Airlines are not doing enough to warn passengers about Brexit

Passengers waiting in a departure lounge at London Stansted Airport. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

Passengers waiting in a departure lounge at London Stansted Airport. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

Airlines are not doing enough to warn customers about the possible impact of a no deal Brexit, Which? magazine has warned.

It is argued that popular airlines should be telling customers that there is a possibility of passports becoming invalid and flights being cancelled if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.

The publication issued the alert after studying the websites of easyJet, Thomas Cook and TUI.

Which? editor, Rory Boland, told the Press Association: “There were no warnings through the booking process on any of those sites about possible cancellations or passport validity.”

Proposed guidance from the EU Commission on no deal stated that flights between the UK and EU should continue for 12 months in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but UK airlines would not be allowed to add new routes or increase frequencies.

The International Air Transport Association said this cap on flights could lead to as many as five million plane tickets being cancelled.

Airports Council International predicted that - if the policy was also applied by the UK to EU airlines - it would “ultimately result in the loss of 93,000 new flights and nearly 20 million airport passengers on the UK-EU27 market”.

Boland said: “We think airlines should be more upfront that some flights may not be able to depart in the case of a no-deal because it would give potential customers the opportunity to change their plans.

“That could mean booking a package holiday ... or they may decide they’ll still buy the flight but they won’t purchase their hotels or car hire until a later date when they’re sure those flights are going to depart.

“It’s giving passengers more information so they can make a better, informed decision about their holidays.”

Travellers will need to have at least six months left on their passport from the date of arrival in EU countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Boland claimed the government “should be warning people more proactively” about the change.

He said: “The issue will come when everybody suddenly realises as the Easter holidays approach and then there’s a mass of applications and the passport office can’t handle it.

“They should be telling people to get those applications in early.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We are committed to ensuring that flights between the UK and EU continue, and the European Commission has published a proposal to make sure this happens.

“This clearly shows that in the event of no deal, both sides are committed to maintaining connectivity. These combined reassurances should allow businesses and passengers to continue to book and travel with confidence.”

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “A no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the UK aviation sector.

“The government must immediately reassure the aviation industry that its operating environment will not change after March 29.

“Theresa May has to listen to the majority of MPs, as well as members of her own cabinet, and take no-deal off the table.”

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