Gatwick rail passengers face severe disruption this Christmas

If you’re planning to travel to Gatwick by train over the Christmas period do be aware you could face severe disruption due to industrial action planned by union members.

In addition to a current overtime ban by members of the ASLEF train drivers union, there will be strikes on the following days affecting Southern and Gatwick Express services:

  • Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 December – RMT conductors’ strike
  • Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike
  • Friday 16 December – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike
  • Monday 19 to Tuesday 20 December – RMT conductors’ strike (previously planned for 22-24 December)
  • Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 January – RMT conductors’ strike
  • Monday 9 to Saturday 14 January – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike

Southern expects there will be no services operating on drivers’ strike days.

Although other operators’ services will not be affected, trains on these services are expected to be much busier.

The latest information can be found here:

No Gatwick Express this Sunday, 14 February

Continuing rail engineering work means there will be no Gatwick Express services this Sunday, 14 February.

No services will operate from the hours of 01:00 on Sunday until 04:00 on Monday 15 February.

Judging by National rail’s journey planner, no trains will operate between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport, and Gatwick Express is advising passengers wishing to travel to Gatwick to travel from London Bridge.

Car-hire chaos predicted as UK driving licence changes

If you’re planning to hire a car abroad after 8 June, you should read this:

Holidaymakers hiring cars abroad this summer are being asked to download a special code, as the paper part of the British driving licence is scrapped

Source: Car-hire chaos predicted as UK driving licence changes

Passengers Use Facebook To Win Compensation

Have you ever experienced flight delays of more than three hours? Have you made a claim, or simply not bothered because you felt you’d get nowhere trying?

Well, you aren’t alone in thinking you wouldn’t get any redress, however, you are entitled to compensation for a flight that is delayed more than three hours, providing the delay was not caused by ‘exceptional circumstances’. Under EU261 regulation, air passengers are entitled to receive up to €600.

Thanks to modern technology, the Internet and social media, more and more people are fighting for their rights and getting their due compensation through the power of the people!

In one such instance, a group of Virgin Atlantic passengers set up a Facebook page after their Virgin flight VS01 was delayed. Collectively, the group claimed back £47,000 after they experienced a delay of 26 hours on their flight back from Florida.

Many passengers, wising up to the collective power of a group power, are now making joint claims, and solicitors are seeing a rise in the number of groups lodging claims.

The great thing about forming groups for passenger rights is that the passengers can set up Facebook groups while delayed at the airport – it makes sense to do so with a captive audience of passengers, and all concerned are available to give their contact details at the time of the delay.

The benefits of making a group claim is that there’s lots of evidence from all passengers regarding the delay and the way in which it was handled, especially if disputes arise. What’s more, larger claims can be fast-tracked, and compensation can be awarded more quickly than individual claims.

Financially Protecting Your Travel Plans

How have you booked your holiday this year? Have you booked it independently, arranging all the different elements yourself, such as flights, hotel and transfers separately? Or have you gone down the more traditional route and booked with an agent or operator? Whichever way you book your holiday, you need to ensure your travel plans are financially protected.

Many of us have forgotten that a few years ago numerous tour operators and airlines went bust – stranding hundreds and thousands of UK passengers across the Globe. To ensure complete peace of mind when booking your travel you should financially protect your holiday.

This week ABTA is launching their ‘worry free holiday’ campaign just as the peak holiday season kicks off.

The campaign brings to light the importance of booking your holiday plans with an ABTA approved supplier, by looking for the ABTA logo and highlights the benefits ABTA security brings.

Booking with an ABTA registered travel agent will mean your holiday is fully protected should the worst happen.

But there are also other safeguards when looking to financially protect your holiday:

  • Book with an ATOL registered tour operator – again, ATOL backing will make sure your holiday is fully protected, ensuring a full refund should the operator go bust before your travel, or if you are away, given assistance to return home.
  • Use your credit card – consider booking your travel arrangements, especially if independently and not via an agent or operator, on your credit card. Providers such as Mastercard and Visa card will protect your cash should the company you have booked your travel through go bust. Whilst reimbursement might not be instant it will be guaranteed. However, you will be charged a standard rate of 2.5% of the total cost of your booking to pay using your credit card, but arguably a small price to pay to ensure financially protecting your flight, hotel or transfer bookings that might not carry the ABTA and ATOL protection.
  • Quality travel insurance – take out a travel insurance policy to protect you against any worst case scenarios too – check the level of cover regarding the cancellation and curtailment section of the policy ensuring refunds prior to travel and help back to the UK.