The UK’s provider of air traffic control services, NATS, said 30 per cent of its staff were unavailable, with some having contracted Covid-19.
The shortage has led to over 160 flights being cancelled, with a daily cap of 800 flights per day being introduced until October 1.
Talking about the situation, Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: “This has been a difficult decision but the action we have taken today means our airlines can fly reliable flight programmes, which gives passengers more certainty that they will not face last minute cancellations.
“We are working closely with NATS to build resilience in the control tower, and this decision means we can prevent as many disruptions as possible. London Gatwick would like to apologise to any passengers who have been impacted by these restrictions.”
If you find yourself affected by the disruption, here are a few tips and tricks on what to do about delayed and cancelled flights.
What should I do if my flight is delayed?
According to the Citizens Advice website, if your flight is delayed for long enough, your airline has to give you:
food and drink;
access to phone calls and emails;
accommodation if you’re delayed overnight - and journeys between the airport and the hotel.
How long the delay has to be depends on the distance of the flight and the countries it is flying between. You can check the flight distance on the WebFlyer website.
The airline might give you vouchers to get these things at the airport. Ask someone who works for the airline if you’re not offered any help.
If they don’t give you help at the airport, keep receipts for expenses and try to claim from the airline later. Airlines only pay for ‘reasonable’ expenses - you are unlikely to get money back for alcohol, expensive meals or luxury hotels.
Am I entitled to compensation if my flight is delayed?
If your flight is delayed by more than three hours and it is the airline’s fault, you’re entitled to compensation from the airline.
You’re unlikely to get compensation if the delay was caused by something outside of the airline’s control, like bad weather or a security risk.
You’re entitled to a set amount of compensation depending on both:
the distance of your flight - check your flight distance on the WebFlyer website
the length of the delay – how late you are getting to your destination
What should I do if my flight is cancelled?
If your flight is cancelled, the compensation that you’re due is different. Here are your options.
You have the legal right to either:
a full refund - including other flights from the airline that you won’t use in the same booking such as onward or return flights
a replacement flight to get you to your destination
if you’re part-way through a journey and you don’t want a replacement flight, you also have a right to a flight back to the airport you originally departed from.
Ask for a refund or replacement at the airport if you can. If not, you can claim from the airline later.
You also have a legal right to:
help with costs – if the cancellation delays you two or more hours
compensation - if you’d be delayed two or more hours by the replacement flight offered and you were given less than two weeks’ notice
If my flight is cancelled can I get compensation?
If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to compensation legally if the cancellation is the airline’s responsibility.
You also qualify if:
the replacement flight delays your arrival by two or more hours;
your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before departure.
The amount of compensation you’re entitled to depends on:
when the flight was cancelled;
the distance of the flight – check the flight distance on the Web Flyer website;
the departure and arrival times of the rescheduled flight.
For your full rights, visit the Citizens’ Advice Website.