10 million Brits may face ​Bank Holiday misery with travel ​delays

New Which? research has found that nearly 10 million people are planning a getaway this weekend, with ​almost half anticipating travel delays.

A fifth (19%) of the British public plan to travel over the August Bank holiday, with 62% of those taking to the road in cars and buses, 17% by plane and 15% travelling on trains.

Nearly half (46%) of those travelling think they’ll face delays, with three quarters (75%) planning to change their journey as a result. The most common changes are:

  • Four in 10 (38%) plan to leave more time for their journey;

  • A quarter (26%) will travel at a quieter time;

  • Around one in 10 (8%) are planning to travel overnight and slightly more (11%) will break up their journey with an overnight stop.

Which? ​a​nalysis of August travel data also shows that people would be wise to plan ahead.

August is traditionally the busiest month on the roads with motorway traffic 9% higher than average. The busiest roads were the M25, Manchester’s ringroad the M60 and the M1 south of the M6 junction at Rugby.

Those travelling by plane are also more likely to be delayed in August than any other month. We found 38,000 flights were delayed by 15 minutes or more last year which is around 3.7million passenger journeys. We also discovered 790 flights delayed by three hours or more meaning 76,000 passenger journeys were potentially due compensation. Since we launched our flight delay compensation tool earlier this month, over 3,000 people have used it to claim for a lengthy delay.

A number of rail routes will be affected by major engineering works this weekend, and with potential strike action also expected it’s important that anyone planning a rail journey this weekend is aware of any disruption on their route. When we investigated earlier this year three in 10 (29%) passengers told us they had suffered a delay when they last travelled, and three quarters of those held up for more than an hour said they were not informed that they qualified for a full refund.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:

“We all want to make the most of the Bank Holiday weekend, and with so many people looking to travel it’s important to plan ahead. Some delays are unavoidable, but if you’ve bought a ticket for an airline, bus or train journey then you could be entitled to compensation.

W​hich? has​ put all ​of its ​travel compensation advice in one place to make it easier to find out what you can claim and how.


Notes to editors:

  1. Which? consumer rights advice on how to claim compensation for a delayed train, bus and plane journeys can be found here: www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights

  2. Travel market research: Populus, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 2047 GB adults online between 21st and 23rd August 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of the GB population. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Extrapolation to Great Britain population used ONS mid-year 2014 population estimates.

  3. Road statistics methodology: In May 2015, The Department for Transport released data showing the distribution of traffic flows by month. The data were collected by Automatic Traffic Counters and were scaled to show the average flow across the 2010-2014. The data can be found at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport/series/road-traffic-statistics

  4. Flight delay statistics methodology: Which? Analysis of CAA flight punctuality data (August 2014) and ONS International Passenger Survey (2014). Average passengers per flight were derived by taking the total passenger journeys from IPS(2014), divided by total CAA flights recorded (CAA punctuality data June 2014 – May 2015).

  5. Rail stats methodology: In our November 2014 survey of the general public we received 7,309 responses from commuter and leisure travellers about the journeys they had taken in the previous 12 months.

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