How to Avoid UK Travel Chaos in 2022

Busy airport

3min read

Published 13 July 2022


Choose your airline wisely

Not all airlines are chaotic. While the likes of easyJet and British Airways have been hitting the headlines with their cancellation rates, some of our other favourites, like Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines, have made limited cuts to their schedule. The key here: do your research. Or, better yet, let us do it for you. We know the most reliable airlines and routes, so will be on hand to help you choose.

Book a package

This is not the time to DIY your holiday – even Simon Calder has attested to that! Some destinations still have COVID restrictions in place that you need to pay attention to, and of course you’ll want to be covered if a cancellation does occur. When you book a package with us, you’re covered by UK Package Travel Regulations. This means that, if any element of your holiday falls through, the entire package fails, so we’ll be here to help rearrange or sort your refund at the drop of a hat.

Airport lounge
Airport lounge
Airport lounge

Go long-haul

The worst affected destinations right now are undoubtedly those around Europe. Avoid the issue altogether and opt for a long-haul holiday instead – as our Where’s Safe to Travel hub attests, big hitters like USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are all open for business, and the perfect reward after two years of limited travel.

Arrive early & treat yourself to a lounge pass

It’s no secret that check-in desks, bag drop, and security are busy. It’s currently a taxing time for both travellers and airport workers, so firstly be sure to exercise patience and politeness when dealing with staff and crew. But our best advice? Be savvy with your timings.

Book a flight that’s earlier in the day, as these are less likely to get cancelled, arrive at the terminal early (no more than 2.5-3 hours before your flight), and have a cool glass of bubbles waiting for you on the other side.

Lounge passes can be prebooked from as little as £25pp, and should definitely be arranged in advance – most lounges are turning down people who haven’t prebooked! Thankfully, our experts can arrange this as part of your trip. It also means you won’t have to wait in line at any restaurants in Departures either, and can simply rock up to the buffet and enjoy all the pre-flight snacks. Bliss. And, if you are delayed, where better to wait it out – within the maximum stay time of course!

Passports and map
Passports and map
Passports and map

Make sure your passport is valid

Under no circumstances should you leave it till the last minute to check your passport validity. You’ll no doubt have heard that passport turnarounds are a little sluggish at the moment. The best way to combat this is to dust off your passport well before you book, then make sure that it’s in date, less than 10 years old, and has at least six months’ validity left on it.

If you’re unsure, chat to one of our experts – we know our stuff and can help you with the latest passport and visas rules for your destination of choice, so you can sit back and just look forward to your holiday.

Look at cruise and ferry options

Of course, amid the flight mayhem, you can always opt for overlanding options. Whether that be heading to France on the ferry or via Eurostar, or embarking on a cruise out of Southampton, we’ve got you covered. Indeed, we have dedicated Cruise Experts who know all the best departures from the UK, so you can hop around the Med, cruise through the Norwegian Fjords, or even go big in the Caribbean.

Cruise shop in Greece
Cruise shop in Greece
Cruise shop in Greece

Flight only? Book via credit card

This should give you that extra layer of protection, should your flight get cancelled. Airlines have been pretty speedy at refunding on cancellations thus far – indeed, last month our expert Alex had money back in her account within three working days after easyJet cancelled her flights to Slovenia. That said, it’s good to be prepared. Also, as mentioned, if you book a package with us (i.e. flights and hotel, or flights and car hire), then you’ll be covered by the UK's Package Travel Regulations too.

Consider flying from a different airport

With London Heathrow limiting daily passengers to 100,000 (4,000 less than current numbers), and London Gatwick seeing more cancellations than any other airport this summer, it might be time to choose a new departure point. Despite latest news that chaos is beginning to ease at Heathrow, a further 16 million people are expected to travel through the airport between now and September as demand ramps up, making alternative departure points an attractive consideration. Typically less busy, regional airports have seen fewer cancellations across the board and, anecdotally, we’ve had positive tales from customers flying from these – including the likes of Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport

Fly hand-luggage only

Face less queues in the airport if you can check-in online, get your boarding pass on your mobile, and only take cabin bags. Some of the busiest sections of the airports are around bag drop and check-in desks, so packing lightly could save you some precious time (and mean more time relaxing in that lounge you’ve prebooked!).

Plan for 2023

Not convinced on 2022 summer holidays? If you'd rather hang fire, we still highly recommend booking ahead for your next trip. Now is the time to get the best prices for travelling in autumn, winter, or even spring/summer 2023. We’ve already got some irresistible deals lined up, not to mention low deposit options for ultimate peace of mind. Simply put: we’ll give you something to look forward to.

Ready to book your next getaway? Check out our range of amazing deals right here, or sign up to our newsletter for the latest offers and travel inspiration. For the latest flight cancellation info, speak to your Travel Consultant or visit FlightAware.

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