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Holidaymakers urged to check flights before heading to airport after mass cancellations

Holidaymakers flying out of the country on the busiest travel day in four years should check their flights before heading to the airport.

Around 3,000 flights are expected to take off from UK airports today, the highest number of daily departures since December 20, 2019, with a further 11,350 flights departing over the long weekend, equating to more than two million seats.

The huge days of air travel coincide with a three day strike of security workers at Heathrow Airport over a long running pay dispute.

Yesterday the west London travel hub was thrown into a different kind of chaos when IT issues forced British Airways to cancel dozens of flights, with a further 21 grounded today due to the knock-on effect of crews being in the wrong place.

Have you been impacted by the disruption? Email webtravel@reachplc.com

As many as 150 BA flights will be cancelled by the end of the day, according to the Independent.

Passengers on some services that were due to depart Friday evening have been notified their flights are delayed, while BA has urged all flying with the airline today to check their flights before heading to the airport.

A spokesperson for the airline told the Mirror the 'vast majority' of its 300 flights running from Heathrow today will be operating, and that the IT issues have now been resolved.

Customers who find themselves unable to fly on their intended service should be contacted and offered a refund or rebooking to an alternative flight with BA or another carrier.

Passengers spoke of being impacted by the issues yesterday, including a man called Orhan, who said he arrived in Lisbon, Portugal without any of his belonging.

"On flight BA518 Heathrow T5 to Lisbon and have arrived with most passenger’s bags still at Heathrow," he tweeted.

"No real help. Apparently your systems are down and I’m stuck here with no clothes, toiletries or contact lenses for the next four days."

Last December, a technical problem grounded a number of BA flights due to depart the US, which caused knock-on effects with crews and aircraft in the wrong place to resume schedules.

Prior to that, in February 2022, BA passengers faced chaos at Heathrow after the airline cancelled all short-haul flights from the airport due to a technical glitch – which was followed by another tech meltdown in March 2022.

Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel said: "As we approach the busiest travel period since before the pandemic, it's not a good look for British Airways to once again be cancelling flights because of an IT meltdown, especially after the significant disruption it caused travellers last year.

"If your flight with BA is cancelled this half term due to these ongoing technical issues, you will be entitled to a refund or rebooking at the earliest available opportunity, including with other carriers if necessary.

"Passengers are often given the runaround on this right, but it is the law, so it's worth being insistent. It appears the technical issue in this instance is BA's own doing, so any flight cancellations and delays of more than three hours should also be eligible for compensation.

"The Civil Aviation Authority must hold airlines to account so that passengers are treated fairly when things go wrong. Carriers need to face consequences when they flout the rules, and the CAA should be given powers to levy fines."

It isn't just air travel which is abnormally busy this weekend, the roads and ports are also expected to be very full.

Rhe Port of Dover boss Doug Bannister has said the terminal has done everything it can to prevent delays, following 15-hour backlogs to board ferries to France at Easter.

Today 5,500 cars and 350 coaches are due at Dover, with Mr Bannister saying coach arrival times to the port will be staggered to prevent jams.

Closer to home, the RAC say 19.2m will be hitting the roads for leisure trips to make the most of long-awaited sunshine, also making it the busiest late May bank holiday since the pandemic.

Friday may turn out to be busiest, the RAC say. A projected 3 million getaway trips are expected to be made with those seeking to enjoy the long weekend share the roads with those trying to finish their working weeks.