The strikes that could ruin your holiday – our calendar of travel chaos

empty platforms at Kings Cross Station in London.  Rail passengers will face new travel chaos on Friday as another strike by train drivers will leave large parts of the country without services for the day - James Manning/PA Wire

empty platforms at Kings Cross Station in London. Rail passengers will face new travel chaos on Friday as another strike by train drivers will leave large parts of the country without services for the day – James Manning/PA Wire

We are becoming all too familiar with strikes affecting our daily lives, but you may not have considered how industrial action could also disrupt your holiday plans. The likes of passport officers and museum workers have walked out in recent weeks, and even getting to the airport can prove a challenge with ongoing rail strikes.

Beyond the UK’s borders, travel-related strikes in Europe could lead to flight delays or cancellations and problems on the ground, which will be of particular concern to families who going out on February half term break.

Here we round up the planned travel strikes across key European holiday destinations this month. This page will be updated regularly to reflect the latest information, but please note that some strikes will be announced with little notice.


Another round of train strikes on February 3 will paralyze rail networks across the UK. Victoria and London Bridge are among the stations that will close completely and no services will be run by 13 train companies. No further train strikes have been announced, but rail union boss Mick Lynch has already said walkouts could last until November 2023.

Meanwhile, Border Force strikes at key ports will coincide with the half term holidays. Around 1,000 members of the Commercial and Public Services Union (PCS) will be on strike in Dover, as well as Calais, Coquelles and Dunkirk from February 17 to 20.


No stranger to strikes, France will see another wave of activity in February. It is planned that petrol workers will walk out for 48 hours on February 6. Similar strikes last year led to fuel shortages across the country with more than a third of petrol stations running completely dry and drivers waiting hours to fill up.

And on February 19, workers from the country’s national railway company, SNCF, are due to go on strike, which is likely to cause widespread disruption to train services across the country.

Holidays to France could be affected by UK Border Force strikes at ports including Calais, Coquelles and Dunkirk, from February 17 to 20.


Air traffic controllers in Spain are scheduled to walk out on February 6, and some form of action will continue every Monday until the end of the month.

Jet2 has warned that its flights may be affected as a result. A note on the airline’s website reads: “We wanted to inform you that an industrial strike is taking place on Monday 6 February, supported by the air traffic service in Spain.

“If it affects you, please be assured that we will try to keep any disruption to a minimum. Please arrive at the airport at least two hours before your departure time. Check-in closes 40 minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure time.

“For up-to-date information, please check this webpage again, as well as the event screens and listen out for any announcements. We’ll have you on your way as soon as we can.”

Meanwhile, EasyJet has tried to allay any passenger fears. A spokesman said: “We do not expect any disruption to our flight schedule but are advising customers traveling on the relevant dates to check the status of their flights on our Flight Tracker page.”

A total of 16 airports are to be affected by the strike:

  • A Coruña

  • Alicante

  • Castle

  • El Hierro

  • Fuerteventura

  • Ibiza

  • Jerez de la Frontera

  • La Palma

  • Lanzarote

  • Lleida

  • Madrid-Cuatro Vientos

  • Murcia

  • Sabadell

  • Seville

  • Valentine

  • Vigo

It is worth noting that laws in Spain mean that a minimum level of service must be maintained at all times. Thus, the impact of the previous strike by air traffic controllers and airline cabin crew was less dramatic than previously feared.


Public transport staff in Italy will stage a 24-hour national walkout on February 17. There are other more local measures to take place during the month as well but this is not expected to cause significant problems for holidaymakers.


Rail workers across Portugal will also walk out on February 9. The action follows the cabin crew strikes of flag carrier TAP last month.

What to do if strike action affects your travel plans?

Before you travel, make sure to check if there are any ground strikes in your destination and plan accordingly. Even local train strikes, for example, could cause problems for travel from the airport on arrival.

If your flight is delayed or canceled due to strike action, contact your airline immediately. Airlines are obliged to offer assistance such as food and drink or accommodation in the event of extensive delays due to industrial action. Most will try to put you on another flight when space allows.

In the case of completely canceled flights, whether you are entitled to compensation depends on whether the strike is considered something that the airline could reasonably control. Under UK and EU law, you are only entitled to a refund if your carrier notifies you that your flight has been canceled less than 14 days from the date you are due to fly.

For more information on what to do if your flight is delayed or cancelled, read our comprehensive guide, here.

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