Normand Boivin on flying next Wednesday

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Heathrow Terminal 3

Like Private Frazer in Dad’s Army, “We’re all doomed, doomed I tell ye,” if you believe some of the media reports concerning air and sea travel during the public sector unions strike next Wednesday, November 30th.
But it’s not just the media. They are basing their reports on a letter issued by from the chief operating officer at Heathrow. He, Normand Boivin, writes of delays for incoming passengers of up to 12 hours; of asking airlines to agree to fly with planes only half full; of diversions to overseas airports and suggests that passengers might have to wait on parked planes until the immigration lounges clear. His message is don’t fly unless it is absolutely necessary. This sounds like plain old-fashioned grandstanding rather than helpful advice. How much more off-putting and scare-mongering could he be? Click here to read his astonishing letter.
Gatwick talks of “significant disruption” without gilding the lily. Manchester Airport has added nothing to their website since the 15th of November but say they will use extra people to minimise disruption but check with airlines. Aberdeen, Belfast International, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford, Southampton and Stansted, have nothing on their home pages. Bristol and Newcastle both talk of minimal disruption and Cork talks of potential delays. Many say that that departing passengers will be unaffected. Well that isn’t going to be true if passengers have to sit on incoming airlines for hours!
Dover Port Authority just remarks that there will be a strike and the ferry companies like P&O, Brittany and Stena have nothing on the home pages as does AB ports which runs the cruise terminals in Southampton.
It is the UK Border Agency that employees immigration staff so what do they say?
‘We always aim to minimise any disruption caused by the decision of unions to strike, but travellers could see longer waiting times at some ports and airports.’ No scaremongering here. So what does Mr Boivin know that no-one else does? Or is he just panicking like Corporal Jones in the same TV series as Frazer?
Who knows what will happen. The unions don’t and neither do the airports or ports. You’ll just have to wait until the day and adjust your travel plans accordingly. Listen anymore to Mr Boivin and you might just decide to pull the sheets over your head and sleep the day away.

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