These 20 destinations offer the strongest safeguard against flight cancellations

A certain degree of trepidation comes with jetting abroad for a summer holiday this year. Airports – stressful at the best of times – have been overwhelmed by the return of mass tourism, leading to long queues at security checkpoints, while staff shortages have seen hundreds of departures from the UK have been cancelled each week, some with less than an hour’s notice

© Getty palma mallorca holiday destination – Getty

Sunseekers are understandably keen to dodge the chaos, and Telegraph Travel has already offered plenty of advice in this regard. Flying with Ryanair would be a decent start. It has proven itself virtually impervious to the problems witnessed elsewhere. Indeed, when we crunched the numbers for a single month (May 7 to June 6), we discovered that the Irish airline had only cancelled one out of every 4,366 UK departures, compared to one in 26 for easyJet, one in 46 for Wizz Air, and one in 92 for BA. Savvy travellers might also wish to avoid Sundays (Saturdays are a far better bet) and evening services (11am is the sweet spot for a successful departure). 

But there’s another tactic that might just save your summer break: opting for a popular route. It won’t guarantee your flight isn’t cancelled, of course. But it will give you the best chance of easily finding another way to your final destination if this worst case scenario does come to pass.

So which routes from Britain are best served this summer? We asked OAG, the leading aviation analyst, to provide the data. When it comes to appealing holiday options (with all due respect to Dublin and Frankfurt, they are hardly gateways to sun and sea), Spain is the clear winner. 

In the week commencing July 18, there are a remarkable 551 departures from British airports to Palma de Mallorca, 411 to Malaga, 357 to Alicante, 285 to Barcelona, 251 to Tenerife and 233 to Ibiza. In total, 3,102 Spain-bound flights will leave the UK that week. If one assumes that each will carry around 200 passengers, that’s around 620,000 sun-starved heat-seekers. Look out, the British are coming!

To illustrate the point, imagine your 720am EasyJet departure from Gatwick to Mallorca on July 18 is cancelled. Given the number of flights being scrapped from the West Sussex hub, this is not beyond the realms of possibility. Well wipe away those tears, because there are alternative flights from Gatwick at 0905, 1155, 1405 (all with EasyJet), 1510 (with BA), 1610 (EasyJet), 1705 (Wizz), 1750 (EasyJet), 2035 (Tui) and 2155 (EasyJet), plus a bevy of options from other London airports. You will be drinking your weight in sangria after all. 

Faro, capital of Portugal’s Algarve region, is another decent bet, with 357 planes heading there from Britain in the seven days from July 18.

A pair of Turkish destinations, Antalya – with 254 departures – and Dalaman – with 236 – also make the top 20 (see table below). As for Greek islands, Crete is the most in-demand, with its two major airports, Heraklion and Chania, welcoming a total of 178 flights, followed by Corfu (156), Rhodes (140) and Zakynthos (88).  

© Provided by The Telegraph crete holiday greece – Getty

Perhaps you don’t want to follow the herd, and a holiday in a Spanish honeypot is your idea of hell. But there are quieter resorts just a short drive from even the most popular entry points. In Mallorca, for example, there’s Santanyí, in the south-east of the island, a town as peaceful as it is pretty, as well as plenty of options in its overlooked interior. Arrivals to Malaga can escape the Costa del Sol crowds by heading north to the sleepy but spectacular Sierra Subbética Natural Park

At the opposite end of the scale when it comes to capacity are five destinations with just a single service from the UK for the week commencing July 18: the Greek island of Samos, the German city of Lübeck, Gaziantep in southern Turkey, Calvi, on the northwest coast of Corsica, and Brest, a Breton port. If your flight to one of these is cancelled, you’ll be struggling to find an alternative that doesn’t involve going round the houses. 

Other lightly-served destinations include the Faroe Islands, Ohrid (North Macedonia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – each with two departures a week – Dresden (Germany), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Bastia (Corsica) – with three – and Lesbos (Greece), Rijeka (Croatia) and Figari (Corsica again) – with four. Corsica, given its size, proximity and undeniable charms, seems strangely underappreciated. The eight weekly services to the island during peak season (four from Gatwick, three from Heathrow and one from Stansted) compares to 52 to Sardinia and 68 to Sicily. 

In total, 13,269 flights are scheduled to depart UK soil for European climes during the third week of July, according to OAG, with 3,431,327 available seats, while for the three-month period from July-September the figure is 174,944 flights, with room for 45,516,926 holidaymakers. No wonder the travel industry is struggling to cope. 

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