Why did easyJet cancel flights? All you need to know about the disruption and what to do if your flight was cancelled

180,000 passengers have been hit by cancellations

An easyJet plane taking off
(Image credit: Getty Images)

easyJet passengers at Gatwick have had their travel plans axed, and customers want to know why easyJet cancelled flights.

Heading off to the airport on a family holiday can be stressful at the best of times, from finding the cheapest flights and making sure you're sitting together on the flight to remembering to pack the essentials and getting to the airport with plenty of time.

And more than 180,000 easyJet passengers at Gatwick airport have found their holiday plans thrown up in the air after the low-cost airline, which operates flights at airports across the UK, has cancelled 1,700 summer flights. We share why easyJet cancelled flights, as well as what to do if your flight is cancelled and how to get your money back.

Why did easyJet cancel flights?

easyJet has cancelled flights due to 'unprecedented' air traffic control delays. Gatwick is the world’s busiest single-runway airport, and easyJet is affected more than other carriers by these delays because they operate around half of the airport’s movements.

On Saturday 8 July, this meant easyJet grounded more than 40 flights to and from Gatwick, affecting more than 6,000 passengers, while many more have been told by the airline that their flights booked for July, August and September have been grounded.

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Simon Calder, travel editor at The Independent, told Good Morning Britain that "some travel insiders say that there are problems with the airline having insufficient staff and resources."

He added that while easyJet cancelled flights over the weekend, Jet2 and Ryanair at Stanstead cancelled none at all.

Can I get a full refund if my easyJet flight is cancelled?

Yes, you can get a full refund if your easyJet flight is cancelled less than seven days before the scheduled departure. Passengers must be informed of their rights and offered to be put on an alternative flight - including other airlines - to fly as soon as possible, and/or provided with a full refund for parts of the ticket not used.

On this occasion, easyJet said it had booked 95% of travellers on replacement flights, meaning 9,000 passengers are currently without a replacement. 

What are my rights if easyJet cancel my flight?

If EasyJet cancel your flight there are several options available to you, and these can be requested by logging on to your booking online or via the easyJet App:

  1. Switch to another flight for free - You can search easyJet flights and make changes to your booking yourself via Manage Bookings. When making changes online, you can choose to change the departure or arrival airport to another one within the same country.
  2. Choose a voucher for the full value of your booking - The voucher is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and gives you the flexibility to book travel anywhere on our network when you’re ready to fly. You can request the voucher yourself via Manage Bookings.
  3. Request a refund - You can get a refund for the full value of your booking. Refunds will be paid to the account you made the booking with. We’re processing refund requests within 7 days, and they may take a few extra days to come through to your bank account. Once you’ve submitted an online refund request, you can track the status of your request online.

An easyJet aeroplane on a runway

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Flights cancelled less that seven days before departure:

  • Airlines are obliged to inform passengers of their rights
  • Airlines must offer a place on an alternative flight - including other airlines - to fly as soon as possible
  • They also should provide a full refund for parts of the ticket not used
  • Extra compensation may be possible for passengers who receive little or no notice about their cancelled flight - and ultimately arrive much later at their destination.

Flights cancelled with less than two weeks' notice:

  • Passengers may be entitled to additional compensation valued at £220 for journey's less than 1,5000km [Glasgow to Amsterdam] and £350 for flights 1,500km to 3,500km [East Midlands to Marrakesh].

Additional help available for those facing delays

Passengers are also permitted to receive refreshments and accommodation as required from airlines while awaiting a new flight - or reimburse reasonable costs at a later date.

Meanwhile, travellers who are booked on affected package holidays booked through members of Abta have the right to alternative arrangements at no extra cost or a full refund without delay.

How do I know if my flight is cancelled?

You can check to see if your flight is cancelled by entering your flight number, airport and departure date in the FlightAware or FlightStats app. Usually, air carriers notify passengers directly about any flight cancellations.

Visit EasyJet to find out more about flights and cancellations.

If you've got a flight booked this summer, you might want to check out our tips for sleeping on a plane, or this mum's travel hack for flying with toddlers.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)