Simon Calder solutions your questions on commute moves and…

“It’s probably the most glorious time of the yr”: lyrics that apparently don’t practice if you happen to’re seeking to commute any place in any respect this Christmas. Right here I do my highest to reply to our readers’ maximum burning questions about getting round all through the strike-ridden festive length.

UK Border Pressure moves

Q: Will departures from Heathrow on 23 December be suffering from the passport strike?

Bradlee M

A: The Public and Business Products and services (PCS) union has introduced commercial motion via UK Border Force group of workers from 23 December till the tip of the yr, aside from 27 December. Stroll-outs will happen at six airports. Those come with the 3 busiest in Britain: Heathrow and Gatwick, serving London, plus Manchester. Additionally affected might be Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports.

The federal government, airports and airways are running on contingency preparations, which is able to see the military introduced in to test passports. Alternatively, they’re going to be no exchange for the extremely skilled and skilled UK Border Pressure group of workers.

To begin with at the first day, 23 December, best arriving passengers might be affected: tests may just take considerably longer. As you realize, passports don’t seem to be checked when leaving the United Kingdom, and so in principle there is not any obstacle for your outbound adventure. However Heathrow is a hectic airport with constrained area and little slack within the machine at the most efficient of instances. It’s conceivable that lengthy queues may just increase, resulting in passengers being hung on planes slightly than disembarking. The ones airplane typically flip round to go away in as low as an hour. If the incoming passengers are nonetheless on board, the planes don’t seem to be going any place.

Had been this to occur, crowds would increase within the departures house and the airport would quickly run out of gates for arriving flights – in all probability triggering cancellations and diversions.

A Heathrow spokesperson tells me: “Our precedence is to make sure passengers get in the course of the border safely and as temporarily as conceivable. The House Place of work advises that immigration and customs tests might take longer all through top instances on strike days, and Heathrow will reinforce Border Pressure to minimise those affects with the purpose of processing passengers in the course of the border as successfully as conceivable.”

Q: We’ve got flights booked from Heathrow to the United States on Boxing Day within the early afternoon. What, for your view, is the possibility that departing flights could be cancelled and, if that is so, is it much more likely to be at the day at quick understand or cancelled upfront? How a lot understand may we think?

Wealthy W

A: I’d be very shocked (1/10 risk) if long-haul flights are cancelled at quick understand, and somewhat shocked (2/10 risk) in the event that they had been cancelled with every week or two’s caution. So for your place I’d chill out.

Q: Are there any cases the place an airline isn’t obliged to get you for your vacation spot? I needless to say if the fault is with the airline then all types of laws kick in akin to prolong repayment. Alternatively if my flight is not on time or cancelled because of commercial motion with, for instance, UK Border Pressure delays, is the airline nonetheless obligation certain to get you for your vacation spot by way of different routes?

My instance could be on a global inbound flight to Heathrow: if not on time considerably as passport regulate, what will be the scenario if we overlooked our connecting trip flight to Scotland?

Lenny G

A: Thankfully from the traveller’s standpoint, Eu air passengers’ rights laws (which were copied and pasted into UK regulation post-Brexit) are for your aspect. The portions providing money repayment for delays and cancellations practice best when the airline is at fault. However the duty-of-care laws be successful no matter the reason for the issue. They require the airline you had been making plans to commute with to seek out you the quickest conceivable strategy to assist you to entire your adventure.

This assumes that you’ve booked (for instance) Johannesburg-London Heathrow-Edinburgh as a connecting price tag. The airline is obliged to make preparations so that you can commute on a later flight if you happen to leave out a connection thru no fault of your individual. (If they’re separate tickets, you’re in bother if the primary flight is severely past due.)

The duty for offering selection flights to passengers whose connections pass awry is if truth be told lengthy established in aviation. The place Europe’s laws vary from different portions of the arena is with regards to lodging and foods. Out of doors Europe, typically an airline can pay for a room and board provided that it’s the service’s fault. For instance, after a technical downside not on time my Avianca flight from the Galapagos, I used to be given a pleasant lodge room (the Guayaquil Hilton), dinner and breakfast via the airline.

But if unhealthy climate halts flights in the United States, you and your bank card are by yourself: at Atlanta airport someday, I used to be steered when calling round lodges to “inform them you’re a distressed passenger”.

Against this, for airways of the United Kingdom and the EU, there’s a strict legal responsibility to supply maintain you.

Q: We’re because of fly from Manchester to Malaga at the morning of 23 December. Hoping this flight might be quite unaffected via the strike. Alternatively we’re because of fly again to Manchester at the afternoon of 29 December and are anxious that this flight may well be affected. One choice we’ve is to ebook some other flight to Liverpool on 30 December as a backup. What do you suppose?

Phil E

A: Don’t pay out for another. It’s the airline’s accountability, now not yours. If, although, you’re flying on easyJet you’ll transfer the date – however now not UK vacation spot – without spending a dime.

Q: Because of fly into Manchester on 26 December getting back from a vacation to Lanzarote. Would you counsel spending cash to switch this flight or simply ready to look how issues pass?


A: Unquestionably don’t alternate anything else. Whilst Manchester is the only airport to substantiate that it’ll have cancellations because of the United Kingdom Border Pressure strike, if yours is chosen for cancellation then the airline should type you out (together with hanging you up in a Lanzarote lodge if essential). So wait and notice what occurs.

By the way, the boss of Jet2 – that could be your airline – says: “We very a lot intend to perform our complete time table of flights all through the festive length, together with at the dates when strike motion is happening.

”Our consumers have labored arduous to make valuable vacation plans, together with seeing friends and family, over the festive length. Our groups will paintings tirelessly to verify we fly everybody to and from their locations in order that they are able to revel in the ones well-merited vacations.”

Q: My spouse is because of fly from Heathrow to Sydney by way of the United States on 23 December at 10.15am. Will have to she doubtlessly attempt to re-book an afternoon previous if conceivable as a contingency? On the other hand, do you suppose she will have to look forward to now to look what transpires in the following few days?

Mick W

A: The latter: look forward to now to look what transpires in the following few days. As above, long-haul flights are much more likely to be preserved.

Q: Because of fly out of Heathrow early morning (8am) on 28 December. This flight is to Doha then connecting to Bangkok after which onto Krabi. Is it value converting flights because of disruption or will it’s lessened as previous day (27 December) isn’t a strike day?

Sarah T

A: I’d chill out: the primary wave of long-haul might be secure, I’m positive.

Q: Do you suppose there’s a risk that the Border Pressure strike might be prolonged to airports rather than those that experience already been introduced? I’m taking a look at flying from Bristol on 29 December 2022 (and returning as soon as the introduced moves have completed) and am now not positive whether or not to ebook.

Nick E

A: To your place I’d now not fear. I consider the airports had been picked at the foundation of getting a top percentage of PCS union individuals. If I’m incorrect on this judgement, and increasing the strike to different airports is an opportunity, then the stoppage would want to be notified via 15 December.

Rail strike probabilities

Q: Will there be any trains working from Euston at the night of Friday 16 December?

Angela H

A: No longer after about 5pm – and for extra far-off locations, properly sooner than that. The remaining trains will go away London Euston for Glasgow Central at 1.30pm, for Manchester at 3.40pm, for Liverpool at 3.56pm and for Birmingham at 4.23pm.

It now turns out completely transparent that each the RMT union and the federal government (which is now calling all of the pictures within the rail dispute) are set at the complete marketing campaign of 12 days of business motion taking its route in the course of the festive season. As a reminder, the affected days are 13-17 December and 3-7 January, plus the strike on Community Rail from 24 to 27 December aimed toward wrecking the standard Christmas engineering paintings.

Q: We’re because of commute to Paris on 18 December and residential from Disneyland on 23 December, via Eurostar. Along with the Eurostar moves which are happening on each the ones days, attending to London might be a ache as a result of the moves on 16 and 17 December.

Eurostar is pronouncing it expects minimum disruption. I’m pondering it could be more secure to reschedule the entirety as I will do this now with out dropping cash. Do you’ve gotten any concept how disrupted the Eurostar products and services usually are?

Sarah P

A: I counsel you to proceed together with your plans. Allow us to get started with the Nice Britain-wide disruption that is occurring from 13 to 17 December because of a walk-out via RMT individuals.

Relying on the place you’re travelling from, there’s a superb likelihood it is possible for you to to achieve the capital with out an excessive amount of tension: widespread rapid products and services are scheduled from the Midlands, the north of England and Scotland to London, in addition to at the Nice Western Railway from Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth, in addition to Southampton, Brighton and the towns of East Anglia.

On my Creation calendar of pre- and post-Christmas commute disruption, the Eurostar dispute rarely options. Individuals of the RMT union running at London St Pancras as safety group of workers for Eurostar will stroll out on 4 days in a dispute over pay: Friday 16, Sunday 18, Thursday 22 and Friday 23 December.

The dates had been selected to coincide with what are anticipated to be the busiest days sooner than Christmas, particularly for British passengers heading in a foreign country on trains in the course of the Channel Tunnel. The group of workers don’t seem to be hired without delay via the cross-Channel rail company, however in the course of the provider supplier Mitie.

My expectation is that the dispute it will be settled upfront, and if it isn’t then non-union group of workers and bosses might be introduced in; there don’t seem to be the hyper-stringent laws on searches that you’d to find artwork airports.

There may well be some delays however I don’t be expecting cancellations – except for for early and past due products and services on 17 December because of the Community Rail strike in the United Kingdom. This is not going to impact you, so have a wonder-filled time. Your homeward adventure will have to now not be affected in any respect via the strike. Simply wrap up heat: I made a pre-Christmas consult with to Disneyland some years in the past and just about iced over.

Continental disruption

Q: I’m flying on 2 January from Alicante to Tenerife with Vueling. I’m anxious about attainable flight cancellation because of team moves, together with this date.

How a lot understand will have to Vueling give me in the event that they intend to cancel my flight?


A: It may well be two weeks, it may well be two mins. However alternatively lengthy it’s, the airline has an obligation of care to you – to fly you there once conceivable, and supply foods and (if essential) lodging when you look forward to the rescheduled flight.

Q: I’ve booked a flight with KLM from Birmingham to Warsaw by way of Amsterdam. I allowed 2 hrs 40 minutes switch time. I’ve now been rebooked me on a flight with 1 hr 45 minutes switch time which I believe is simply too tight. If I leave out the relationship to Warsaw, what occurs?


A: 105 mins will have to be simply fantastic. For those who sadly leave out the relationship, you are going to be rebooked and given a lodge room if essential. Just right success.

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