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Best Ways to Manage the Chaos in Airports
9 June 2022 |  Travel News
Flight disruptions are at an all time high, due to mass staff shortages that have coincided with a busy period. And according to Sky News, hundreds of check-in and ground staff employed by BA at Heathrow have now started voting on strike action.
Axed flights are out of our control. But there are a few things you can do to manage the airport chaos.
By keeping an eye on your flight from home, you could avoid travelling to the airport only to find out your flight has been cancelled. Most airlines have a tracker page which you can check from the comfort of your own home.
Here’s some links to a few:
British Airways Flight Tracker
If you are able to check in online and print your own boarding pass, this will cut down your time spent in the airport.
Also keep an eye on airport activity as some are busier than others. Manchester, Amsterdam, and Dublin airport have all experienced high volumes of disruption over the jubilee bank holiday weekend.
Lastly you can anticipate further flight disruptions between 6–7am as this is the busiest hour at most airports.
Optimal time to arrive at the airport
At the moment, we’d suggest arriving at the airport 2 – 3 hours before your flight.
Usually 2 hours for short haul and 3 hours for long haul.
A spokesman for Bristol Airport says that some passengers have been turning up five hours before their flight. The problem with this, is if you arrive too early, you’re adding to the queues and congestion in the terminal.
It’s like panic buying milk all over again.
Pack as light as possible.
If you’re going away for a short period of time, try travelling with no hold luggage because wow does it make a difference!
With no hold luggage you obviously get to skip bag drop off which inevitably speeds up the process and you can head straight to security.
Not only does packing light make your airport experience more seamless, but it also reduces your carbon footprint. A heavier suitcase will contribute to making the plane use more fuel compared to a lighter backpack.
Pack versatile items instead of a different outfit for every occasion. You’re travelling after all, so expect to re-wear items of clothing.
We recently experienced firsthand how chaotic airports are. Below is a picture of the security queue in Gatwick.
We pre-booked premium security for £5 and luckily avoided queuing in this. Due to staffing issues the above image will be standard across all airports this summer.
We’d 100% recommend purchasing fast track as this will eliminate the stress and time spent worrying about missing your flight. Did you know that if you miss your flight due to long queues, you will not be entitled to any sort of compensation.
Once through security, the airport experience is calmer, especially now COVID restrictions have relaxed.
However, most flights are experiencing delays – anything from 30 minutes plus. It’s important to factor this in when travelling for a business or if you have an appointment.
If you can, fly a day or two before your meeting or event.
Easyjet, British Airways and Ryanair have all cancelled dozens of flights recently, so be prepared and regularly check your flights tracker page.
If you’re spending hours and hours in an airport, charged electricals are key, and power banks are vital. Consider purchasing lounge access for a more accommodating working environment.
On a recent business trip, our return flight was delayed by two hours due to thunderstorms in London. We took the 19:10 flight from Geneva to Gatwick which was the second to last flight of the day.
The flight after us was completely cancelled which highlighted to us the importance of avoiding the last flight of the day.
Also flight curfews in particular countries means that the last flight of the day will always suffer the most. If you fly earlier then you’re more likely to be bumped onto the next flight.
Passport control in London hasn’t been too hectic… if you’re not one of the ones that has to ‘seek assistance’.
To be on the safeside, you can pre-book premium passport control for £9.99 and this is limited to 50 passengers per hour.
Lastly, I’d advise pre-booking your taxi. Gatwick has been an absolute nightmare with no drivers available on Uber and Gatwick Cars Ltd being carnage.
Prebook taxi as soon as you land. Or if you’re being collected by a loved one, remember there is now a £5 charge for cars to enter the pickup/drop of zone at most London airports.
Peace of mind
If you do experience flight disruptions, the best thing to do is to contact your airline, but please be prepared to face busy airline desks.
Airlines are inundated with calls regarding concern for flight delays and cancellations, and as a result call wait times are much higher than usual.
If you want to avoid all of this, the beauty of booking with a travel manager means that you have a direct point of contact who will have access to your booking.
At echo.bravo we offer WhatsApp as a form of communications with our Gold clients, all outside of office hours.
We can then assist to make alternative travel arrangements from flight bookings to car hire, and temporary accommodation. Furthermore, if you have a credit account with us, this means that you won’t have to go into your own pocket to book alternative travel.
Our access to live FCDO government updates means that we are able to see first when changes are made in the industry, which helps us to anticipate some cancellations.
Don’t hesitate to message us and ask for help. But remember, unless you booked through echo.bravo, then we will not have access to your booking, therefore will not be able to make adjustments.
If you do find yourself experiencing flight disruptions, you might also find this article helpful: What are my rights if my flight gets cancelled?
We hope you’ve found this article helpful.
Thanks for reading 🙂