Airline passengers hit out at the “total chaos” at Heathrow on Thursday morning after the airport ordered flights to be cancelled because it could not handle them.
Thousands of travellers were disrupted by a rare “schedule intervention” which led to the scrapping of 30 flights during the morning peak.
Some passengers did not find out their flights were cancelled until they arrived at what is the UK’s busiest airport.
Travel writer and broadcaster Andy Mossack wrote on Twitter: “Total chaos at Heathrow this morning. British Airways flights cancelled and zero customer service!”
Another affected passenger, Andrew Douglas, described how he was due to be on a flight to go on holiday but had “spent the last four hours in multiple queues at Heathrow Airport because it’s been cancelled”.
He added: “Absolute shambles, complete chaos and only found out at check-in with no prior notification. Horrific service.”
A Heathrow spokesman said the airport “asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the morning peak” as it was expecting more passengers “than the airport currently has capacity to serve”.
He went on: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away, and we apologise for the impact this has on travel plans.
British Airways said in a statement: “As a result of Heathrow’s requirement for all airlines to reduce their schedules, we’ve made a small number of cancellations.
“We’re in contact with affected customers to apologise, advise them of their consumer rights and offer them alternative options, including a refund or rebooking.”
Passengers using Heathrow in recent weeks have experienced long queues, and many have been separated from their luggage for several days.
There are fears that the severe disruption seen at UK airports in the run-up to Easter and the Jubilee bank holiday will return during the peak summer holiday period.