Sergey svechnikov k Kun Es Z Rsqc unsplash

What to expect when flying during holidays 2021

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Despite the high hopes many of us had even just a few months ago, this holiday season will not be yet a true ‘back to normal’ time. However, in most cases, the social distancing measures are being reduced or even completely lifted, making more people eager to travel during the holidays. Some will even take transcontinental flights thanks to the USA border reopening.

What can passengers expect when flying during the holiday season 2021? We break down the biggest issues below.

COVID measures

Social distancing is mandatory at all British and EU airports.

The same applies to facemasks — you must wear them both at the airport and on the plane. There are exemptions, but applicable only to specific cases. You can learn more about these in our blogpost, Do you need to wear a face mask when travelling by plane? — EU face mask plane policies.

Additionally, before you fly, you should carefully review the measures for travellers at your destination. For example, while within the EU you will most likely not need to take a COVID test if you are vaccinated or have recently recovered from coronavirus, other countries — like the United States — require travellers to be both vaccinated and tested prior to travel.

You will also most likely be asked to fill out a health form before boarding the plane and/or before landing. These forms include questions about your current health as well as your contact details, so the airline and the local government can reach you in case a fellow passenger of yours has been diagnosed with COVID.

children in facemasks at the airport

Long lines at the airports

This one will not be a surprise to frequent holiday travellers. However, during the 2021 holiday season, the lines might be even worse than usual, as many airports are understaffed after laying off employees in the first months of the pandemic.

If possible, come to the airport early, equipped with a good book to keep you entertained while waiting for the plane.

Fewer flights available

If you haven’t bought the flight ticket for Christmas yet, do it now.

Generally, the current scheduled airline capacity is approximately 25% below the 2019 levels — this means 25% fewer flights are available. This is caused, among other reasons, by airlines’ understaffing as well as the uncertainty about the incoming travel restrictions in many countries.

Flight delays

Bad news: the delays are bound to happen. According to our data, this holiday season, approximately 1 million European passengers will be affected by a flight cancellation or a long delay of 3 hours.

Good news: if your flight gets delayed by at least 3 hours due to the airline’s fault, you can claim compensation of up to £520. You can always use our free Claim Calculator to make sure if you are indeed eligible. 

=> Learn more about flight delay compensation

Did you know?

If you had a flight delayed by at least 3 hours during the last 6 years, you can claim compensation of up to £520.

Check my flight

Flight cancellations

Delay is bearable but what if the airline cancels your flight last minute?

If the airline does not offer you an alternative flight (or they do but you don’t want to take it because it doesn’t fit your schedule), you can claim a flight refund. And don’t accept vouchers — you are entitled to an actual monetary refund!

Plus, if the flight gets cancelled fewer than 14 days prior to departure, you can also try claiming compensation of up to £520.

=> Learn more about flight refunds