There are several different strikes which are likely to affect travel arrangements this December.

UK Border Force

Border Force will hold eight days of strikes at London Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff airports between December 23 and New Year’s Eve.

The dates are for four days before Christmas (December 23 to 26) and four days between Christmas and New Year (December 28 to December 31.)

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union has 1,000 Border Force members which accounts for up to three in four frontline staff.

As a result, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have announced that they have stopped selling new tickets for inbound flights to Heathrow on those days that the Border Force is striking.

The Times says that
“Under contingency plans being drawn up, passengers will be held on aircraft to prevent overcrowding in airport arrival halls during the strikes. Officials also fear that passengers could be made to wait more than two hours in queues at passport control as strikes hit the peak Christmas holiday period.”

Heathrow ground handlers

The earlier strike by Menzies ground handlers was suspended, and the threat of a further 72-hour strike from Thursday 29 December until 0359 on Sunday 1 January has been suspended. If it had gone ahead, the strike of 400 workers would have affected flights from Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4

UK Rail

There are extensive strikes across the rail network, affecting services to many airports.

Gatwick Express will not operate between Christmas Day 25 December and 3 January. The advice from the airport is ‘You should use alternative Southern or Thameslink services to London’.

The rail network is expected to be severely reduced on affected dates which are as follows:

January: Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4, Thursday 5, Friday 6 and Saturday 7 January 2023

Days surrounding strike days may also be affected.

UK Passports

The PCS Union is also threatening industrial action which would affect driving licenses and passport applications. No dates have yet been announced. Meanwhile, the UK National Audit Office said staff working from home contributed to a delay in completing a new digital system, leading to delays for “at least 360,000 Britons”.

France: Air France

Unions were threatening strikes at Air France from December 22 to January 2, but the airline says that all flights will run as scheduled.

France: Rail

SNCF guards are planning strikes over both the Christmas weekend and New Year weekend.