Summer Travel: Airport Delays and How to Minimise Them

Nothing beats that feeling when you step off an airconditioned aeroplane and feel the wave of heat. But for many holidaymakers in the UK, travelling abroad to our favourite destinations has been marred with endless delays and flight cancellations.

The complications stem from the Covid-19 pandemic and the scaling back of the travel industry due to lockdown restrictions. To compensate for losses, airlines drastically cut their workforces and have since struggled to recruit new employees to deal with the surge in passenger numbers.

To ease the issue, senior airport officials have called for Government changes to relax the recruitment process for staff as rigorous background and security checks can take a minimum of 14 weeks to complete. However, a spokesperson for the HMRC, which grants access to personal records, has said: ‘[they] have a responsibility to protect sensitive information.’

The far-reaching impact of Covid-related cutbacks has not only been felt in the aviation industry. Rail passengers have also experienced severe delays through a combination of reduced services and strike actions. Whilst strategies are being put in place to minimise the impact on passengers, it has been warned that disruption to the travel industry is likely to continue throughout summer.

So how can you best prepare?

Arriving too early for a flight can add to airport delays. According to aviation consultant Bernard Levell, airports are designed around “operational capacity” meaning infrastructure and staffing are based on the number of take-off and landing slots per hour, which in turn dictate the number of passengers an airport expects every hour.

Outside of the major UK airports, such as Heathrow and Gatwick, the peak departure time is early in the morning. Passengers travelling from regional airports should consider travelling on early flights to avoid a domino effect of delays building up through the day.

Whilst it may not be possible to dodge travel chaos completely, we can all aim for a stress-free start to our holidays.

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