Holiday makers leaving from and arriving into London Heathrow Airport can expect disruption as its security guards, passport office workers, are set to strike for an additional eight days from May 4-9 and again from May 25-27.

Kevin Pratt, travel insurance expert at Forbes Advisor said: “We’re approaching the busiest few months for the travel industry, so these strikes have been timed to cause as much disruption to people’s holiday plans as possible and heap pressure onto employers.

“The strike at one of Heathrow’s major terminals by over 1,400 security guards employed by the airport comes as over a quarter of Passport Office workers are taking part in a five-week walkout in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, which could severely impact people’s ability to renew their passports.

“When the security guards went on strike in April, British Airways announced it was cancelling dozens of flights in and out of Heathrow Terminal 5 every day, and Unite, the union coordinating the strikes, said ‘huge disruption and delays’ were expected. It seems safe to say we’ll see the same when these additional strikes take place.

“Last summer, travellers endured chaos at Heathrow and other airports as flights were axed, resulting in headline-grabbing queues caused by a clamour of anxious passengers turning up earlier and earlier in an attempt to avoid disruption to their holidays.

Plan ahead

“The last couple of years have shown how important it is to plan ahead as much as possible when arranging travel, from booking flights to ensuring any necessary travel documents are valid and making plans for things to go wrong, including taking out insurance.

“While a good travel insurance policy may provide financial compensation should your flight or holiday be cancelled or curtailed due to industrial action by airline or airport staff, it is highly unlikely that your travel insurance will provide cover if you do not have a valid passport, even if the delay is caused by factors outside your control.

“Insurers say it is the traveller’s responsibility to have all the required paperwork, and they don’t make allowances for the disruption caused by a strike.

“Equally, you won’t have any recourse from your airline if you have to miss or cancel your flight due to not having your passport – they’ll tell you the matter is out of their control and, as such, it is not their responsibility.”

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