Airline passengers have complained of “total chaos” at Heathrow after the airport made a last-minute order to cancel flights because it could not handle them.
Thousands of travellers were disrupted by a rare “schedule intervention” on Thursday morning, 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 the airport, the UK’s busiest.
The travel writer and broadcaster Andy Mossack tweeted: “Total chaos at Heathrow this morning. British Airways flights cancelled and zero customer service!”
Another affected passenger, Andrew Douglas, said he was due to be on a flight 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 spokesperson for Heathrow said the airport asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the morning peak as it was expecting more passengers than it had capacity to serve.
“We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked on to 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,” he said.
“We are working hard to ensure everyone has a smooth journey through Heathrow this summer, and the most important thing is to make sure that all service providers at the airport have enough resources to meet demand.”
Passengers using Heathrow in recent weeks have experienced long queues, and many have been separated from their luggage for several days.
There are fears the disruption at UK airports in the run-up to Easter and the platinum jubilee bank holiday will return during the peak summer holiday period.