I leave for London in a few weeks, and I’m hoping I don’t fall victim to a flight delay or cancelation on behalf of the current European political climate.
Travelers are facing major disruptions across Europe due to union strikes taking place in various countries. Heathrow airport is advising passengers of potential disruption due to a strike by Unite, which represents security officers, between March 31 and April 9. The union argues that accepting the airport’s proposal of a 10% pay increase would result in a real-terms pay cut, and members are striking “due to need not greed.”
This strike is expected to occur during the busy Easter and spring break travel period and may limit the amount of luggage passengers can bring through the airport. British Airways has already canceled over two dozen flights out of its London hub during the strike, with other airlines flying out of Heathrow also potentially impacted.
In addition to the strike at Heathrow, another strike could impact Easter travel in the UK, with 1,000 Passport Office workers announcing they will be going on strike for five weeks next month, from April 3 to May 5, followed by Belfast workers from April 7 to May 5. The industrial action is over a dispute regarding jobs, pay, and conditions and has raised concerns that some people’s passports will not be processed in time for their summer holidays.
How can you plan ahead?
While I’m going about this whole thing with my fingers crossed and a positive mindset (and a nonrefundable roundtrip ticket at that), you should probably be more diligent. If you have upcoming travels to the affected areas, plan to check regularly with your airline about the status of your flight and arrival and departure options. Contact your airline, check your travel insurance policy, consider alternative transportation, be prepared for delays, and stay informed about any developments.