UK Travel: Expect Delays At Heathrow Airport

UK Travel: Expect Delays At Heathrow Airport

Holiday plans in the coming week for thousands of British travellers could fall into disarray as a planned strike is expected to cause severe disruption and delays throughout Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport will be under some added pressure in the coming weeks as baggage handlers and refuelling staff plan to go on strike. Travellers moving through Heathrow should anticipate some disruption to schedules and plan for more time at the airport.

Unite The Trade Union, the group organising the strikes has listed the strike days as the 11th to 13th of February although Heathrow airport also lists the 5th, 9th, and 16th of February.

The weekend strike was strategically chosen to cause as much disruption as possible, as the chosen dates are English schools’ mid-term holidays.

With British restrictions being massively relaxed in the past weeks, the weekend was set to be a strong one for the travel industry, and airports anticipated to be packed. However, the imminent disruption could plunge family holidays booked on half-term breaks and skiing trips into doubt.

Heathrow is an unexceptionally important hub with thousands of international flights passing through London each week for tourists heading to the British capital or on to the continent.

Menzies Aviation, the company at the centre of the strike, may not be a household name for many travellers as most of their work is done behind the scenes. But they are a giant in the industry and function baggage handling and refuelling systems for many of the world’s biggest airlines. They currently function at all five of Heathrow’s terminals and handle services for American Airlines, Qantas, Lufthansa, Air Canada and British Airways among others.

Expect Delays at Heathrow

Passengers who are moving through Heathrow in any capacity through February are strongly advised to keep on top of any developments. Airlines will have the most up-to-date information on any disruption being caused. 

Passengers should make sure they arrive three hours before departure, or even earlier if possible. With a shortage of staff, baggage checking and security may be much longer than usual.

Those transiting through Heathrow over that period of time should also make themselves aware of any potential delays. Refuelling issues in particular could keep some planes on the tarmac longer than anticipated, so a short layover may be a riskier move than normal over the specified dates.

It is possible a deal can be made before the strike, and all travellers are advised to keep abreast of any developments.

Best Time To Visit The UK

The UK recently announced that it will make travel easier.

From 4am on February 11, fully vaccinated passengers will not have to take any kind of Covid test before they travel to England, nor will they have to self-isolate.

Rules have also been relaxed for unvaccinated passengers, who will not have to take a day eight test or self-isolate. But, they will still need pre-departure and day two tests.

The EU is slightly more complicated depending on where a passenger is heading and you need to consider the expiration of the vaccination certificate. However, the EU has implemented an individual-based restriction system instead of a country-based which means travel restrictions will depend on your vaccination status instead of where the traveller came from.

Once again, all travellers should keep abreast of any new developments regarding entry requirements as changes are common.

Do you need to renew your passport? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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And because of the pandemic, don’t forget to get your travel insurance, which will cover you for flight disruptions and pandemic related matters.

IaM can help with your visa application to Europe, the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or a visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

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