livy Doherty and Anna Stewart contributed to the report.