BRITS heading abroad this week are being warned to expect flight cancellations and huge passport queues at the airport.
As many as 5million holidaymakers will be flying this Friday ahead of Christmas, the busiest festive season since pre-pandemic.
However, Border Force agents are set to strike, with more than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union walking out from Friday.
Union members are calling for a 10 per cent pay rise, as well as fighting pension cuts and redundancy deals.
The strikes will affect Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports from December 23 until Boxing Day.
Another strike will also take place from December 28 to New Year’s Eve.
Holidaymakers could face queues as long as two hours at passport control due to the walkout, as well as long waits at immigration due to the shortage in staff.
Arriving passengers could be forced to wait on planes to prevent overcrowding in the arrival halls.
Flight cancellations are expected as well, with as many as 20 per cent affected.
A source told The Times: “Delays of two hours at the border are being routinely discussed in meetings.
“If everything backs up, or anything fails, then airports will have to instruct that passengers are held on planes to prevent overcrowding.”
Airlines have been forced to stop selling flights during the strike period, with Heathrow Airport asking airlines to limit their sales from December 24 to December 31.
Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are just some who have restricted sales.
A British Airways spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “In view of the Border Force strikes planned over the Christmas period, we’re continuing to work closely with the UK Government, Border Force and airport authorities to ensure that we play our part in ensuring our customers are able to travel as planned at this important time of year.
“We’re offering anyone booked to travel on an international flight into London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport on strike dates the option to change their flight dates.”
As many as 1,200 soldiers and 1,000 civil servants have been put on standby to cover the strikers at the airport, as well as the ambulance drivers who are also going on strike.
Other strikes taking place this month are by RMT, with train strikes on Christmas Eve, which will also affect Eurostar services.
And Royal Mail has more strike dates, walking out from December 23 to December 24.
We’ve rounded up the full list of strikes taking place this month across the UK.
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