Dover delays, compensation, Brexit: Your travel questions answered
Consumer Editor Chris Choi answers your questions on all things travel
The biggest summer getaway for years is now underway, but travellers have been hit by a series of delays at airports, roads and now at the Port of Dover.
Here at "Ask ITV News" we've been answering travel questions for those lucky enough to have holiday plans.
Question 1: Tony, Birmingham
"I work in freight. With all the delays we're seeing in Dover today, I was just wondering how much of an effect Brexit is having on those queues?"Chris Choi: There've been extremely long delays up to 6-7 hours at Dover today - and just to think a lot of people chose ferries to avoid the disruption we’ve seen with planes.
The Port of Dover is blaming the French for "woefully inadequate" border staffing. There have been early reports of the French blaming Brexit. They now don’t prioritise us as they would for example the Spanish or German borders - they regard us as a “third country”. Brexit has certainly brought changes at the border - there are extra checks, passports now need stamping and there are new IT systems. Add to that there are also checks on Covid status.
It seems that today the French border could not cope with what the port of Dover calls a “new world” of post Brexit checks. Question 2: Alia, Bristol
"What are the limits of compensation an airline is obliged to honour, when they've cancelled your flight without notice, and you've already arrived at the airport?"
Chris Choi: Last minute flight cancellations are the scourge of this summer. We’ve heard from people who were told not only on the day of the flight, but when they were at the airport, at boarding gate and even actually on the plane. You are entitled to a refund or replacement flight.
If that replacement flight means you’re delayed two hours or more, it can open the door to compensation including hotel accommodation. The amount of compensation depends on the distance of the flight - but it can be as much as £520 per passenger for long haul. The Civil Aviation Authority has information on how to write a good claim. Question 3: Jamie, Greenwich
"Today is 14 days since I came back from a work trip to Scotland, to not have my bag return with me. Am I due any compensation for this inconvenience of time, considering I've now had to deal without having any work tools and equipment that was in my baggage?"
Chris Choi: You might think it’s the airport's fault, but it’s usually the airline you claim from - the maximum is £1,000 but the CAA says it’s very rare to get that much. And airlines usually don’t consider themselves liable for “consequential losses” unless you get a court to order that by taking legal action.
Travel insurance if you have it is often a better way to get a payout. We contacted the airline, BA, on Jamie’s behalf and it says "We’re doing everything we can …we apologise for the delay". I’m sure you’d rather have your bag than their apology Jamie, but that’s where we are. Question 4: Sunny-Jo, Sheffield
"I'm on holiday in Lanzarote at the moment. What kinds of issues and delays can I expect when I come back to the UK?"
Chris Choi: Airlines and airports have cancelled thousands of flights for this summer in advance - the idea is that this prevents the type of last minute problems you fear. But staff shortages mean the industry is still struggling to keep up with this resurging demand - so nobody can totally rule out more disruption. Many airlines will text or email you with any last minute information while you are away - make sure they have your contact details. And remember - when you are abroad you are still protected by the same rights by virtue of the fact that you’ll be arriving back at a UK airport, This means you have rights to help and compensation if there are problems at the overseas airport.
Question 5: Tom, Newcastle
"How busy will motorways be this summer?"
Chris Choi: The summer surge is underway on motorways with the RAC estimating almost 19 million leisure trips this weekend alone today has been called Frantic Friday. We have a lot of factors this summer. Train strikes will drive more people onto the motorways, there are "Go Slow" petrol price protesters - we have seen examples at various locations including the M3 and the M5 and. A lot of people are avoiding overseas holidays it looks like this could be a third big year for holidays in the UK with high traffic volumes despite record fuel prices. Try to be flexible and avoid the busiest periods, stay In touch with the latest traffic news and checkout roadworks updates.
Question 6: Rachel, Suffolk
How big a concern will Covid be while holidaying this summer?
Chris Choi: Whilst there is now no requirement to provide evidence of vaccination or a negative Covid test when entering or leaving the UK, for some countries, there is.
The UK Foreign Office website provides information on entry requirements for all destinations, so it’s worth checking that before your trip so you can get any documents you need ready. For example, Spain and France both require you to show either proof you’re fully vaccinated or proof of a recent negative Covid test on entry. The USA doesn’t allow anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated to enter – unless you’re a US citizen or you have an exemption.
Question 7: Amanda, Devon
With the cost of living on the rise in the UK, will I be paying more for things abroad too this summer?
Chris Choi: Sadly, rising prices aren’t unique to the UK – they’re being felt across Europe and in other popular holiday destinations such as the US too.
You’ll probably notice paying more for food and drink while you’re away and as is the case at home, prices are climbing at the petrol pumps in many places too.
Consumer experts are reminding people of a few tips to save money where you can:
An important one – if you’re using a card, always choose to pay in the local currency, rather than in pounds. This means that your bank - rather than the retailer – will set your exchange rate - which is likely to be a better deal for you.
Also, remember that since Brexit, you won’t necessarily get free data roaming on your phone in Europe. Check your charges before you go – or turn off roaming when you’re out and about on holiday to be safe. Unfortunately though, your holiday might not be a break from higher prices.