Heathrow Airport Is Asking Airlines to Stop Selling Tickets This Summer

The airport is temporarily limiting the number of passengers to 100,000 a day

UK Airports Struggle With Long Queues And Cancellations Ahead Of Holiday Weekend
Carl Court / Getty Images

In the midst of what is, quite frankly, a messy summer travel season, London's Heathrow Airport is temporarily limiting its number of departing passengers to 100,000 a day, citing "long queue times, delays for passengers requiring assistance, bags not [traveling] with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality, and last-minute cancellations" as the significant factors behind the decision.

The capacity cap, which went into effect on July 12, will last through Sept. 11. However, Heathrow is forecasting that it will see an average of 104,000 daily travelers throughout the summer. Because the airport has sold a daily average of 1,500 excess seats, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye is requesting that airlines "stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers."

"By making this intervention now, our objective is to protect flights for the vast majority of passengers at Heathrow this summer and to give confidence that everyone who does travel through the airport will have a safe and reliable journey and arrive at their destination with their bags," Holland-Kaye wrote in an open letter to passengers. "We [recognize] that this will mean some summer journeys will either be moved to another day, another airport, or be [canceled], and we [apologize] to those whose travel plans are affected."

Holland-Kaye says that the decision was made in part to protect the "safety and wellbeing" of airport staff. Although the airport began recruiting staff last November in anticipation of this summer's travel season, "new colleagues are learning fast but are not yet up to full speed" while other "critical functions in the airport," such as ground handling, are still under-resourced.

However, Holland-Kaye remains optimistic about the future of travel at Heathrow. By the end of the month, the number of staff working in security will be the same as it was pre-pandemic, while the passenger team has been growing. "We are all recruiting as fast as we can and aim to return to the excellent service you should expect from the UK's hub airport as soon as possible," he wrote.

If you have plans to travel through Heathrow this summer, you can do a few things to ensure a smoother airport experience. "We ask passengers to help by making sure they have completed all their COVID requirements online before they come to the airport, by not arriving earlier than [three] hours before their flight, by being ready for security with laptops out of bags and liquids, aerosols and gels in a sealed 100ml plastic bag, and by using e-gates in immigration where eligible," advised Holland-Kaye.

Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Heathrow Media Centre. "Heathrow Imposes Capacity Cap to Secure Better, More Reliable Summer Journeys." July 12, 2022.