Easter travel disruption hits holiday plans for thousands in UK

More than 100 flights cancelled as lengthy queues form at Dover Port

Travel disruption has hit the UK in what is predicted to be the busiest travel day of the Easter weekend.

An estimated 4.62 million journeys are likely to be made across the UK on Good Friday, with a further 22.48 million across the bank holiday weekend in what could be the busiest in years.

More delays are predicted following travel chaos on Thursday, with passengers at airports, ferry terminals, and railway stations left waiting for hours in long queues.

At least 100 flights have already been cancelled at airports across Britain on Friday, many from the biggest flight hubs, London Heathrow and London Gatwick.

Some Dover to Calais sailings have also been cancelled, which caused large queues of lorries forming on roads approaching the Port of Dover. Images showed huge lines of cars stretching back for miles.

On top of all the travel disruption, supplies of petrol and diesel at filling stations in some areas of the country have been at around half their usual level as the UK’s travel network comes under pressure.

Ferry operator DFDS initially advised customers on Friday morning to arrive at least at least 90 minutes before their departure time, adding that it is “expecting a busy day through the Port of Dover”.

Long queues for ferries at the Port of Dover, south-east England, on Easter Friday. PA.

It later updated this guidance, encouraging passengers to allow at least two hours.

Ashley Griffiths-Beamon, 33, and his husband Damian Griffiths-Beamon, 36, had their honeymoon plans ruined after they missed their ferry amid long queues in Dover.

The pair arrived in Dover shortly after 6am for their 8.30am ferry.

After missing it, they were rebooked onto a 9.55am ferry.

“I’m upset and frustrated.

“We had lovely plans for today which have now been ruined,” Mr Ashley Griffiths-Beamon told the PA news agency.

Amanda Burton, 33, from Peterborough, said she arrived in Dover at 4am on Friday morning, but missed her 8am ferry.

She said the disruption was “ridiculous”, adding that there were “only four people on border control … We are off to Bruges for the weekend.

It came as temperatures hit 20.2°C (68F) in Northolt, west London by 1pm, with the mercury expected to hit 23°C (73F) in the late afternoon, making it the hottest day of the year so far.

The current highest temperature is 20.8°C which was recorded in two places, St James Park in London on March 23 and Treknow in Cornwall on March 25.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Hot weather, lack of trains and an increase in UK staycations means that the roads will be busier than usual this Easter with 27.6m journeys.

“Jams are already present on the M20 due to Operation Stack and the M25 is suffering heavy congestion on the west side around Heathrow and the east near Dartford.

“Holiday traffic to the SW has led to jams on the M4 and M5 near Bristol.

“The backbone of Britain via the M1 and M6 is also suffering from heavy traffic and crashes with hotspots near Hemel Hempstead, Sandbach and Bamber Bridge.

“Drivers are advised to check their cars before travelling and in particular tyre pressures, oil, windscreen washer and fuel levels, as well as preparing for themselves with water and snacks.

“Give yourselves extra time for the journey and build regular stops at least every two hours or so into your trip.”

Passengers at London St Pancras railway station said they were standing in long queues for services to Europe on Thursday morning.

Many reported hour-long waits at Manchester and Birmingham airports, while dozens of British Airways and easyJet flights were cancelled at Heathrow.

Rail passengers have also been warned of further delays as Network Rail carries out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83 million over the weekend.

Updated: April 15, 2022, 1:35 PM