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Airport delays: get there early or risk losing out
Apparently 10 million people will be going through European airports this weekend, heading for the sun or returning home after their holidays. And they will probably have spent quite a lot of their vacation time in queues at the airports. It is all down to EU airports inside the Schengen zone – which doesn’t include the UK – applying rules which mean it can take 10 minutes to process each passenger through passport control. So as a result, there are massive queues at popular European airports such as Palma – which the Daily Mail says will handle 190,000 passengers tomorrow.
It’s not a whole lot better for Brits leaving and coming back to the UK. The boy and I went on a last minute holiday a couple of weeks ago. We got to Gatwick two hours before our flight was due to leave. We only just made the flight – it took forever to drop off our bags (we had booked in online and had boarding passes). And the troop through security and passports took ages. Coming back, it took more than 30 minutes to get through passport control at Gatwick. I was moaning about this to a pal who harrumphed, pointing out it had taken her family two hours to get through passport control returning to Heathrow earlier this year.
So what do you do if you’re off abroad in the next few weeks? Airlines are advising you get to the airport three hours before your flight rather than the usually-advised two. If the worse happens and you miss your flight, will you be covered by your holiday insurance? (You do have insurance, don’t you? read Jane’s blogs if you have any doubts that cover isn’t worth it). Most policies will pay out for missed departures if there is a valid claim under the policies' conditions – for example if you missed your flight because your car broke down on the way to the airport. However delays at passport control which made you miss your flight are unlikely to be a covered risk on your policy so you probably won't be paid out. If you do miss a flight due to long queues, your airline might put you on the next flight. But as the delays at passport control are not down to the airlines, it seems they are not obliged to help. Bon voyage....