Christmas travellers' guide to avoiding flight delays

Christmas & flight delay statistics
Christmas & flight delay statistics
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With Christmas just around the corner airports are preparing to face an influx of holidaymakers as millions of people across the UK gear up to jet away for the festive period.

Last year around 3.7 million people flew abroad for Christmas*, making it one the busiest times of the year to go on holiday, with December 21st and 28th being the peak days to fly. This year is expected to be no different.

The sheer volume of people combined with unpredictable weather extremes, means travelling around Christmas can lead to flight delays and stressful journeys.

Flight claims specialists Stanton Fisher has produced information and advice to help make travelling easier and reduce stress, so that travellers can focus on enjoying the festivities.

Chief executive at Stanton Fisher, James Boyd, said: “Whether it’s to visit family, catch some winter sun or to experience the festivities in a new city, more and more people are going on holiday over Christmas.

“For many people spending time with family is paramount, and flying is the only way to achieve this.

“Of course, delays and cancellations are unfortunately more likely, as the weather can often force airports and planes to stop moving.

“Travellers should always make sure they are always prepared for the possibility of delays, and stay in touch with the weather forecast.

“One of the best pieces of advice is to pack with the theory there will be a delay, and have a phone charger, extra clothes, water, toothbrush, money and all flight documents in hand luggage.”

Christmas in the UK often means the arrival of severe winter weather conditions.

Snow, ice and strong winds can often cause flight delays and can result in holidaymakers being stranded in an airport for hours. This can be particularly frustrating for those with young children.

“There’s nothing worse than finding out the holiday you’ve been excitedly waiting for is delayed, and then having to wait around in an airport for hours on end,” continued James.

“And children or babies can just add to the stress, so having essential items including food and games easily available, is strongly advised.

“There are plenty of things to do in most airports, such as shopping, eating, reading a book, plane spotting and people watching. But of course stay hydrated and don’t drink too much alcohol.

“Following some simple steps can help relieve some stress, make any flight delay just a little bit easier and ensure everyone has a happy and merry Christmas.”

Advice on dealing with flight delays this Christmas:

• Book a flight early in the day. Later flights are more likely to be delayed due to the ripple effect of any delays throughout the day

• Keep track of the weather forecast

• Check your flight’s status online. If your flight is delayed, contact the airline for more information

• If travelling with a baby or small child, your hand luggage should include all their essentials such as spare clothes, toys, bottles, nappies, formula milk

• Pack toys, books, a tablet or games console, a music player in your hand luggage to keep your party entertained if delayed

• Boredom during a delay can be alleviated by shopping, eating, plane spotting and people watching

• Stay hydrated and don’t drink too much alcohol

• Stretch your legs and always stay alert for any updates on your flight

• Staying fresh will help you feel better if delayed for a long time, so pack a toothbrush, toothpaste and wash cloth in your hand luggage

• If it is a significant delay, then let any hotels, relatives or work colleagues at your destination know about your delay, re-book your travel insurance and speak to your airline about other possible flight options