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A travel expert has revealed the best time of day to fly amid the ongoing crisis currently facing airlines and airports, having shared some top tips in a new Channel 5 programme. Watch the trailer here:
International travel may finally be firmly back on the cards after two years of uncertainty, but things still aren’t quite as straightforward as we’d hoped they would be by now. Holidaymakers are currently having to navigate endless delays, cancellations and luggage issues before they’re able to sip on that cocktail on the beach.
While there’s no sure-fire way to guarantee a completely stress-free journey as things remain, ahem, up in the air, one travel expert has advised there is something you can do to at least put yourself in a ‘good position’.
Speaking in new Channel 5 show Britain’s Travel Chaos: How To Save Your Summer, travel journalist Simon Calder revealed that one of your best bets is to book an early flight, as this makes you less likely to inherit issues in the backlog of delays later on.
He said: “It’s horrible getting up at three o’clock in the morning in time for your half-past six in the morning flight, but if there’s disruption around, it’s a really good position to be in.
“Cancellations of the first wave of flights are not as frequent as they are for the tail end of the day because delays haven’t built up.
“Secondly, you’ve got plenty of time to come up with an alternative.”
The programme also featured a number of other tips to at least reduce the risks, with Calder urging people to book an ATOL-protected package holiday.
“Lots of people love DIY holidays,” he said.
“They’ll find a flight here, a rental car there, some lovely accommodation, they’ll put it all together – what could possibly go wrong? Well, your flight could be cancelled. At that point, I’m afraid you’ll probably be wishing you booked a proper package holiday.
“If you book the items independently, the car rental man is sitting there saying, ‘Well, the car’s here, the fact that you’re not isn’t our problem’. And similarly, the hotel proprietor, she’s saying, ‘Here’s your room, what’s your problem?’ And they’re not going to give you a refund.”
Other experts also advised people to book on a credit card, with consumer lawyer Dean Dunham saying you can make a Section 75 claim if the airline takes too long to refund you.
"Effectively, that means the credit card company steps in your shoes, gives your money back and takes up the fight with the airline,” he explained.
Travel consultant Paul Charles said you should never arrive at the airport ‘more than two-and-a-half hours’ before a flight, as you’re otherwise ‘adding to those queues’, while global aviation and travel analyst Sally Gethin suggested swotting up on your consumer rights before you even start booking anything.
"The best place to go is to the regulators website, CAA.co.uk, and they have a page on all your passenger rights in the event of disruption or cancellations,” she said.
Britain’s Travel Chaos: How To Save Your Summer airs on Channel 5 at 8pm tonight (Tuesday 12 July), and will also be available on My5.