Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – With travel restrictions now easing, coronavirus infection levels are stabilizing and you are fully immune, maybe you are finally thinking about going on vacation. This year is about compensating for vacations that you have not been able to enjoy in the last two years.
Even though you think you have everything under control, the same cannot be said for the entire travel industry, as the pandemic has hit the industry hard, but it seems that many airlines and airports are currently unable to cope with the travel revival.
Countries on both sides of the Atlantic see a large number of flights canceled due to lack of crew, long queues at airports due to lack of staff and car rental prices.
Does this mean we will welcome a summer of chaos? Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but industry experts fear it will.
“I think things are going to get worse,” said consumer lawyer Christopher Elliott, who has been monitoring the situation in the US and Europe, explaining that “summer will be so messy” that he advised his followers to avoid Europe in August. , high season.
Elliott blames the airlines for the airline chaos.
“They (the airlines) would realize that they have cut staff and laid off during the pandemic, and now the demand is growing and they are caught by surprise. They have not been able to get staff fast enough to meet demand.” , said Elliott, founder of the nonprofit organization Elliott Advocacy.
British Airways, the UK national carrier, has been responsible for technical problems with massive flight cancellations in the US since last year.
Aviation chaos in the UK
Images of queues, cluttered luggage, often abandoned as travelers tired of waiting for hours, dominated the British media.
On Thursday, Stansted Airport, the hub of the budget Ryanair airline outside London, advised passengers traveling for the Easter holiday to bring their luggage to the airport 24 hours before their flight.
The two companies currently doing so in the UK are EasyJet and British Airways, both of which have experienced unprecedented staff shortages since the end of the month, resulting in the cancellation of dozens of flights each day.
On April 14, a UK consumer organization called “Which?” Letter to the Civil Aviation Authority based on customer testimony that British Airways did not inform them of their rights regarding flight cancellations and delays.
British Airways did not respond to a request for comment from CNN, but said “Which one?” In a statement: “We always fulfill our legal obligations.”
“Which?” Editor Rory Boland said the current chaos in the UK is “worse than in many other countries,” he told CNN.
“I have been in contact with some people (from the aviation sector) who have been laid off during the pandemic. They have been offered to return with worse wages, worse conditions … If airports and airlines do not increase their offers “It will take a long time to increase the staff,” said Poland.
What about the United States?
For his part, Courtney Miller, managing director of analysis at The Air Current, said that after two months of restrictions, “we can go out and fly.”
But he acknowledges that the experience is “worse and more expensive, with the possibility of delays or cancellations”, especially in the United States.
And what about the problem? Miller saw it as “things are wonderful and extremely wonderful, and we fight to keep going.”
Miller added that the sudden recovery of the domestic US market last summer without demand rising by 70 percent from pre-pandemic levels and airlines simply did not have the infrastructure to respond.
“We are seeing massive cancellations again, airlines are reducing their schedules. Prices are above very high levels,” Miller said. “People like to talk about (the price of) oil, but that’s not why. The problem is that there are more people who want to travel than there are places that are busy.” we have “.
“We have the infrastructure, but it will take time.”
And when faced with the chaos of travel, just remember that the people you meet are likely to get paid badly.
“Working in the travel industry often means working long hours, especially at an airport,” said George Morgan-Greenville, founder of luxury tour operator Red Savannah.
For him, the aviation sector should provide better conditions.
“Anyone who has not traveled because of the pandemic wants to travel now,” Morgan-Greenville said. “For any business, dealing with this growth will be a test.”
“We had the capacity, ie the world-class airports and infrastructure. But it will take time and the airports will have to make the jobs very attractive,” he noted.