Updated 9:31am 30 Nov 2011
On Wednesday 30th November 2011, a strike by the UK’s public sector workers means that Border Control Agency staff are not manning their posts at airports across the country.
Unfortunately for those travelling to Britain on Wednesday, that could mean delays and cancellations, as the ‘passport checkers’ will be severely understaffed.
So should you change your travel plans if you’re flying to or from the UK on Wednesday? Read Skyscanner’s advice below to find out.
When is the strike?
The public sector strikes are due to take place on Wednesday 30 November, 2011. This will affect border control at airports from the evening of Tuesday 29 November until 23:59 on Wednesday 30 November. Starting times will vary as each airport has different shift patterns.
What are the strikes about?
This is a UK-wide public sector strike over pensions that will affect immigration officers in airports (as well as other public sector workers such as teachers).
How will airports and flights be affected?
It’s expected that UK Border Agent staff levels will be about 30-50% of the maximum. This will cause significant disruption and delays at airports across the country. Heathrow and Gatwich are expected to be worst affected, but it’s likely that all airports may face some delays and cancellations. However, according to the BBC, arrivals and take offs at these airports are largely unaffected.
What should I do if I’m flying FROM the UK on strike day (30th November 2011)?
The current advice is that disruption to outbound passengers will be minimal and people should stick to their plans. However, as the situation is uncertain, travellers should keep in touch with their airline – most have been adding updates to their websites and Twitter channels.
What should I do if I’m flying TO the UK on strike day?
Postpone your trip if at all possible. It’s expected that there will be delays at airports and people will have to wait longer at borders. One statement by Heathrow’s COO warned delays of up to 12 hours. Again – contact your airline and take their advice.
Can I switch my flights for free?
Different airlines have different policies on switching flights, so check with the airline you are flying with. For example, Virgin Atlantic say they will allow passengers booked on UK inbound flights to rebook travel up to four days earlier or later. BA say customers can switch flights free of charge. Cathay Pacific has urged passengers to postpone and rebook flights.
Can I claim on my travel insurance for costs incurred due to the strike?
Some insurers will cover policyholders for delays or cancellations that last for longer than 24 hours. But you’ll need to check your policy as they vary widely.