‘Furious’ French over Brexit are blamed for Channel holiday hell

Bitter French officials still ‘furious’ about Brexit were today blamed for delays of up to 30 hours at Dover and Folkestone over the weekend as holidaymakers were warned to expect queues for the rest of the summer.

Border chiefs on both sides of the Channel are expected to meet on Monday to discuss how to avoid similar queues ahead of the busiest travel weekend of the year from this Friday – with cross-Channel infrastructure on a ‘knife edge’ because travel numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels and more border checks.

A war of words has erupted between London and Paris over the carnage at passport control that has disrupted the beginning of Britain’s summer getaway.

Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said today that France is punishing Britain for Brexit and holds a grudge against Boris Johnson for delivering. He suggest the French are being over-officious with stamping the passports of every traveller using ferries from Dover and the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Hitting back François Decoster, vice president of the Haute-de-France region, which includes Calais, said the UK had gone back 30 years because of Brexit and suggested the UK should ask the EU to let them rejoin Schengen – the arrangement that allows free movement of people on the continent.

Mr Hunt said: ‘The bigger issue is that there is a lack of willingness in the French Government to be cooperative with Britain in any way at all because they are furious about Brexit, they are furious with Boris, they think we have mucked up their long term plan for a united Europe.

‘And I hope that when we have a new PM that we can have a reset with France and the EU so we can cooperate as good neighbours should’.

On Saturday families were still stuck in between 21 and 30-hour delays which saw them stranded in their cars overnight in queues at Folkestone, described as Britain’s ‘hotspot of holiday hell’. Children changed into their pyjamas and brushed their teeth on the roadside while desperate passengers were forced to use the verge as a public toilet.

The debacle began on Friday morning when a ‘critical incident’ was declared at Dover where motorists faced waits of more than seven hours. The two days of gridlock at the start of the busiest school holiday season for years was blamed on a lack of French border guards after only six out of 12 booths were initially manned. 

The ‘critical incident’ remains in place today although queues at ports are much lighter this morning. But there were problems with Eurostar services with passengers complaining services to Paris were cancelled with just 90 minutes notice.

Lighter Queues At Folkestone For The Channel Tunnel Today After A Weekend Of Chaos Experts Predict Could Be Repeated Through The Summer

Lighter queues at Folkestone for the Channel Tunnel today after a weekend of chaos experts predict could be repeated through the summer

Vehicles Queue At The Border Control Booths At The Port Of Dover Yesterday, With Some Queues Forming Lines Of Several Miles

Vehicles Queue At The Border Control Booths At The Port Of Dover Yesterday, With Some Queues Forming Lines Of Several Miles

Vehicles queue at the border control booths at the Port of Dover yesterday, with some queues forming lines of several miles

Frustrated Eurostar Travellers (Pictured) Say There Were Over 1,000 People Queueing From Around 10Am To 11Am Yesterday. Trains Were Cancelled At The Last Minute Today

Frustrated Eurostar Travellers (Pictured) Say There Were Over 1,000 People Queueing From Around 10Am To 11Am Yesterday. Trains Were Cancelled At The Last Minute Today

Frustrated Eurostar travellers (pictured) say there were over 1,000 people queueing from around 10am to 11am yesterday. Trains were cancelled at the last minute today

Hitting back Mr Decoster said the UK leaving the EU is to blame for the carnage – and suggested the British government should consider rejoining Schengen – a move that will infuriate British ministers.

He said: ‘Brexit means we must do new controls. I have felt very sorry for the families, we like to welcome British tourists and we want them to come easily to our beautiful places. We have a few non-EU members who are members of Schengen, why don’t we explore such an idea?’.

Passport alert last year 

Ministers were warned about failures surrounding the passport crisis more than a year ago, a whistleblower has revealed.

The French-owned firm Teleperformance contracted to run the plagued Passport Office’s contact services was missing targets for calls and emails as long ago as May 2021.

A review highlighted its ‘unsatisfactory’ performance and need for improvement to ministers last summer. Teleperformance was also accused of worsening the backlog by giving wrong and unhelpful advice.

A whistleblower told the Observer that people were turning up at passport offices ‘in their droves’ after getting a ‘bad service’ from the helpline.

Teleperformance UK said it had worked ‘to handle an unprecedented surge in volumes and our current service levels have significantly improved’.

The French official said the region’s chief of police will be meeting the chief of British border control to ‘avoid the same situation next weekend’.

He said ‘Next weekend will be the busiest weekend of the year and this situation cannot happen again. When I saw the scenes yesterday it reminded me of when I had to cross the border between Hungary and Romania in 1992. 30 years ago, before these countries joined the EU. I consider that in Europe that such images don’t belong to this time, they belong to an old epoch’.

He added: ‘I don’t know if you have to stamp the passport, but I regret that we have to use passports again. This is something that should be removed.

‘This is not what I call progress. This is the opposite of progress. This is not what we want for Europe. We want to see freedom of movement. Unfortunately we need more controls [between Britain and France].

British officials accused France of failing to sufficiently staff the border, while the French blamed the delays on additional checks brought on by Brexit.

Queues are building at the Port of Dover amid fears that the severe disruption seen in recent days could return to Kent throughout the summer.

Ferry operator DFDS told passengers that there were ‘queues of around an hour’ for French border checks on Monday morning, and to ‘allow a minimum of 120 minutes before your departure to complete all controls’.

P&O Ferries wrote on Twitter: ‘The queues have picked up and it is taking approximately one hour to clear passport control.’

Passengers were forced to wait for several hours on Friday as bumper-to-bumper traffic stretching for miles marred the journeys of tens of thousands of families at the start of the school summer holidays.

This was blamed on a staffing shortage at French border control and a serious crash on the M20 motorway.

Toby Howe, senior highways manager at Kent County Council and tactical lead at Kent Resilience Forum, said the current queues at the Port of Dover were ‘normal for a Monday morning’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that next weekend is likely to be ‘very busy’.

Mr Howe said: ‘It’s the second busiest getaway weekend of the summer holidays.

‘As we’ve just found out the weekend just gone, traffic numbers travelling across the Channel were back to pre-pandemic levels and with the increased checks it is slower to get through, so it takes very little to cause those tailbacks.’

On what the rest of the summer could bring, he said: ‘Basically it’s a very vulnerable situation, it takes very little to cause further issues.’

A Busy Terminal 2 At Heathrow Airport As People Face Delays In Checking In For Their Holidays This Morning

A Busy Terminal 2 At Heathrow Airport As People Face Delays In Checking In For Their Holidays This Morning

A busy Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport as people face delays in checking in for their holidays this morning

Long Queues At The Hm Passport Office, Victoria, London This Morning As People Try To Get Last Minute Travel Documents

Long Queues At The Hm Passport Office, Victoria, London This Morning As People Try To Get Last Minute Travel Documents

Long queues at the HM Passport Office, Victoria, London this morning as people try to get last minute travel documents

National Highways re-opened the coastbound M20 between Junctions 9 and 11 in Kent shortly after 1am on Monday.

Anti-Brexit French Police Chief Fernand Gontier (Pictured) Is Accused Of Being Responsible For Delays At The Port

Anti-Brexit French Police Chief Fernand Gontier (Pictured) Is Accused Of Being Responsible For Delays At The Port

Anti-Brexit French police chief Fernand Gontier (pictured) is accused of being responsible for delays at the port

But the motorway remains closed to non-freight traffic between Junctions 8 and 9 as part of Operation Brock, which is in place due to the difficulties at Dover.

There were also long queues on the roads approaching Eurotunnel’s Folkestone terminal over the weekend.

John Keefe, director of public affairs for Eurotunnel owner Getlink, said ‘our services ran on time’, but there was ‘much more congestion on the roads’.

Asked what can be done to prevent the issues from reoccurring, he told BBC One’s Breakfast that passport checks could be ‘moved online’.

He said: ‘A lot of modern technology exists that would reduce the reliance on staff to conduct those processes in situ.

‘There’s a lot of work that can be done around improving the border.’

Mr Keefe went on to state that ‘we need to have more resilience in the motorway network’ and better rail connections to Folkestone.

He added: ‘There are definitely solutions. These solutions are not new. They’ve been on the table for many, many years.

‘But hopefully something like this will actually focus attention.’

Although the tourist traffic at Dover had been cleared by the early hours of yesterday morning, the situation around Folkestone remained dire.

Drivers were stuck in tailbacks after a stretch of the M20 was turned into a holding area to manage the backlog of some 600 lorries – with some delayed for up to 18 hours – waiting to cross at Dover.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: ‘Dover has now recovered, but Folkestone has become the hotspot of holiday hell.

Huge Queues Pictured On The Approach To The Port Of Dover On Sunday Morning As Delays Continued Into A Third Day At The Channel Crossing

Huge Queues Pictured On The Approach To The Port Of Dover On Sunday Morning As Delays Continued Into A Third Day At The Channel Crossing

Huge queues pictured on the approach to the Port of Dover on Sunday morning as delays continued into a third day at the Channel crossing

Holidaymakers Wait Outside Their Cars In Gridlocked Traffic Pictured Close To The Port Of Dover Yesterday Morning

Holidaymakers Wait Outside Their Cars In Gridlocked Traffic Pictured Close To The Port Of Dover Yesterday Morning

Holidaymakers wait outside their cars in gridlocked traffic pictured close to the Port of Dover yesterday morning

A Driver Reaches Out To Take A Bottle Of Water From A Member Of The Coastguard, Who Have Been Drafted In To Assist Holidaymakers This Afternoon

A Driver Reaches Out To Take A Bottle Of Water From A Member Of The Coastguard, Who Have Been Drafted In To Assist Holidaymakers This Afternoon

A driver reaches out to take a bottle of water from a member of the coastguard, who have been drafted in to assist holidaymakers this afternoon

‘Good progress has been made and we hope that by tonight we should be back to usual traffic levels.’

But the AA warned holidaymakers they could face a repeat of this congestion on weekends ‘across the summer’.

Families battle 21-hour delays as Folkestone Eurotunnel chaos continues for a third day 

Father-of-three Manesh Luthra left his Essex home with his family at 4am on Saturday and reached close to the Eurotunnel shortly before 6am.

He told the BBC: ‘We joined the back of the queue for what was the worse 21 hours experienced. We moved metres in hours.’

Mr Luthra said the family were tempted to give up ‘numerous times’ as they received ‘no info, no support and no supplies’.

He added: ‘It was savage, I was worried there would be an accident.’

Another holidaymaker Joan, who is travelling with her disabled sister, told LBC: ‘We left our hotel and at 8.30am we entered the traffic jam – this is where we have been all day long. We have moved a mile in eight hours. 

‘It is absolutely horrendous, there are people passing out, we have had no police presence, there are people ringing 999, we have had no information. 

‘The hard shoulder is like a public urinal now. People are trying to give their dogs exercise. People are running out of water.’

One man, who was travelling with his wife and two children on Sunday by Eurotunnel, said it was a ‘stressful’ experience being stuck for eight hours in the car before boarding his train.

The man, who gave his name only as Eugene, said that while travelling to France by car suits his family, he would rethink it if every journey was likely to involve such major delays.

The 53-year-old said: ‘Have made this journey a number of times pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit. No such issues apart from occasional minor delay. A shame that this has occurred.’

Jen Knight and her husband Jody, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, took the decision to stay overnight in Ashford in the hope that queues around the Eurotunnel would have eased by today.

But after leaving the nearby town at 5.30am, they did not arrive at the Folkestone travel hub until after 1pm.

She told the BBC: ‘The diversion signs around Kent were a joke. The M20 was closed and there was confusion over the diversion routes.

‘Eventually we got on the A20 which was slow moving. We were moving a mile an hour and in a stationary queue two miles from the Eurotunnel.’

Mrs Knight described the journey as ‘chaotic and arduous’, adding that ‘there didn’t seem to be any staff around’.  

Some 72,000 passengers – more than 200 miles of tourist and freight traffic combined – had been processed at Dover by midday yesterday.

The port was said to be at ‘free-flow levels to the terminals’ but delays of ‘many hours’ at Folkestone were ‘starting to have a knock-on effect further up the motorway network’.

Andrew Dyer-Smith and his family, who are heading to France for their holiday, said the last three miles of their journey took 21 hours.

The father said: ‘We arrived at Folkestone at 9am on Saturday for a train at 10.30am and then have been slowly crawling along for the last 21-plus hours.’ He said his children were dishevelled but managed to sleep, while he and his wife had taken turns at the wheel.

When travellers did eventually reach the Eurotunnel many were horrified to find they faced further lengthy delays to board.

One frustrated woman said it took four hours to get on a train. She said: ‘Children were getting into their pyjamas at the side of the road and brushing their teeth where every man, woman and child had been using the bathroom.’

She said those stuck in queues on the A20 were not provided with any water or facilities, adding: ‘We were treated worse than cattle.’

Rather than improving, the AA said the ‘severe delays’ on the approach to the Eurotunnel in Folkestone were increasing yesterday afternoon.

One weary parent said she had been stuck for more than five hours: ‘It’s hot, I have a child desperate for the toilet and quite frankly I’m fed-up.’

But John Keefe, director of public affairs for Eurotunnel, said the roads were not their responsibility and that he was confident the ‘bit we manage’ – from check-in to departure – was working.

He said: ‘We’re responsible for managing the service – it’s the only place we have any responsibility or authority.’ By yesterday volunteers arrived to hand out emergency supplies such as food and water.

Getlink, which operates the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service, said: ‘The travel situation in Kent remains challenging.

‘The high levels of holiday traffic and unusually high levels of trucks on the roads mean there is congestion on routes leading to the Channel.’

Eurotunnel said its service at Folkestone was delayed with processing time estimated to be about 90 minutes.

With part of the M20 closed throughout the day, some 7,000 holidaymakers heading for the tunnel were directed on to smaller roads causing several miles of tailbacks.

The Department for Transport said it was investing more than £30million to improve facilities in England.

Travel chaos extended to Eurostar cross-Channel services today as a train was cancelled and British passengers remained stranded in France.

Those trying to get across the Channel on Monday were braced for scenes of ‘bedlam’, with thousands crammed into overflowing departure lounges.

It followed similar scenes at Dover and Folkestone, where a lack of French border police was blamed for huge traffic tailbacks and delays.

The 08.01 Monday morning Eurostar service from London to Paris was ‘cancelled for operation reasons,’ Eurostar announced.

A train that was meant to be coming the other way – from Paris to London – was also cancelled on Sunday evening, because of a broken-down train on the line in France.

This had a knock-on effect on all services, as frustrated passengers were told to rebook or cancel their journeys.

Despite this, at the height of the problems on Sunday, only four out on nine Eurostar ticket booths were open at Gare du Nord.

Among those forced to stay in France, rather than returning to their jobs in London on Monday, were cycling friends Marc Bull, Tom Holme, James Speak and Rohan Gokhale.

They had arrived in Dieppe by ferry on Friday, for a weekend that included an arduous pedal to Paris on their Brompton bikes.

‘We were all due on a train on Sunday, but it’s been cancelled, and we all have to stay here,’ said Mr Gokhale, 29.

‘I was due back at work in the City on Monday morning, but there’s not even a guarantee of a train during the day.’

Mr Bull, 39, said: ‘We assume we’ll all have to pay for our own hotel rooms in Paris tonight, but we’ll need to go and speak to Eurostar.’

The group, who are all members of the East London Hockey Club, were – like many caught up in the chaos – unaware of why their trains had been cancelled.

They did not get us far as the departure lounge before Eurostar closed its shutters at the Gare du Nord on Sunday.

Those left inside in the departure lounge included British actor Daniel Robinson, who said: ‘Three hours delayed, possibly four, could have to stay here tonight, this is bedlam.’

And Julia Hill, whose original evening train was also cancelled, wrote on Twitter: ‘Eurostar nightmare this evening.

‘Two trains-worth of people stuck in the very hot, very cramped lounge at Paris Gare de Nord for three plus hours.

Told train won’t leave for at least another hour. Travel truly awful in 2020s.’

Other passengers said their seats on a late-night Eurostar that was due to leave close to midnight had been double booked.

‘It is absolutely horrendous on board,’ said one, who asked to be referred to by her first name of Sarah. ‘People are sitting down, to find other people are sitting in exactly the same place.

‘There is only limited food and water available, and we’re all burning up because of the heat.’

Sylvia Bernard, France’s former Ambassador to the UK, was among those who blamed longer post-Brexit passport checking times the problems which were becoming ‘the new normal’.

‘It’s a mathematical cause of Brexit,’ Ms Bernard told Nick Ferrari on LBC Radio on Monday morning.

It came as officials in Paris resisted efforts to increase the number of daily Eurostar services.

French border officials are at loggerheads with the Channel Tunnel train operator over its plans to add to the number of trains running between London and Paris every day.

Eurostar is itself understood to be pushing to increase the number of trains between the two capitals to 17 a day.

But French border police and security scanning personnel claim that they are suffering from chronic staffing shortages and cannot handle more services, said French government sources.

Tory leadership contenders Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have also pointed the finger of blame at the French, whom they accused of failing to send enough border staff. 

Transport bodies have urged ministers to boost investment in the ‘fragile’ infrastructure at Dover, warning that even minor incidents could contribute to traffic chaos.

Tony Howe, from the Kent Resilience Forum, said: ‘We have a traffic management plan where we can control freight, in particular, to enable traffic to get to the Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover.

‘The trouble is, it is on the knife edge. It takes very little to disrupt that plan.’

Holidaymakers say they were ‘treated worse than cattle’ and forced to sleep in their cars during traffic jams as the Eurotunnel became the latest ‘hotspot of holiday hell’ on Sunday.

As Britain’s summer getaway entered its third day of travel misery, families were still stuck in 21-hour delays which saw them stranded in their cars overnight in queues at Folkestone.

Children changed into their pyjamas and brushed their teeth on the roadside while desperate passengers were forced to use the verge as a public toilet.

The debacle began on Friday morning when a ‘critical incident’ was declared at Dover where motorists faced waits of more than seven hours. The two days of gridlock at the start of the busiest school holiday season for years was blamed on a lack of French border guards after only six out of 12 booths were initially manned.

British officials accused France of failing to sufficiently staff the border, while the French blamed the delays on additional checks brought on by Brexit.

Holidays mayhem… and how to survive airlines, ferries and strikes, as an estimated 70 per cent of families take a break after two years of largely going nowhere

By Mark Palmer, Travel Editor for the OlxPraca 

The baking temperatures which swept across Britain last week may have abated, but travellers are feeling the heat like never before as they look to enjoy a holiday abroad this summer.

It’s estimated that 70 per cent of families have planned or are planning a break following two years of largely going nowhere due to the pandemic.

These plans run the risk of being scuppered by disgraceful scenes such as those witnessed at the weekend at the Port of Dover and at the approach to the Eurotunnel station at Folkestone.

Savvy holidaymakers could be forgiven for thinking reaching the Continent by ferry or train would be a more sensible option than braving an airport. At airports, queues in some cases continue to stretch out of the terminals and, on your return to the UK, you may or may not be reacquainted with your luggage.

The Baking Temperatures Which Swept Across Britain Last Week May Have Abated, But Travellers Are Feeling The Heat Like Never Before As They Look To Enjoy A Holiday Abroad This Summer. Dover Is Seen Above On Sunday

The Baking Temperatures Which Swept Across Britain Last Week May Have Abated, But Travellers Are Feeling The Heat Like Never Before As They Look To Enjoy A Holiday Abroad This Summer. Dover Is Seen Above On Sunday

The baking temperatures which swept across Britain last week may have abated, but travellers are feeling the heat like never before as they look to enjoy a holiday abroad this summer. Dover is seen above on Sunday

Whatever your form of transport, misery awaits. And it’s not as if staying put in the UK is without its travails, as train unions plan strikes and main roads become an assault course of roadworks.

What makes matters worse is that no one accepts responsibility for this summer shocker. Airports blame the airlines for taking furlough money and then letting staff go; airlines blame the airports for not gearing up sooner and failing to anticipate surging travel demand.

Yesterday saw the unedifying spectacle of two heavyweight industry bosses slugging it out over who’s to blame, with former Heathrow chairman Sir Nigel Rudd accusing ex-British Airways boss Willie Walsh of ‘trashing’ the BA brand, in response to Walsh’s accusation that Heathrow’s dealing with the crisis has been ‘farcical.’

Similar skirmishes have broken out between French and UK officials over how many passport booths are manned at UK ports. What’s certainly missing from the British side, however, is a plan of action to limit the sort of disruptions we saw at the weekend.

We voted to leave the EU in 2016 – we’ve had more than six years to sort out a workable border policy with France. It hasn’t happened, and airlines – especially BA and easyJet – have been ill-prepared for the inevitable increase in travel traffic. The onus falls on holidaymakers to negotiate their own way through the chaos. Here’s a helping hand.

Best airlines

Some airlines have performed better than others. Jet2 – operating out of airports in the North and Midlands – laid off only a handful of workers and has kept cancellations down to a minimum.

Even for Londoners, flying from Birmingham airport with Jet2 might be less stressful that leaving from Gatwick with easyJet.

Ryanair, with some 134.5million passengers a year, is also a good bet. Tui, the largest tour operator in Britain, came in for criticism in early spring but says it’s now back on track and ‘confident of getting customers away on their well-deserved holidays’. 

Opt for an early morning flight, less likely to be cancelled or delayed. Fly to short-haul destinations where an airline offers multiple daily flights so, if one is cancelled, there are others you can take.

Don’t turn up five hours before your flight; you won’t be able to check-in. Travelling on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday reduces the likelihood of cancellations (Sunday is particularly prone). When booking long-haul, pick countries where there may just be one flight a day as airlines will not want to cancel and have to rebook 350 people for the following day, requiring them to billet passengers in an airport hotel.

Opt For An Early Morning Flight, Less Likely To Be Cancelled Or Delayed. Fly To Short-Haul Destinations Where An Airline Offers Multiple Daily Flights So, If One Is Cancelled, There Are Others You Can Take. Bristol Airport Is Seen Above On Sunday

Opt For An Early Morning Flight, Less Likely To Be Cancelled Or Delayed. Fly To Short-Haul Destinations Where An Airline Offers Multiple Daily Flights So, If One Is Cancelled, There Are Others You Can Take. Bristol Airport Is Seen Above On Sunday

Opt for an early morning flight, less likely to be cancelled or delayed. Fly to short-haul destinations where an airline offers multiple daily flights so, if one is cancelled, there are others you can take. Bristol Airport is seen above on Sunday

Ferry options

The horrendous queues at the Port of Dover have been caused in part by insufficient numbers of French officials stamping passports, which is required now that we have left the EU.

Average time for a car to be cleared at Dover has increased from 25-30 seconds to between 70 seconds and two minutes. If you absolutely have to take a ferry from Dover, stock up on water and other supplies.

Download the Waze sat-nav, which gives up-to-date information about traffic jams and should find you an alternative route – although remember that thousands of others will be doing the exact same thing.

There are other options for reaching France. Ferries run from Newhaven to Dieppe and from Portsmouth to Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre and St Malo. Three ferries operate between the UK and Spain – Plymouth to Santander and from Portsmouth to Bilbao and Santander.

Tunnel vision

The approach to Le Shuttle has become a bottleneck, with severe delays on the A20 and M20. Operation Block is in action. This is a set of measures introduced by National Highways to keep the M20 open in both directions between junctions 8 and 9.

What this means for cars is that they must leave at junction 8 and follow the diversion route using the A2, M2 and A20, while lorries stay on the M20 and join the queue. There are toilets and other facilities at the terminal, including ‘pets exercise areas’. Sign up for alerts at eurotunnel.com.

Strike alert

Keep abreast of ongoing strike action. Around 40,000 rail workers will walk out on Wednesday across 14 companies after the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union rejected what they called a ‘paltry’ pay offer from Network Rail.

The 24-hour strike comes a day before the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the RAC is warning of long delays on the roads as holidaymakers and commuters take to their cars.

Either leave at the crack of dawn or after the evening rush hour but check first with nationalhighways.co.uk, which tells you of any road closures a week in advance, with many of those taking place from 10pm-6am. With fuel prices soaring, it’s worth trying to avoid motorway service stations where costs on average are 37 pence a litre more than local garages.

Know your rights 

If an airline cancels a flight, you are entitled to be re-booked on the next convenient one (with another airline if necessary), or given a refund that should be paid within 14 days.

If your flight is cancelled at short notice – within two weeks of departure – or delayed for more than three hours, you are due compensation.

This does not apply if the cancellation/delay is caused by ‘air traffic management decisions, political instability, adverse weather conditions or security risks’. Similar rules apply to ferry cancellations and delays.

Glimmers of hope 

Airlines were given an amnesty last month over flight cancellations, whereby they could cancel without paying a financial penalty to the Civil Aviation Authority and would not lose their slots. That amnesty is now finished and so it is less likely that your flight will be cancelled.

Also, airlines – via outside companies contracted to them – are busy recruiting staff, which should see results later in the summer and into autumn. The first weekend after schools have broken up is often a mad scramble. We’re over that now. Hopefully.