How to Navigate the Current Travel Issues

How To Navigate The Current Travel Issues

Business travel should be getting easier now we’re hopefully out of the pandemic, but events of late have conspired otherwise.

Whether it is short-staffing at airports, train strikes, protestors on motorways, or the disruption caused by fuel prices and unpredictable temperatures, there seems to be something each week that puts hurdles in the way of planning a trip.

Air Travel

Air travel has been the worst-hit form of transport and it is worthwhile looking at the stats before you decide how and where to fly. It has been no ordinary summer, but CAA figures give us clues as to which carrier is the most reliable and which is best avoided.

Wizz Air emerged as the villain this summer, with an average delay of more than 14 minutes, while British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both came in at around 12 minutes. EasyJet at under five minutes is a better bet, but Aer Lingus beats them all with an average delay of just three minutes 12 seconds.

Until the UK government thinks otherwise following Brexit, EU law 261 still applies to flight cancellations and delays. If you are affected by delays or cancellations, some carriers will try to tell you to claim on your travel insurance. This is a diversionary tactic, as liability is almost always with the airline.

Carriers might also contend the problem was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ beyond their control, again, this is often not the case. If your claim is rejected, you can use one of the industry’s Alternate Dispute Resolution bodies (ADR) or if the carrier is not a member of an ADR, the CAA will get involved on your behalf.

Travellers wanting to avoid long delays should also consider the airport they fly from and how it is affected by staffing difficulties. Amsterdam Schiphol, for example, has warned security staff shortages will mean an 18% cut in passengers during October, although transfer passengers will not be affected.

Beware that if you miss your flight because of chaos at the airport, your airline is unlikely to be sympathetic if you claim your money back, as the carrier will see the delay as being the responsibility of the airport itself; the message is turn up in good time, grin and bear it. Your airline may however have some sympathy if check-in queues, run by its staff or an agent, are the cause of the delay.

It might be worthwhile booking early on some routes. Demand is increasing, but airlines are being cautious about capacity to concentrate on yield and profitability as they recover from the pandemic.

IATA figures from July reveal Europe’s airlines are experiencing the second-highest traffic load factor in the world (admittedly during peak summer). Compared with the previous July, loads climbed almost 21 percentage points to 86.7%. Carriers are looking for healthy yields, so late booking might not be prudent.

Car Hire

Similarly, another pandemic issue still to be resolved is the shortage of hire cars. Faced with no revenue, especially from airport rentals, many firms sold off their fleets during Covid. Replacements are hard to find due to the shortage of supply of new vehicles, so consequently, rates are likely to remain high for some time.


There are a few other considerations when planning trips. Most UK nationals have enjoyed visa-free travel to Europe throughout their lives and that was due to change this year with the introduction of the EU online visa waiver, costing €7. However, in August, without reason, the European Commission said the introduction of the scheme would be delayed until November 2023.


Meanwhile, one issue to watch out for is passport validity, which has changed since Brexit. Passports must be valid for three months on the date you intend to exit the EU and must have been issued no more than 10 years ago – so beware if your passport had unspent time added to it when you renewed.

It’s one of a number of changes Brexit has brought. If in doubt, Meon Travel’s partner CIBT Visas will advise on this and any other issues before you travel.

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