The summer of ’22: Why this could mark the end of cheap air travel
Chalkmarks: Krakow, Poland

Good Morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 24th June 2022

Here we are in the middle of the worst rail strike for 30 years and we’re still in the thick of it. There’s no strike today but tomorrow will be the last in the run of three walkouts this week.
And from empty train stations to long queues and the suitcase pile up at Heathrow, the chaos moved on to airports with cancellations and threat of strikes this summer. We’re not really escaping reality this year rather than facing it, eyeball to eyeball.
What will passengers and travel bosses learn from all this? And will this end the era of cheap airline travel as many predict? Things are changing that’s for sure.
In the meantime, the mission continues: to travel! For those still looking to get away this year, the advice is to book long-haul as the disruption is caught up around Europe.
Talking of holidays. Here are the good and bad of this week’s travel headlines.

Midsummer!

The next strike: Don’t book British Airways flights this summer! That was the advice yesterday after around 701 BA check-in and ground staff at Heathrow voted to strike in a dispute over their 10 per cent pay cut during the pandemic. No dates have yet been set for the walkouts but predictions suggest they will take place during the summer holidays. Nadine Houghton from GMB Union told BBC PM programme she wouldn’t book a flight – “not at this stage”. Oliver Richardson, at Unite, said: “The problems British Airways is facing are entirely of its own making.”

Can they be stopped: BA said it was “extremely disappointed” with the decision and was committed to finding a solution.

Don’t forget your refund: Sky News explained your rights if your BA flight is cancelled due to strike action. Which? editor Rory Boland made it very clear on twitter. He said: “Worth a reminder that the airline cancelling or delaying your flight because of strikes by their own staff is *not* an extraordinary circumstance, as some carriers claim. You are entitled to compensation. Ryanair has repeatedly lost court cases on this issue.”

European disruption: Strikes have also caused chaos at airports in Amsterdam, Rome and Frankfurt. On Monday all flights were cancelled from Brussels Airport as security staff walked out. Charles de Gaulle in Paris has called a strike on 2nd July. Politico explains the bigger picture, with travel rebounding faster than the industry anticipated. In this Reuters analysis they say the combination of cheap travel and cheap labour costs is a wake-up call for passengers and airline bosses. A former BA steward sums it up: “I don’t know how they can really keep that up.”

Starting today: Ryanair staff in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Belgium walkout over pay and conditions. While UK crew voted not to strike there will be a knock-of effect for British holidaymakers. The Sun has the full story. 

In July: The next strike comes from easyJet where cabin crew in Spain have called three 72-hour (nine days in total) walkouts next month affecting Barcelona, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca. Exactly which flights will be affected remains unknown. The Times has the strike dates and details.

Flight cancellation recap: Airlines are also cutting back their schedules this summer. The Guardian reported this week that Heathrow requested that airlines flying out of terminal 2 and 3 reduce their capacity by 10 per cent following problems with baggage handling and images of suitcases piling up. easyJet said it would cancel more than 10,000 flights between July and September affecting around 1.5million passengers but it didn’t announce which ones were getting the chop – only that it would tell passengers as soon as possible. Fights from Gatwick will be most affected. Jet2 has also cancelled flights to Amsterdam in July and August from Birmingham and Leeds Bradford airport. It has also reduced its service to Jersey. Travel Weekly had the story. 

What is Boris Johnson saying about all this: Not much. The UK PM is in Rwanda and has been updating us on his trip to Kigali over on Twitter.  Speaking to reporters about the rail strikes, he said: “I think people should get around the table and sort it out.” Reuters had the short story.

Winter destinations: Ski resorts in the Alps could soon see the number of snow days halved if nothing is done to slow climate change . The Daily Mail reported on a study that showed if the planet warms by 4-5C, the mountainous parts of France, Italy and Slovenia could lose between 2-to-4 months of snow each year which would impact their ski season. Already, low elevation ski resorts are struggling to stay open in winter with many using artificial snow. 

Bored by ordinary travel: If you’re looking for adventure go to Peru. We’ve travelled up and down this South American country in pursuit of adventure, culture and food. We haven’t been back since the pandemic but miss ceviche and Pisco sour. Here we learned to salsa in Arequipa, how to speak Spanish in Lima and where to watch the condors high in the Andean villages. It was the beginning of our love affair with the country. You’re about as far away as you can get from the UK. But where to start. How about here!

#PolandVibes: This is the hashtag the Polish tourist board is using this week to help boost travel in the country. In March we reported that the top three countries impacted most by the war in Ukraine were those in Eastern Europe especially Estonia, Poland and Lithuania. With concerns for safety, travellers cancelled their holidays Krakow when the war started in February and airlines immediately diverted their planes over Russian airspace. More than four months on, Poland says they’re open and ready to welcome visitors. When we were there, here’s what we got up to.

For the weekend: The Great West Way is one of England’s newest tourism projects designed to shift visitors out of the capital and into the rest of the country. It’s a 500-mile picturesque route from London to Bristol taking in three World Heritage Sites, royal palaces, and rolling English countryside. We wrote about it when it launched.

Don’t forget your suitcase!

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