Easter travel warning: Britons brace for chaos as delays hit airports, trains, roads and ferries this weekend

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Britons planning Easter weekend getaways have been warned to prepare for chaos as air, land and sea routes face long delays.

As the first bank holiday weekend begins since all Covid restrictions were lifted, drivers have been told to expect traffic jams on major UK roads.

It comes as highs of up to 22C are expected in parts of the country this weekend.

The AA estimates that between Good Friday and Easter Monday, more than 27.6 million car journeys will be made.

The RAC also warned that with the highest number of journeys expected over an Easter weekend in eight years, more people are likely to be on the roads due to rail network closures.

More drivers are expected to hit the road due to Network Rail works this weekend (Photo: Ken Jack/Getty Images)

A spokesman for the roadside assistance company said: ‘Our advice to drivers, especially if traveling any distance, is to leave as early as possible on the day of the weekend you plan to travel.

Network Rail is to carry out 530 engineering projects, including the closure of the West Coast Mainline between London Euston and Milton Keynes for four days from Friday due to upgrades to the existing line and HS2 works.

This means London Euston, Britain’s fifth busiest station, will be closed from today until Monday.

The closure is also likely to affect Liverpool and Manchester City fans who travel to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Those planning cross-Channel travel are also likely to face disruption after P&O Ferries suspended all passenger services on its Dover-Calais route over the bank holiday weekend.

Two of the company’s eight ships, the Pride of Kent and the Spirit of Britain, are still being held by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for security reasons.

The P&O Ferries Spirit of Britain (right) moored in the port of Dover in Kent, following its detention by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

It means capacity for cross-Channel tourists will be significantly reduced, as delays continue on routes approaching the port of Dover.

Airports are also set to face delays following a recent spate of flight cancellations and long security queues at Birmingham, Heathrow and Manchester due to difficulties recruiting new staff and Covid disease.

Aeronautical data company Cirium said 9,212 flights with 1.6 million seats are expected to leave UK airports between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

The busiest day will be Good Friday, with some 2,430 flights departing.

Airport Operators Association (AOA) chief executive Karen Dee said: “Airports are putting all available staff on the front line, including senior managers and others who typically work in different parts of the airport. operation.

Passengers wait to enter security at Heathrow Airport on Thursday (Picture: Hannah McKay/Reuters)
Passengers wait to enter security at Heathrow Airport on Thursday (Picture: Hannah McKay/Reuters)

“This means that for the majority of passengers, even though airport travel can be busy, airports keep them safely away from their vacation.”

However, the AOA also pointed out that much of the traffic at UK airports this weekend will be passengers returning from abroad at the end of the Easter school holidays.

Earlier this week, the head of immigration services, Lucy Moreton, warned that due to the Border Force’s long-term staffing problems, travelers risk queuing at passport control.

“We expect the queues to change from security-based queues to returning Border Force queues,” he told BBC Radio 4.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Those traveling in and out of the UK during the busy Easter period may face a longer wait time than usual due to the high number of passengers and as we ensure that all passengers comply with the security and immigration measures put in place to keep us safe.

They added that additional staff were being mobilized to help minimize passenger wait times.

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