The past week might have been the first time that many people traveled in a very long time. But in many places across the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, the large numbers of people undertaking so-called ‘revenge travel’ turned many journeys into disasters.
Due to the high turnout and staff shortages, many airports had meltdowns—something Axios called “a painful preview for summer”:
- U.S. airlines cancelled over 2,800 flights over Memorial Day weekend and some airlines have already slashed up to 15% of flights over the summer period to account for expected shortages. In the U.S. the issue was compounded by bad weather at key destinations, such as Florida, where traffic was up to 150% higher than pre-pandemic levels—but so too was the incidence of thunderstorms.
- A combination of school holidays and the Jubilee celebrations, meant that chaos hit London airports—hundreds of flights have been cancelled over the course of this week by British Airways, EasyJet and others.
- Technical faults with Eurostar’s gates meant that lines of people had to snake out of St Pancras station in London to wait hours to go through security and immigration control.
- In Europe, one of the busiest global airports, Amsterdam’s Schipol airport saw its security lines stretch out of the building and it asked people to stay home.
So how can travelers ease the expected summer chaos?
The Points Guy CEO Brian Kelly told Axios that people should avoid tight layovers and obviously book direct flights wherever possible—there is less room for error, either for losing bags or making connections when late.
And it pays to use technology as much as possible to speed up the travel process, such as enrolling in facial recognition systems to clear security faster.
The Telegraph also reported on one key piece of advice to avoid many of the problems from the holiday week—pack lightly and don’t check luggage into the hold.
Like many industries in the tourist sector, baggage-handling contractors are also suffering from staff shortages, as many workers left the industry during the pandemic.
Andy Prendergast, national secretary of the U.K.’s GMB trade union said “it is one less thing to worry about. If people can check in online and do not take bags, that limits the disruption. It’s not a magic bullet but it does reduce the chance of there being problems.”