Travel with Katie Butler: Border Force officers planning to strike at Christmas

This time last year we were struggling with traffic light systems; red, amber and green lists; lateral flow and PCR tests; pre-departure tests to get back home; complicated passenger locater forms; un-vaccinated teenagers not allowed to travel to Spain; last minute cancellations due to restrictions; the list goes on...
Border Force check the passports of passengers arriving. Photo: Getty ImagesBorder Force check the passports of passengers arriving. Photo: Getty Images
Border Force check the passports of passengers arriving. Photo: Getty Images

Katie Butler writes: When I look back on all of this now, I can't believe how we kept up with the daily updates and changes. It feels such a long time ago, even though the year has passed so quickly. It certainly was exhausting!

The great news is that since international restrictions started to ease across Europe and subsequently the rest of the world, they appear to have remained restriction free for the here and now and thankfully we have enjoyed a much more “normal” travel experience.

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We are still waiting for the US to allow un-vaccinated passengers however, and it does not seem like this will happen anytime soon.

On November 7, the US extended the vaccine mandate for overseas travellers until January 8 and so it still remains that to travel to the USA for leisure purposes you must be deemed as fully vaccinated.

At the time of writing, there are no requirements on time scale of vaccines and to be deemed as fully vaccinated the requirement asks only for the first two jabs and has no date requirements.

Indonesia and China are also only allowing travellers who are fully vaccinated at this time.

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Tunisia last week lifted All remaining Covid restriction and the Seychelles also dropped testing and vaccine requirements.

Certainly we keep continuing in the right direction.

We heard last week that Border Force workers checking passports at airports and ports will strike during, after and before Christmas.

The Public and Commercial Services Union has announced strikes will take place between December 23-26 and December 28-31.

The airports impacted by the strikes will be Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow terminals 2-5 and unfortunately Manchester.

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We are yet to know the finer detail and how this will impact our customers. However, if the planned strikes do go ahead we expect we may see a temporary return to queues at the airports similar to those experienced at the start of the year and throughout summer.

We will of course try as best we can to keep you updated on this.

As mentioned previously we remain to enjoy a busier December than previous years, with December and May being our best selling months for new bookings.

Amazingly we managed a good number of late bookings to travel pre-Christmas, with the weather dropping as cold as it has it’s no surprise that the warm Canary Islands were your favourite destination last week.

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We are delighted with our Mission Christmas Cash For Kids Toy Appeal, our final date for dropping gifts to us will be December 16 and then we will deliver to the Cash For Kids warehouse in Leeds.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your support in this worthy cause, we really are overwhelmed with your kindness.