A Major Strike Will Gum Up the Works at UK Airports This Wednesday
Heading to the UK this Wednesday, November 30? Bring a book, a snack and loads of patience because for the second time this year, the UK Borders and Customs employees who stamp your passports will be on strike.
The last strike by the PCS Union was exactly five months ago, on June 30, and we just happened to fly into London-Heathrow and get stuck in the middle of it (and the line's 17 switchbacks). Although Heathrow had obviously prepared well by handing out both bottled water and kid activity packs, the nightmare of standing for nearly three hours in the most boring, bureaucratic environment ever still happened. Just listen for your flight crew to warn you about "industrial action," as our Virgin Atlantic FAs did, just to make sure we were aware what exactly was the holdup.
Happily there are ways to get around the mess. Queues for those with EU passports will be staffed by hastily trained civil servants, so the lines there shouldn't be as long.
If you're not holding a Euro passport and don't mind switching flights, then another option is to route through a Euro city and therefore pass immigration there. Our buddies at Australian Business Traveller have some recommendations: "...consider KLM via Amsterdam, Lufthansa via Munich or Frankfurt, Finnair via Helsinki, Brussels Airlines via Brussels, SAS' Scandinavian hubs or even Air France via Paris (usually an airport we avoid)."
Regardless, Wednesday travel to the UK should be fun. Check out our firsthand account of the June strike madness here.