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Travel chaos? What travel chaos?

The news is full of travel disruptions – but almost every flight is taking off without a hitch, and with some basic preparations you have a hassle-free trip this summer.

93% of holidays jet off as planned

With "travel chaos" in the news again, new research* has found that in recent weeks the vast majority of holidaymakers have got away as planned – putting the disruptions into context, and an end to unnecessary worry as Brits get ready to jet off on their summer breaks.

We asked 1,000 UK air travellers this weekend (24th - 26th June) what disruptions, if any, they'd seen to their flights this year.

Almost all (92%) got away as planned. A third (30%) saw no disruptions at all, half (50%) experienced queues that weren't serious enough to miss their flight, while one in ten (11%) experienced some delays with their luggage. Of all the travellers surveyed, just 4% cancelled their plans when their flight was cancelled, and only 4% missed their flight completely because of the queue.

Matthew Pack, Group CEO at Holiday Extras, said,

"We have every sympathy for anyone who has missed out on their chance to get away because of the recent travel disruptions. It's always disappointing to plan for a holiday and then have to change your plans.

"But the predictions of 'travel chaos' this summer are hugely exaggerated. Even during the worst travel delays, the jubilee and half-term week, 94% of flights took off and landed as expected, and since then the airlines and airports have made extra provisions to keep things running smoothly. When we asked UK holidaymakers about their experience almost 19 out of 20 had travelled as planned, with just 4% missing their plane in the queues and another 4% cancelling when their flight was pulled."

"With a bit of preparation and planning, we're expecting people to have hassle-free trips this year. Book flexibly, use a travel agent if you want some back-up and support, make sure you know your rights if the airline does cancel or you miss your flight. Plan ahead – we already know about the strikes in Spain and at some airports this summer, pick a destination that isn't expecting delays and book flexibly so you can change your mind if something goes wrong or changes. But most of all, don't worry about it. Almost every holiday this year is going ahead as planned, so don't spoil the anticipation by thinking it'll all go wrong."

How to avoid the disruptions

1. Book flexibly

If you think there might be problems this summer, book flexibly. Make sure you can cancel your flights, hotels and extras easily up to the last minute.

flexible penguins

Enjoy a flexible start to your


Need to go back and change your holiday extras? You can with Flextras.

Find out more

2. Use a travel agent

If something does go wrong, an agent is your expert, your advocate and your best chance of getting it fixed. So if you're worried about travelling this summer, use an agent.

3. Keep up-to-date with any changes

Strikes, technical problems and weather can all change, so keep an eye on expected disruptions over the summer and be ready to change your plans. See below for a list of known disruptions.

4. Plan your dates and destinations

Disruptions are not everywhere. There are known strikes at specific airports, airlines and destinations, so you can avoid them by booking elsewhere. Avoid Spain in July, for example, and the easyJet strikes there won't affect you.

Fly through

5. Zip through the airport

Read our tips for beating the airport queues and sail through security.

Beat the airport queues

All the hints, tips and hacks to fly through the airport this summer

6. Don't worry!

There's no point arriving at the beach more stressed than if you'd spent the week in the office. Most flights are running without a hitch. Most holidays are going ahead as planned. Take some sensible precautions, keep an eye on the news, but mostly – remember your trip is likely to be hassle-free and worrying about it won't make it more fun.

Expected travel disruptions

  • June 23-25 - Brussels Airline strikes
  • June 24-July 2 - Ryanair strikes. Belgium and Portugal from June 24–26, France from June 25–26, Italy on June 25, and Spain from June 24–26, June 30, and July 1–2
  • June 25 - Strikes in Italy, Air France pilot strike
  • June 29 - SAS pilot strike (so primarily affecting Norway, Sweden and Denmark)
  • July - Aug - Gatwick flights capped at 850 per day. This is to make sure the flights that are scheduled have capacity to go ahead – airlines have responded by cancelling flights and rebooking passengers onto different services, so it should minimise last-minute disruptions
  • July-Aug - BA strikes at Heathrow
  • July - Lufthansa will cancel approx 5% of weekend flights to ensure smooth service on the 95% running as normal – affected passengers should know their new flight details
  • July 1-3 - easyJet strikes in Spain
  • July 15-17 - easyJet strikes in Spain
  • July 29-31 - easyJet strikes in Spain

Holiday checklist

If you've not been in the air for a few years, it's easy to forget something