The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel

A week without significant change... now that is something we are not used to!

Sunday, 8th August 2021, 2:30 pm
HEATHROW: Covid testing centre at Terminal 5. Photo: Getty Images

However, this week will see a review of the traffic light system and of course an update on which destinations will be added/removed to the red, amber and green lists.

We will deliver a full update on this in next week’s column.

We have customers travelling out almost every day this month on an overseas holiday.

There are different requirements for each destination, and one thing that does seem to be catching people out is passport validity.

How long do I need on my passport to travel to Europe?

From January 1, 2021 new rules for travelling to Europe came into place.

This is due to the Brexit transition period ending and new passport rules coming into place.

The FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), advises that for travel to Europe your passport should be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave, and be less than ten years old.

Why are passengers refused boarding because of out of date passports?

This is where there has been much confusion.

Although passports may look to be in date, if you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to the current expiry date.

Any extra months on your passport over ten years may not count towards the three months needed.

If you are due to travel this year, there is a quick and easy way by which you can check the date you can travel to Europe on your current passport.

Simply put into google “check my passport”, the first page that comes up will direct you to the Government passport checker, or alternatively type this link into your browser: am due to travel to Greece in September and my flight has been cancelled. Why is this when overseas travel seems to be opening up?

We get asked this question weekly from worried holidaymakers and a lot of the flight cancellations are simply due to consolidating flights together.

As an example, an airline may have a flight operating daily to a destination, however, a lot of passengers on that flight may have changed dates to next year, leaving a half empty flight.

The airline has to decide if it is worth operating a flight with minimal passengers, or would it be more cost effective to them to cancel the route.

We are unsure on what can be expected at the next travel review. However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is calling for the urgent easing of travel restrictions as Government ministers prepare to introduce changes to the UK traffic light system this week.

Mr Sunak has written to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that the UK’s travel restrictions are ‘out of step with our international competitors’, according to The Sunday Times. It’s another big week for the industry.

■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]