Earlier this month, Schiphol confirmed that thousands of flights would be cancelled over the summer in order to limit crowds as the airport continues to face severe staff shortages. Since the news broke, various major airlines have revealed how Schiphol’s decision will affect their flights.
Got a holiday booked for over the summer? Here’s what we know so far about flight cancellations and customer rights for travellers in July and August.
KLM to cancel thousands of bookings
As the largest airline operating out of Schiphol Airport, KLM has been required to cancel thousands of flights in order to meet the targets set by airport management. KLM is having to reduce passenger numbers by 7.000 for the month of July.
In spite of this, last week the airline announced that it was only scrapping a limited number of flights this summer. KLM has yet to confirm exactly how many flights will be cancelled, but has already halted ticket sales for the summer period in order to limit passenger numbers.
Got flights booked with KLM? The airline says that all travellers affected by the cancellations will be offered an “acceptable alternative” which will likely involve them being offered seats on other flights at around the same time as their original booking: “Travellers affected by this will be personally informed as soon as possible.”
Transavia cancels 240 flights in July and August
As part of the KLM Group, Transavia is also a key airline operating thousands of flights out of Schiphol Airport. Transavia is cancelling a total of 240 flights between July 7 and August 14, affecting around 13.000 bookings – but the airline has said more cancellations are possible.
70 percent of travellers have been rebooked onto other flights – either departing from Schiphol or from another Dutch airport – but the remaining 30 percent have had their booking cancelled. Those affected by the cancellations should already have been notified of the changes to their travel plans.
While Transavia appears to be one of the few airlines to have already provided details about how the chaos at Schiphol is affecting their passengers, the Dutch Consumers’ Association has accused the airline of violating European passenger rights. They argue that travellers haven’t been offered the choice between a refund or booking a different flight of their choice.
easyJet protects flights to holiday destinations in southern Europe
easyJet has also confirmed that flights will be cancelled across Europe – including at Schiphol Airport – as a result of staff shortages. While a spokesperson for the airline has said the company is hoping to protect flights to holiday destinations from cancellations, it is not yet known how many or which flights will be affected.
The spokesperson explained that the majority of cancellations would take place on routes where easyJet operates multiple flights per day, while flights to popular southern European holiday destinations, such as Croatia, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, will go ahead as planned.
70 percent of passengers affected by the cancellations will be rebooked on an alternative flight within 24 hours of their original departure time. The remaining 30 percent will be able to request a refund or rebook for another flight, free of charge.
Dutch travel organisations redirect flights to other airports
Corendon has announced that 150 flights initially set to depart from Schiphol are to be redirected to Rotterdam The Hague Airport, and the company has said it hopes no other measures will have to be taken. The Corendon CEO has said the company will organise transportation to and from Rotterdam The Hague Airport for anyone affected by the changes.
TUI has made a similar decision, announcing last week that flights booked for this summer will not be cancelled. Most TUI holidays will therefore be going ahead as planned, although some travellers with flights booked in July or August will be departing from other airports in the Netherlands instead of Schiphol. Sunweb is also redirecting some passengers, rebooking them on flights with different departure times or that depart from a different airport.
Some uncertainty remains for holidaymakers who have flights booked with other airlines. Both TUI and Sunweb have said they hope to have more information about what the cancellations at KLM and Transavia, for example, will mean for travellers by mid-July.
Flights cancelled? Know your rights!
The summer holidays are right around the corner, but thousands of travellers are still waiting to hear whether or not their plans will be affected by Schiphol’s new policy. So, what can you do if you’re worried about your upcoming holiday plans?
If you’ve already booked flights but are now regretting that decision, sadly there doesn’t appear to be much you can do about it. Frank Oostdam, chairperson of The General Dutch Association of Travel Agencies (ANVR), has said that travellers who hope to cancel their flights as a result of the chaos at Schiphol won’t be able to do this for free, as it isn’t considered a valid reason. TUI and Sunweb have made similar statements.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag has said that the Dutch government doesn’t plan on compensating travellers affected by the cancellations at Schiphol this summer, saying that it is up to the individual airlines to offer compensation where necessary. Kaag added that the Ministry of Finance “is not responsible for the day-to-day operational management” at Schiphol: “As understandable as I think it is that people think that the government will do something, that is really not the case.”
Worried about how the crowds at Schiphol will affect your travel plans? Read these tips to make sure your journey goes as smoothly as possible.