I was quite surprised to find yesterday that the first local school had just broken up for Easter. In my mind it was still weeks away but in fact Good Friday is only 2 weeks tomorrow.
After the winter we have had it wouldn’t surprise any of us if bookings to the Spanish resorts and warmer areas was the main appeal but personal finances being what they are, some of us will think of taking no breaks at all. And for those that do go, there could be quite a few handicaps to going away. First there are the railways. The RMT union is considering scheduling a nationwide strike because of what it says are safety issues that may occur when Network Rail lays off staff. . You probably need to be an expert to know if safety was an issue. Needless to say, Network Rail says there is no problem and you have to wonder whether if safety was the issue, the union wouldn’t have called the strike as soon as it legally could. By striking at Easter, the cynical amongst us begin to wonder.
So avoid rail and drive.
This means the motorway network and the main A roads will get even more clogged than usual at Easter. So we’ll go abroad but here we are beset by more strike issues. The next British Airways strike which starts on Saturday will be finished by Tuesday but there will probably be some planes in the wrong position so, as happened this week, there will be some disruption for another day or two afterwards. But Lufthansa and Germanwings pilots are planning a four day strike from April 13, TAP Portugal pilots were due to walk out on March 31 but have now said the strike won’t go ahead. Alitalia had a four hour strike and Air France narrowly averted one earlier this week. It seems almost everywhere you look, other than the no-frills airlines, disruption to the traveller is possible. And those not on strike making the most of it. The prices on some airlines have been very pricey during the BA strike.
Away from this misery and to where to go for Easter. Staycations still look to be very popular according to Visit England, a research company called BDRC and Skyscanner with London proving to be popular. Talking to two people who specialise in staving off bankruptcy amongst hotels, they say that London is managing to put hotel prices up but elsewhere there are bargains to be had as hotels struggle to fill rooms. On Skyscanners’ list, Spanish locations take 3 of the top 10 spots with Dublin, Amsterdam and Rome being popular. The number of enquiries about Spain is down on 2009 and, in February, visits by Britons were down by 7.7% compared to last year. Given that we were in the depths of the recession then, there has been little bounceback hence the launch of their big marketing campaign. On the other hand the big holiday group TUI (owners of Thomson and First Choice) and Thomas Cook are happy about Easter and Summer bookings.
What it all seems to mean is that there will still be bargains because the recession is still hurting some suppliers.