UK Christmas travel strikes: What UAE travellers need to know

Industrial action at major British airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, is set to cause disruption between December 23 and December 31

Travellers from the UAE to the UK are set to be affected by strikes, including by passport staff, during the Christmas holidays. Getty
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UAE travellers to the UK will be impacted by the planned strikes that will affect airports and rail services nationwide during the Christmas holidays.

Passengers have been warned to allow for extra travel time and not to rely on public transport as strikes are planned on certain dates during the festive period.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union, whose duties include checking passports of passengers arriving in the country, on Wednesday announced plans to strike over Christmas — joining rail staff and highways workers in taking industrial action during the festive period.

Airports across Britain are expected to be affected and passengers have been warned that some flights are likely to be cancelled.

What are the major strike dates?

Passport checks at various UK airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham, will be disrupted as walkouts have been announced from December 23 to December 26 and from December 28 to December 31.

The government said around 2,000 military personnel are being trained to cover border security.

The RMT rail workers' union have announced strikes on December 13 to December 14, December 16 to December 17, and from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on December 27.

Rail strikes have been planned for January 3 to January 4 and January 6 to January 7.

While there are no strike dates for London Underground staff, there will be some fallout from rail strikes where the track is owned by Network Rail. Travellers can expect disruption on parts of the District and Bakerloo lines, the London Overground and Elizabeth line.

What can UAE travellers to the UK do?

Godly Babukutty, owner of Epic Travel In Dubai, advised passengers travelling from the UAE to allow for extra travel time if travelling during the strike period.

“Some people are changing their travel plans due to the strikes because they do not want to get stuck,” said Mr Babukutty.

Godly Babukutty owner of Epic Travel In Dubai, said travellers to the UK should not depend on public transport. Photo: Godly Babukutty

“There will be some hassle at the airport, so travellers have to be well prepared.

“Travellers have to know that emergency services will be affected, so those who intend to travel should either travel before December 23 or after December 31.

“If they choose to travel between this period, they have to be well prepared.

“They have to be cautious and plan so that they do not depend on public transport, as there will be a shortage of staff.”

Up to 30 per cent of flights could be affected by the strikes at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham airports.

Heathrow and other airports said they are working with the airlines and Border Force to mitigate disruption.

Mr Babukutty said delays are expected as personnel drafted in to assist at airports passport control, for example, would not have the experience to deal with the larger number of passengers expected around Christmas time.

Workers in Britain have planned strikes through the month of December, with action also being taken by postal workers, ambulance staff and nurses.

Updated: December 09, 2022, 12:39 PM