London Strikes: Get to the airport on time

Credit: Nikon corporation, Unsplash
Train strikes, airport strikes, bus strikes – should you go on strike?

This year was the first summer in which many people felt able to travel for holidays abroad. Others decided to visit relatives after almost three years due to Covid-19.

The higher-than-expected desire to travel was surprisingly not anticipated by many airlines and airports, thus causing an ‘Airmageddon’ – as mentioned by Forbes.

The past holiday season has been marked by flight delays, often with multiple hour-long wait times, due to lack of staff. In many cases, queues for security checks were circling around the terminals, outside.

This ‘summer of discontent’ in Britain caused a considerable amount of people to cancel their holidays, unwillingly; in London, tube and train strikes blocked airport access through various summer weeks. If not strikes, then heatwaves. While residents were looking for adventures abroad, they were in for an adventure here in the UK, too.

Photo by: NORITSU KOKI, EZ Controller

Coaches, whereas more reliable in terms of operations, not so much in punctuality – plus, demand skyrocketed for them. So the choice was either cramming yourself up on a packed coach, or simply go a day before your flight, to avoid any worries about missed flights, bite your tongue and spend the night. 

I, personally, experienced difficulties travelling: I had to travel to the airport, but was met with strikse along the way, both on the underground and the trains. I had to think what to do in order to catch my flight in the next couple of days. I did not want to risk missing it.

I decided to spend a night at the airport, in order not to miss my flight and avoid the long queues, which was one of the main reasons that people missed their flights.

I took the coach that arrived late in the evening. Due to the train, tube and bus strikes, the traffic on the road was heavy, which combined with average traffic in London during rush hour in the afternoon. All the people on board were worried about their flights – all of them departing in the evening, while mine was the day after, at 1 pm, and I was as happy as I could that we were killing some time on the road. I knew that I will be having a long night at the airport, and an even longer day after. 

When I arrived at the airport, the hour was running late, I tried to check in, so I could pass security, but it was way too early for it. Couldn’t be done, only before 6 hours to the flight. I ended up waiting 15 hours at the airport. Then I waited two more hours due to lack of staff on the plane.

The situation with the flights remains the same as during the summer. They still cancel and delay flights. Make sure you plan your journey in advance. Many people decided to sleep at the airport during this period in order to catch their flights, due to all the strikes that happened. Plan your journey and always check if there strikes happening on the days you have to travel. Plan a lot of time ahead to get to the airport before the flight.

Words: Dafni Belcheva | Subbing: Andreea Bejan, Istvan Botond Beres

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