Week of travel misery ahead as weather and strikes hit Christmas getaway

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Week of travel misery ahead as weather and strikes hit Christmas getaway

Airports across the UK are slowly returning to normal operations today following a weekend of travel disruption caused by snow and ice, but passengers are being warned to check their flights are operating before travelling leaving home.

Some airports still have significant delays and a handful of cancellations today.

London Gatwick, London Luton and London City airport appeared to be particularly hard it by delays and cancellations.

In a tweet and in a message on its website, Gatwick airport advised passengers that snow and freezing weather may cause disruption today. It added: “Passengers are advised to check fight status with their airline – and also local travel conditions – before departing for the airport.”

British Airways is operating only a reduced schedule to and from London airports today. It said: “We’re very sorry for the disruption and are taking steps to ensure as many as possible are able to travel as planned. Customers whose flights have been cancelled are being offered the option to rebook onto alternative flights and we’re handing out refreshment vouchers and offering hotel accommodation where needed.

“Any customers on cancelled flights, who no longer wish to travel, can accept a full refund. Customers can find details of their consumer rights at ba.com/helpme.

“Before travelling to the airport, please check your flight status.”

The Met Office says freezing conditions are likely to remain for the rest of the week, but the weather will turn milder at the weekend.

Further rail strikes ahead

However, rail strikes starting tomorrow will cause further travel disruption this week and over the rest of the Christmas and New Year period.

Rail bosses are warning people not to travel by train on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week as the RMT, TSSA and Unite unions all take industrial action.

Around half of the UK’s rail network will be closed on those days, and only a fifth of trains are expected to run from 7.30am to 6.30pm.

There will also be knock-on disruption on Thursday morning.

Rail bosses are also advising people not to travel by train unless absolutely necessary on 3, 4, 6, and 7 of January, and they’re warning there will be disruption to train services throughout the whole of the Christmas period, up to 8 January.

And the Foreign Office (FCDO) is warning of possible disruption on trains to France, Belgium and Amsterdam as security staff working for Eurostar are due to strike on 16, 18, 22 and 23 December.

In an update to its travel advice, the FCDO said: “Please keep checking for updates from your travel operator and plan for the possibility of disruption to your journey.”

Airport strikes

In addition, Border Force staff are due to walk out at six UK airports from 23 December, causing further travel misery and leading Home Secretary Suella Braverman to advise Brits to ‘think carefully’ about their Christmas travel plans.

However, in a release issued this morning, Heathrow Airport said ‘the majority of travellers will be unaffected’ by the strikes.

It added: “We are doing everything we can to protect a full flight schedule on strike days, so departing passengers should expect to travel as normal.

“Arriving passengers with UK, EU, US, Canadian and some other passports will be able to use the e-gates as usual and their journeys should be largely unaffected on strike days.”

The airport said Border Force has contingency measures to ensure other arriving passengers are cleared ‘safely and as quickly as possible’.

However, the airport said it is expecting to be busy for the rest of this month and urged passengers not to turn up more than three hours before a long-haul flight and no more than two hours early for shorhaul.

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