United Kingdom Public Sector Stike, November 30

Check-in at Heathrow - Photo © BAA Airports Limited

UK Public Sector to Strike November 30

If your plans call for traveling to the United Kingdom this upcoming  November 30, be prepared and be patient. Next Wednesday, the nationwide public-sector strike threatens to shut-down Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, in addition to Gatwick, and other ports of entry.

Included in the strike are UK Border Agency staff. This will result in long queues, and perhaps even passengers waiting on aircraft to be processed by Immigration. The 24 hr strike will paralyze air travel and could potentially be the largest union action since 1979.

The UKBA will be operating at less than 50% productivity.  To prevent complete chaos, the operators of Heathrow are urging airlines to limit capacity on international flights to 50% to reduce the risk of being diverted to an airport outside of the United Kingdom and reduce the risk of having an outbound flight cancelled.

Carriers such as Delta Air Lines have said they plan to operate their full schedule to both Heathrow and Gatwick, but it is not clear if they plan on doing so at 50% capacity.  Delta Air Lines is warning its passengers that non-EU citizens may encounter delays at the UK Border of up to eight hours.

Several, but not all, carriers have agreed to waive fees for rebooking flights scheduled to arrive on November 30th.  It’s suggested you call your air carrier and make alternative plans if possible. UK based British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which operate hubs in London, are on record expressing concern over the strike and the impact of their businesses.

The BAA has released the following public statement on the BAA Heathrow Website:

“We are very concerned by the impact that the proposed UK Border Agency immigration officer strike action on 30 November will have on arriving passengers at Heathrow. We are discussing contingency plans with the UK Border Agency and airlines, about how we can minimise the impact on our passengers. We recommend that you keep in touch with your airline to check the status of your flight or onward connection and for any advice about travel on that day. We will publish further passenger information on the website when it is available.”

If London is in your plans on November 30, it is suggested you keep an eye on any future developments.

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