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Simon Calder’s travel advice ahead of Christmas strike action

Simon Calder’s travel advice ahead of Christmas strike action

With the wintertime weather conditions on us, and rail strikes looming – are we heading for a travel nightmare just before Christmas? With 12 strike times over the festive period of time, thousands and thousands of journeys are likely to be disrupted so our Travel guy, Simon Calder, is below to assist you and your cherished kinds come across a way dwelling this Christmas.

What are my legal rights if climate wreck my travel designs?

Rail: You can either get a refund on your ticket for a cancelled teach – or declare Hold off Repay if your practice is late (often as tiny as 15 minutes adrift) 

Flights: Below European air passengers’ rights guidelines, travellers whose flights are cancelled or delayed are entitled to be flown to their spot as shortly as doable – and will have to be offered with meals, and if needed lodging, until finally they are in a position to travel. 

What day are the teach strikes this week?

  • Teach cancellations get started this afternoon ahead of the upcoming round of countrywide rail strikes Tuesday and Wednesday’s 48 hour strike. 

  • Thursday will be a “respite” day, however however with lots of knock-on disruption.

  • Friday and Saturday see yet another two times of industrial action 

Does that imply no trains at all?

  • Practice operators may possibly be warning everybody to continue to be absent, but at the similar time they are running additional solutions for the duration of the coming 7 days than at any time due to the fact national strikes started six months ago. 

  • On the other hand there will be no trains operating at all to some major towns these types of as Portsmouth, Swansea, Aberdeen, Inverness, Stoke-on-Trent and Lincoln.

Why are they placing yet again?

  • There are various disputes involving distinct companies, which include Network Rail and 14 practice operators. 

  • The strikes have been called by the RMT union in a very long and bitter dispute about pay back, occupation protection and operating preparations. 

  • Unions say any pay provide ought to replicate the mounting cost of residing, just after rejecting a pay back increase offer of 4{32bc5e747b31d501df756e0d52c4fc33c2ecc33869222042bcd2be76582ed298} in 2022 and 2023 – tied to station ticket business office closures and modifications in who closes the doors on trains.

What about the strikes later this thirty day period?

It is really seeking grim, with twelve times of Christmas and New Calendar year strikes, plus time beyond regulation bans (where by personnel refuse to operate extra time) 

  • One certain prepare route is a distinct nightmare: if you pass up the last Chiltern Railways coach tonight from London to Birmingham, you are going to have to hold out 4 entire months until the next 1. That’s since strikes on 24-27 December and 3/4 and 6/7 January join forces with an additional time ban and festive engineering operate by now prepared!

Will strikes affect flights much too?

  • 23rd December is the day when we’ll see what happens at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff airports when troops exchange Border Power officers in their roles at passport handle.

Why are they striking?

  • About 1,000 Public and Industrial Providers (PCS) union associates which includes individuals who operate in passport command – are using industrial action just after the Residence Workplace offered staff a 2{32bc5e747b31d501df756e0d52c4fc33c2ecc33869222042bcd2be76582ed298} fork out increase as a substitute of the 10{32bc5e747b31d501df756e0d52c4fc33c2ecc33869222042bcd2be76582ed298} they requested.

When will we see the worst effects?


  • Heathrow on your own is a massive headache for officers – 583 flights with 126,700 seats are scheduled to get there at Heathrow on 23 December. When the precise selection of passengers will be decrease, simply because not each seat will be loaded, the determine will problem people trying to find to place mitigating steps in place. 

  • Christmas Day, as expected, will be the quietest of the strike days for Heathrow, with just 83,400 travellers on 352 flights. But Heathrow returns to full extend from 28-30 December, with all-around 125,000 passengers on 575 flights each day. 

Gatwick and Glasgow

  • Arrival quantities are best on the two Fridays in the strike calendar, 23 and 30 December. Gatwick expects over 60,000 arrivals on 325 flights, when Glasgow anticipates additional than 10,000 passengers touching down aboard 85 planes. 

Manchester airport

  • The place bosses are already warning that some flights will be cancelled, the peak is predicted on Boxing Working day: 37,000 passengers on 191 flights. But just about every day apart from Christmas Eve and Xmas Day will be very fast paced. 


  • The essential dates are 23 and 31 December, with around 16,000 arrivals, but 27, 29 and 30 December are also expected to see additional than 15,000 travellers touching down. 


How to get household this Christmas 

When can I travel on the trains? and which routes are best?

Even on strike days, the important intercity routes are nevertheless functioning involving all-around 7.30am and 6.30pm. So you can travel from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leicester, Norwich, Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton, Brighton to London, with chaotic suburban networks around London, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh also minimum influenced. Rural and nearby providers will go through most.

Where can i verify for the most trustworthy information and facts? 

Are mentor operators selecting up the slack? 

  • They are filling up speedy – for case in point on Tuesday from Portsmouth to London, the initial 5 Nationwide Express coaches are entire. Introducing excess providers is tough mainly because drivers and their coaches are already stretched. 

Any suggestions for highway buyers? 

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis claimed: Persons who commonly depend on acquiring absent by teach on Xmas Eve will suffer the most many thanks to the most current strikes introduced.

Until they have effortless obtain to another kind of transportation their festive options will be very well and actually scuppered. The automobile is the natural substitute and for this purpose we’re incredibly very likely to see an increase in website traffic on Xmas Eve.”