Avoid These 8 European Airports This SummerOr Your Vacation Might Be Ruined
Just don’t go there.
The signs are all there: flying this summer is going to be stress-inducing. The scenes at airports are straight out of a traveler’s worst nightmare. Standing in queues for hours, camping at the airport, finally reaching the counter, and being informed that there’s been a last-minute flight cancelation. All across Europe (and in the U.S.), fliers are plagued by every hassle imaginable. So yeah, a hellish summer for travelers is in the cards. But some airports are having a tougher time than others. So, your best bet for avoiding soul-crushing delays is to avoid those delay-stricken airports like you would coronavirus (here’s looking at you, Heathrow). INSIDER TIPRemember that you’re paying through the nose to fly these days and you are entitled to compensation if your flight is canceled or severely delayed.
The busiest airport in London is not a pretty sight these days with snaking queues and piled-up luggage. Heathrow is preemptively canceling flights and union strikes are adding to a cocktail of troubles that already includes staff shortages. British Airways has trimmed nearly 30,000 flights from its schedule through October, so you can expect mayhem to continue.
Labor problems have hit the airport hard, and passengers have been complaining about the lack of personnel on the ground. A woman waded through a sea of bags for three hours in hopes of finding her lost luggage a week after arriving in the U.K. It may take months for her belongings to reach her.
The second-largest airport in the U.K. is reducing its capacity in the summer and limiting daily take-offs and landings. This move comes after hundreds of flights were canceled during the Jubilee weekend, many of them last minute.
Low-cost carrier easyJet has been blamed for a lot of the mess that left furious passengers stranded at the airport. It is the biggest airline operating at Gatwick and it is one of the worst airlines to fly with this summer. It has canceled around 10,000 of its flights scheduled in July, August, and September, and the cabin crew strikes in Spain have also disrupted services. In fact, easyJet CEO Peter Bellew also resigned after the chaotic start of the summer season. If you’re still in the process of booking, avoid both easyJet and Gatwick.
Manchester is another airport in England that has been upending travelers’ plans since March. The surge in passengers and a deficit of resources have stretched the airport to the limit. The queues for check-in reached the car park earlier this month, angry travelers tweeted , but delays, cancelations, and luggage woes have been going on for months.
WHERE: The Netherlands
Schiphol is the third-largest airport in Europe and one of the region’s major hubs. But insufficient security staff has turned an otherwise efficient airport into a nightmare. Last month, travelers queued up for five to six hours to get through security. The airport then announced that it was capping the number of travelers flying through it to 67,500 per day in July and 72,500 in August to make it easier on everyone. The airport is also advising fliers to arrive not more than four hours before their flight and bring minimum baggage.
Madrid Barajas Airport
In June, Iberia Airlines declared that around 15,000 passengers had missed their flights since March 1 due to long queues at Madrid airport’s passport control. And there is another problem in Spanish airports these days: lack of transport from the airport. The government is deploying more police officers to airports to ease the pressure, while the Spain Tourism Board has blasted the government for “unacceptable scenes.”
These problems are also persistent at Malaga and Barcelona. To make matters worse, the cabin crew of Ryanair and easyJet in Spain are demanding better working conditions and they are planning strikes all through July, which will continue to cause disruptions.
Dublin passengers have also suffered long delays at the airport. People have been complaining about the wait times, delayed flights, cancelations, mishandled luggage, and insufficient bus services. The headlines are discussing miles-long queues and passengers waiting for days for their luggage. Meanwhile, the airport has been actively tweeting advice and recommendations on how to make things better. It has tweeted its busiest times, so people can factor in when planning their travels, and also warned that car parking demand will far outweigh the supply.
Army personnel have been asked to stay on standby and help the airport staff this summer.
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Another important hub in Europe that you should be wary of is Paris’ CDG. Staffing problems and flight cancelations are mucking up vacations, but the airport is also dealing with union strikes , leading to more planes being parked. The workers are demanding a pay hike and staging walkouts, and given the way the negotiations have gone, this isn’t likely to be sorted soon.
Adding insult to injury, a technical problem led to 15 flights leaving without luggage and caused another bag pile up.
German carrier Lufthansa is also trimming more than 3,000 flights from this summer schedule, affecting its major cities. The understaffed German airports just can’t keep up with the demand (around 7,200 vacancies need to be filled), so you will be met with similar scenes of chaos here.