The chaos of travel haunts the airline industry in a hot summer

Prepared by: Hisham Mokhaneh

Is it finally time to think about traveling and taking a short break to somehow forget about the pandemic disasters? Travel restrictions are falling, the rate of infection is stabilizing and you are fully vaccinated. So what’s next? It seems like the perfect year to make up for the holidays you have saved and not enjoyed over the last two years. Or so it seems. Despite all the above positives, the same cannot be measured across the travel industry. Not only do the testing, vaccination and quarantine rules that must be followed when traveling change constantly, but getting to your desired destination will be stressful and the airline industry is definitely at the top of the travel chaos pyramid for this summer.

And after the epidemic hit the sector almost dead, and he escaped for a bit in safety, it seems that many airlines and airports are no longer able to cope with the return of safe and ideal travel to its previous era.

A CNN report said countries on both sides of the Atlantic are seeing large numbers of flights canceled due to lack of crew and staff, congestion at airports, as well as new fares and even car rental companies. who have made the purchase of a car. it looks cheaper than renting it. . However, not everyone was on the wrong side after Delta CEO Ed Bastian declared that March 2022 was the best sales month in the history of the American airline. While things have improved a bit in the United States; As domestic travel is back again, chaos at the UK’s major airports has become the headlines and local newspapers over the past two weeks, and British Airways has warned regulators of possible breaches of industry law. The flight experience may be quieter elsewhere in Europe, but rental cars are not, and that is before you consider the global rise in fuel prices. Should we greet a summer full of travel chaos and agree with the opinion of people and experts who have spoken about it in a relatively obscure way?

old systems

“CNN” quoted Christopher Elliott, a journalist defending consumer rights in the United States and Europe, as believing that we are now feeling what the future holds and that things will only get worse. Elliott advised his supporters to avoid traveling to Europe in August, the peak of the travel season, blaming the airlines for the chaos, saying: “It’s their fault, if they looked a little further back, they would find that during the pandemic “They laid off employees and reduced their numbers, and now that the demand for air travel has increased again, and you find that they are not able to appoint technical staff fast enough to meet demand.” “Airlines in the United States use outdated systems that urgently need updating, and when they fail, the result is massive cancellations,” he added.

British Airways, the UK national carrier, has also been plagued by the same technical issues. On February 26, a technical outage caused the company to cancel all short-haul flights. It was the second technical failure in 10 days and followed similar problems in 2017 and 2018. But since then, things have gotten worse, and hundreds of thousands of passengers have seen their flights delayed, canceled or simply lost due to chaos. which has included some of the UK’s major airports. Headlines in Heathrow and Manchester have rarely been without news since late March; The severe shortage of staff has resulted in queues for hours at check-in, security and passports, and passengers waiting long periods of time before their luggage arrives. And the chaos is only getting worse, with Stansted Airport on Thursday advising passengers traveling for the Easter holiday to check their luggage 24 full hours before the flight.

CNN reported the experience of Italian traveler Enrico Ferro, who traveled to London with British Airways to spend 4 days there with his family and upon arrival, they spent three hours waiting for their luggage to arrive at Heathrow Airport. “We spent the first day of our vacation at the airport,” Ferro said.

Things got worse at the end of the holiday, and the return trip to Venice was canceled when they were already at the gate and ended on a trip to Bologna, then they drove for two hours to go home at dawn. “I chose British Airways over low-cost companies because I was sure their service was better, but then I realized it was not,” Ferro said. I will not experience them again. “

“Our investigation concluded that British Airways neglected to compensate passengers and left families literally penniless when it failed to fly them to their final destinations,” said Rory Boland, of Consumer Supervisor in Britain, Who? On the other hand, British Airways said: “We always fulfill our legal obligations”. Poland said the current chaos in the UK is worse than in many other countries.

Brexit and jobs

Britain’s exit from the European Union has severely divided the aviation industry within the UK; Many attribute the current problems of the country and the chaos of the sector to this controversial movement. This was confirmed by Cole Sandow, managing director of an aviation recruitment network. He said: “Once we received about 60% of job applications to work at London Airport from citizens of European Union countries, but the lack of this European workforce today has caused major problems.” He also blamed travel restrictions that have prompted employers to hire employees “on a need-to-know” basis instead of giving them regular and permanent jobs, which has led to more and more of them leaving industry corridors, looking for the most sustainable and profitable. opportunities from the volatile travel market.

Meanwhile, Lucy Moreton, Secretary-General of the Federation of Migration Services, told the BBC: “The Border Guard forces controlling people coming to the UK are suffering from a catastrophic staff shortage, at a time when the number of passengers is rising during Easter. and cases. ” . With reports of physical battles erupting, passengers leaving the queue and the cancellation of thousands of passengers every day, many will think carefully before deciding to travel to London for a break after the pandemic.

Car rental

Did you arrive at your destination as planned? Were you lucky you got the bags fast? If so, we are sorry to say that the chaos is not over yet and the challenge now is rental cars; High and insufficient vehicle prices, given the ongoing supply chain crisis, have led to a global shortage of newly produced cars, meaning rental companies are still struggling to fill the fleet of tire.

How do you cope with the crisis?

In trying to cope with this storm, all experts agree on flexibility and early booking, but there is more:

* Know your rights: In the US, for example, if an airline cancels your flight, it is obliged to find another way to take you to your destination. In the European Union and the United Kingdom, airlines must redirect passengers to their final destination as soon as possible.

This means they have to reserve a seat for you on a competing airline, train or other means of transportation. And if you are stranded overnight, the airline has to pay for your hotel accommodation as well as your meals. and so on.

* Book a car through an intermediary or through small and independent car rental companies because it can be much cheaper than large and global company chains.

* Choose your airline wisely.

* Book in midweek to get a better fare and get away from the airport crowds.

* Book with an expert or travel consultant: Having a third party take care of your booking relieves stress, they know the entry rules for your destination, the hotels available and if your trip is canceled, they can easily arrange another . Booking through a travel advisor allows you to sit back and enjoy your vacation instead of worrying about the details that can make life miserable.

* Choose a hotel, not a rental house: While private rental prices have risen, hotel rates are currently fixed and have also been reduced in some countries because people prefer to stay in rental homes; Therefore, be sure to ask about hotel room rates first.

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