Strike out for the summer: travel chaos heats up!
Pump House, Bath, England

Good Morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 17th June 2022

Across the cliffs and beaches of Britain the glow of summer shines bright today. It’s as warm as Jamaica the weather peeps say. As the temperature heats up to 34C (perhaps not so hot in Scotland) who needs to be away TBH? We are visiting the famous Roman spa city of Bath, recently Unesco-listed. A top staycation to snap up now. The Pump House is heaving so on this gorgeous day we are mostly relaxing. Lunch is in the Royal Victoria Park and our wine of the day is pink. It’s floral and delicious straight out of the fridge. A couple of hours of this and perhaps we’ll take a snooze. Sweet summer dreams …and float away. No sweat.
Here is your weekly travel news…spoiler alert: Rail strikes next week!

Wagwan!

Strikes are having a moment: The train strikes all still going ahead next week. Did we expect anything else? All eyes though are watching to see if they are cancelled at the last minute but time is running out. Looking ahead, there are more ballots and possible walkouts planned for July. And expect flight disruption with airline industrial action at airports just in time for the peak summer holiday period.

This much we know: Train strike days are on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. While this is a three-day strike the disruption will knock out the whole week. 

How bad will it be: It’s historic. With 40,000 staff walking out from sunrise to sunset, the strikes will close half of the UK rail network. Instead of running 20,000 train services a day, there will be just 4,500. Cornwall and Dorset will have no trains running and much of Scotland and Wales will see very few services. The last train on strike days from London to Edinburgh will leave at 2pm. There hasn’t been a rail strike as big as this since 1989.

Political heat: In short, everyone is angry. The industrial action is divisive with many supporting workers rights to strike while others have hit out saying the disruption will impact teens taking their GCSEs, patients getting to hospital appointments, and commuters getting to work, especially those who can’t WFH. The government and the unions haven’t met for a while now. The Guardian reported that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has warned rail staff they risk “striking themselves out of a job”. RMT union boss Mick Lynch said they were determined to win this fight over pay. 

The advice: Most rail operators have started to tweet their timetables for next week with many saying ‘don’t travel’. Here are a few: Avanti West Coast, Great Western Railway, TransPennine Express, Greater Anglia. Independent Travel rounds up the affected timetables and gives the times for the last trains of the day.

Going on holiday: Eurostar announced it was cancelling trains from St Pancras to Paris, Brussels, Lille and Amsterdam because of the UK rail strikes. Airport train services will also be affected, including the Gatwick Express, the Stansted Express and the Heathrow Express.

How to get to Glastonbury: The UK’s biggest music festival is back at Worthy Farm after being cancelled for the past two years. The five-day camping extravaganza starts on Wednesday, but with rail chaos on the way, ticket-holders have been told to avoid the trains. So how to get down to Somerset? Drive? Take a coach? Bus it? The Sun came up with some ideas. 

Over on the Tube: The London Underground will close down on Tuesday, seriously affecting city life. TfL says ‘avoid travel’. There will be little service and nothing again until Wednesday mid-morning. The newly-opened Elizabeth Line and the Overground will also be affected on rail strike days.

Down the track: Further strikes – different union this time Aslef, which represents train drivers – are planned for 26th June on Hull trains, 28th-29th June and 13th-14th July on Croydon Tramlink, with more possible action later in July.

In the airports: To avoid further airport chaos this summer, airlines have been to told to cancel flights well ahead of time rather than the day before or hours before departure. The Civil Aviation Authority and the Government have firmly told holiday companies to take “all possible steps” to “avoid the unacceptable scenes we have recently witnessed”. ITV News had the story.

Get ahead: Our fave travel whisperer Simon Calder was on the This Morning sofa answering Phil and Holly’s travel questions. He said more easyJet flights had been cancelled this week – with the worst routes affected being Amsterdam, Milan and Geneva, possibly because these cities have multiple flights each day. The airlines he said that had seen the least cancellations were Ryanair and Jet2. Top tip: Simon says early morning flights are worse for airport queuing with the best time to travel around 10am.

Feeling the pinch: With the cost of living crisis pushing up prices everywhere from the supermarket to petrol stations and even the cost of a Costa Coffee has gone up – now a weakened pound will make taking a holiday oversees more expensive. The BBC reported that the pound had dipped to its lowest level against the US dollar since March 2020 due to political uncertainty and a possible trade conflict with the EU. £1 now buys just $1.20.

Across the pond: They finally got the memo. The US dropped its Covid testing requirements three months after the UK and the rest of Europe. On Sunday passengers no longer had to show a negative PCR test. Sky News broke the story.

Back to the desert: The Coachella music festival announced its dates for 2023. The popular two-weekend festival, in Indio, southern Californian will take place for two weeks in April: 14th to 16th and 21st to 23rd. Headline acts include Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and The Weeknd. Tickets go on sale today at 6pm.

Move over England, Scotland and Ireland: Here comes Wales! Wanting to get away from its ‘sheep, wet weather and rugby’ image, Cymru began to resell itself to boost tourism. It wants to be seen as offering adventure, great food and drink and world heritage sites. This week, Zip World Director, Sean Taylor said:  “At the moment, I think we get overshadowed quite a bit. You’ve got the Royal Family down in London, you’ve got tartan and Loch Ness in Scotland and in Ireland you’ve got Guinness.” The National had the story…and so did we when we went to Swansea. Read all about it!

Hotels this summer: Bosses at budget hotel Premier Inn say bookings are booming. According to the Evening Standard first quarter sales sky rocketed 281 per cent in the UK. CEO Alison Brittain said the recovery in the UK had exceeded their expectations.

Happy Father’s Day!

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