The Vacation Guru answers travelers’ questions.
This week he tackles questions about the upcoming Heathrow security staff strikes, how many blank pages you need in your passport, the best ferry routes from outside Dover to the mainland and more…
Q What’s the latest on planned strikes by Heathrow security staff?
Audrey Johnson, Bath
A Strikes by the Unite union are expected to hit Heathrow’s Terminal 5 for eight days in May. They start this week from Thursday to Saturday as well as from 9 to 10 May and from 25 to 27 May.
Strikes by the Unite union are expected to hit Heathrow’s Terminal 5 for eight days in May
The other terminals remain unaffected. The union is hoping for a “May mayhem” but, as with similar strikes, the impact is likely to be limited.
Some flights may be canceled – perhaps one in 20 – but these should be on short-haul routes such as Geneva and Dublin, where alternatives are available on the day.
Long distance traffic should function normally.
Q What happens if my flight is canceled due to the strikes?
Ben Watson, by email
A You are entitled to a seat on a reasonable replacement flight or a full refund.
Q Do we need to arrive at the airport especially early on strike dates?
Sarah Kenworthy, Penrith, Cumbria
A No, the recommended arrival times of two hours for a short-haul flight and three hours for a long-haul flight are fine.
Q I need a new passport for travel in August. If I apply now, is it ok?
Mr. Owen, Rochdale
A Despite strikes by more than 1,000 passport office workers, which have been ongoing since April 3 and will end on Friday, there is no impact on the standard 10-week passport application period.
See gov.uk or apply at a post office. If you are looking for a passport sooner, you can request an appointment for a one-week express service. But be quick because these slots are getting busy.
Q My son’s passport is still valid for two and a half months if he travels to France in August. Will that be enough?
Kate Peters, Teddington, London
A NO. He needs a passport for at least three months to visit the European Union. You must apply for an extension.
Q My passport is full of stamps and there is almost no room left, but I still have a few years to go. What should I do?
Dan Penton, Manchester
You need a passport for at least three months to visit the European Union
A You must also apply for an extension. Some countries may be specific about passports with filled pages – Italy and South Africa require at least two completely blank pages.
Q Can you suggest alternatives to the mainland ferry to avoid potential delays at Dover?
Sally Hamilton, by email
A Try Brittany Ferries for Portsmouth to Caen, St Malo, Cherbourg and Le Havre (brittany-ferries.co.uk), DFDS for Newhaven to Dieppe or Newcastle to Amsterdam (dfds.com), P&O Ferries for Hull to Rotterdam (poferries.com ). ) or Stena Line from Harwich to Hook of Holland (stenaline.co.uk). If you are coming via Dover, check traffic reports on trafficengland.com.
Q My husband and I stole a backpack with a laptop and scanner at Victoria station in London. We have filed a claim with Free Spirit, our travel insurance company, but we have no receipts and our bank statements are not good enough. We are in our 80s and the law feels like a war of attrition. can you help
Margaret Edwards, by email
A We contacted the Davies Group case officer who investigated the matter. The bank statements and other evidence were now accepted and a settlement of £1,000 was reached.
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James is an author and travel journalist who writes for The Fashion Vibes. With a love for exploring new cultures and discovering unique destinations, James brings his readers on a journey with him through his articles.