Christmas travel chaos with train strikes, airport disruption, and busy roads

Brits hoping to celebrate Christmas and New Year with family could face travel chaos, experts have revealed.

RAC has estimated that 5.3 million drivers are going to be hitting the road tomorrow, while anyone travelling to or from Britain's busiest airport – Heathrow – will face an arduous task as it will be cut off from rail and Tube links because of engineering works.

And the AA is warning that combining today, tomorrow and Christmas Day, more than 18 million cars could be on the road, the Daily Mail reports.

The RAC's breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: "Despite the increasing prevalence of the Omicron Covid variant, our research shows that the vast majority of drivers are still determined to do Christmas properly this year – in sharp contrast to 12 months ago."

A survey from Transport Focus has shown that around 44% of Brits will be travelling to visit friends and family, especially as the Prime Minister said this week that there would be no new Covid-related restrictions imposed before the big day.

Of the 2,000 people survey, one in 10 said that they would use public transport, while RAC analysis showed that 9.4 million journeys would be made today and tomorrow for overnight stays and day trips.

The busiest periods are thought to be between 12pm and 4pm on today, and 11am and 2pm on Friday.

And the RAC has said that it will be the "busiest Christmas getaway on the roads in five years".

The scrapping of the Red Travel List has meant that Gatwick Airport was expecting to see around 750,000 travellers descend on it between December 18 and the end of the year – which is half of the amount pre-pandemic.

Gatwick's chief commercial officer, Jonathan Pollard, said: "While we understand the need for measures to stop the spread of the Omicron variant until more scientific information on its level of harm is available, it is vital these are in place no longer than absolutely necessary."

And finally, if you're planning to travel by train, the UK Rail Delivery Group has urged passengers to check if their train is running before they leave home, as Transport for London estimates that around 500 of its frontline staff are now isolating with "Covid-related illness".

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