AirHelp, the world’s largest air passenger rights organisation, has ranked the UK’s worst airports to travel from this summer, based on disruption levels in June 2023.

More than 9.8 million air passengers had flights scheduled last month from UK airports. Of these passengers, more than 4 million were disrupted and over 335,000 were eligible for compensation.

Under UK261 and EC261 law, UK passengers are eligible to flight compensation of up to £540 when faced with cancellations less than 14 days before departure, delays of more than three hours, or denied boarding due to overbooking – all where the airline is at fault.

UK airports with worst disruption rates

AirHelp ranked 10 of the UK’s busiest airports, each with at least 2,000 flights scheduled last month. London Gatwick had the highest disruption rate in the UK, with approximately 54% of all flights either delayed or cancelled. This was followed by Bristol Airport (46%) and Edinburgh Airport (45%), and London Luton (43%) and Manchester International (43%).

London Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, ranked sixth with a disruption rate of 40%, despite having the most total disrupted flights (7,500 of 19,000 flights were either delayed or cancelled). This meant that London Heathrow saw 82,000 passengers facing cancellations and 23,000 missing flight connections last month.

Of the 10 busiest airports, those with lowest disruption rates were Birmingham International (34%), London Stansted (35%), Glasgow International (35%) and London City (36%). London Stansted also had the lowest cancellation rate, with 1% of flights cancelled in June.

A summer of improvement?

Flight data from last year indicates that 45% of the 32 million passengers travelling between June and August 2022 faced disruptions from UK airports. Approximately 470,000 passengers had their flights cancelled entirely and 700,000 were eligible for compensation. London Gatwick had the lowest level of timely departures last year, with 53% of flights disrupted – a level similar to that of June 2023.

Flight data from the first half of 2023 could be a further warning to holiday-goers this summer about the worst travel spots. Approximately 54 million passengers had scheduled flights from UK airports between January and June 2023 and 17 million (31%) were disrupted. Of these, 1.1 million were eligible for compensation.

Tomasz Pawliszyn, CEO of AirHelp, said: “UK air passengers have become no stranger to travel chaos since the pandemic, and it unfortunately looks as though this will continue for the foreseeable future. Current staffing issues and strike action have made it extremely difficult for airports and airlines to get back on track, which has been made more challenging by the speed at which Europe’s travel appetite has returned.

“With air travel set to reach pre-pandemic levels this summer, the question for many passengers will be whether the industry has the resources to serve this demand, and what this means for their own travels when facing disruptions.”

AirHelp has one of the most accurate collections of flight data in the world, including the number of flights, passengers, disruptions, delays and cancellations from airports and airlines across the globe.
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