With summer travel demands causing flight cancellations and delays worldwide, London’s Heathrow Airport has capped the amount of daily passengers to 100,000 and has instructed airlines to stop selling tickets for the summer.
The new restriction will likely cause cancellations with airlines expected to operate summer flights through the British airport at a daily capacity of 104,000 passengers, 4,000 more than the airport will allow.
According to a press release, Heathrow has experienced 40 years of passenger growth in just four months. The airport started recruiting more employees in November and expects to be back at pre-pandemic staff levels by the end of July.
The daily passenger cap will be in effect until Sept. 11.
Heathrow isn’t the only popular European airport that has been forced to implement a limit on the amount of passengers flying in and out.
The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is limiting passengers to 67,500 a day during July and 72,500 for August. Additionally, the Netherlands government ordered airlines to stop selling tickets through July 31 and will only fly passengers during those days who bought tickets prior to the announcement.
Henry Harteveldt, an airline industry analyst, told CBS News the air travel troubles are caused by multiple factors. Airlines are still working to rehire pilots, flight attendants and other employees after the pandemic and the FAA is also in the process of rehiring employees.
Additionally, airlines have scheduled a lot of flights and weather conditions have also contributed. Thunderstorms on the East Coast on Tuesday caused 544 cancellations.
What can you do if your flight is cancelled or delayed?
For those flying to or from Europe, the European Union has a compensation system that American passengers might be unaware of.
Passengers may be able to receive up to 600 euros when flights are cancelled or delayed according to AirHelp, an air passenger rights advocacy organization. This includes delayed flights that were three or more hours late and flights that were cancelled less than 14 days before departure.
This rule applies to flights departing from an EU airport or flights landing in the EU on a European airline.
Before Independence Day weekend, Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, tweeted a reminder to U.S. passengers on receiving compensation for a flight cancellation.
Sometimes an airline will offer you points or miles as compensation, but you are entitled to a cash refund when your flight is canceled.— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) July 2, 2022
When deciding whether to accept miles, it’s helpful to know their value, which varies, but often is estimated at 1 to 1.5 cents per mile.
In the tweet, Buttigieg addressed the difference between being offered miles, which are estimated to be worth one to 1.5 cents per mile, and getting a cash refund.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, if a flight is cancelled and a passenger decides to cancel their trip as a result, they are entitled to a refund even on a non-refundable ticket.
Passengers should also receive refunds for baggage fees and any extras that were purchased.
Currently, there are no federal laws requiring compensation for delayed flights.