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The Holiday Guru answers your questions about flight cancellations and passport delays

The Holiday Guru is always available to answer your questions.

With the summer holiday season just around the corner, he advises readers on everything from battling airport queues and renewing passports to getting around flight cancellations.

Here’s how to save your summer getaway…

The Holiday Guru advises readers on everything from fighting airport queues and renewing passports to navigating flight cancellations.

The Holiday Guru advises readers on everything from fighting airport queues and renewing passports to navigating flight cancellations.

Q. How likely do you think it is that my flight abroad will be cancelled?

A. There seems to be a strong possibility that British Airways and easyJet flights, in particular, will be cancelled. These airlines are experiencing the worst staffing shortages, caused by cutbacks during the pandemic. On Thursday, BA cut 130 short- and medium-haul flights, while easyJet cut 30 flights. More than 10,000 passengers are believed to have been affected.

Q. This sounds terrible, is it possible that I could lose my vacation at the last minute?

A. You’ll probably be fine, as airlines are now canceling flights well in advance, at least two weeks before departure, and it’s the airline’s duty to put you on an alternative service that flies the same day. This could be with a rival airline if you don’t have any free seats of your own.

Q. But that could mean flying on a plane that arrives late at night at my destination…

A. Quite possibly. However, when you are assigned an alternative flight after a cancellation, please go to the ‘manage my booking’ page of your airline’s website to check if there is an earlier flight that day. Some airlines have been pressuring people to take later flights when better slots are available. You should be able to change.

If your flight is cancelled, it's the airline's obligation to put you on an alternative service that flies the same day, reveals Holiday Guru

If your flight is cancelled, it’s the airline’s obligation to put you on an alternative service that flies the same day, reveals Holiday Guru

Q. Is there any way to avoid threatened cancellations?

A. Yes, it may be best to book a mid-week flight if you’re flying in the height of summer, as potential staffing shortages often peak on weekends, resulting in cancellations. Airports are also likely to be less stressful during the week.

Q. I have read about long queues at airports. How serious can security delays be?

A. It will be a matter of time and luck. Queues should be shorter, but predicting when staffing shortages will occur is just guesswork as covid continues to strike. On Monday, security delays of two hours were reported in Manchester, Birmingham and Stansted. Airports are desperately recruiting security personnel, who require detailed background checks and training. This is slowing things down.

Q. So, how long before a flight is it recommended that passengers arrive at the airports?

A. Most airports recommend arriving three hours before a flight. It’s unfair, but you’ll have a hard time getting your money back from the airport, airline, or insurance if you miss a flight because of long lines.

According to Holiday Guru, most airports recommend arriving three hours before your flight.

According to Holiday Guru, most airports recommend arriving three hours before your flight.

Q. Are the security delays we’re seeing reflected in baggage check-in at most airports?

A. Again, this could be due to time. If you arrive when you are changing a shift, you could experience long delays, especially if multiple flights arrive simultaneously. Heathrow has recently had baggage delays of over an hour, and in the summer it could be worse.

Q. I need to renew my passport. Will it be possible to get a new one before August?

A. Knock and go. The Home Office recommends that travelers submit passport applications “as soon as possible”, as the official target of renewing passports within ten weeks is regularly missed. Staff shortages and a surge in passport applications are blamed.

The Holiday Guru says it is 'touch and go' as to whether travelers will be able to renew their passports in time for the August holidays.

The Holiday Guru says it is ‘touch and go’ as to whether travelers will be able to renew their passports in time for the August holidays.

Q. That makes me nervous, is there anything I can do to make sure I get a new passport on time?

A. Yes, by paying extra for a one-day premium service or a week’s fast track. The former is £177 while the latter is £142; both require appointments and in-person pickup; see ‘Get a passport urgently’ on gov.uk. But high demand means it can be hard to get a space. Standard applications cost £75.50.

Q. Do I need to complete a Passenger Locator Form to return to the UK or be tested for Covid before traveling abroad?

A. You no longer need to complete a PLF to return to the UK. However, when traveling abroad, the need to take a test or prove your vaccination status (using the NHS app) depends on the country you plan to visit.

When traveling from the UK, whether you need to take a Covid test or check your vaccination status depends on the country you plan to visit, the Guru reveals.

When traveling from the UK, whether you need to take a Covid test or check your vaccination status depends on the country you plan to visit, the Guru reveals.

Q. How can I get information on the Covid regulations in individual countries to ensure I meet the requirements?

A. It is best to check the latest “entry requirements” for your destination at gov.uk. For example, negative Covid tests and proof of vaccination are needed for visits to the US. Meanwhile, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from Covid in the last six months is fine for Spain.

what So should I book my summer vacation now or wait until later, when things are clearer?

A. If you’re planning a vacation package, book it as soon as possible. Increased fuel and other costs could push prices up later, and you will be financially covered for cancellations under the Package Travel Regulations.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP

If you need advice, Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email us at holidayplanner@dailymail.co.uk.

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