Travel column with Katie Butler: Airports still struggling to cope with sudden increase in passenger numbers

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Another whirlwind of a week and an extremely busy Monday - zero cancellations, zero amendments and lots and lots of brand new bookings.

Katie Butler writes: We have been busy booking holidays back to back all day. It’s starting to feel almost back to pre-pandemic normal again and we couldn’t be happier.

While in store it feels almost back to normal it seems that the airports are still struggling to cope with the sudden increase in passenger numbers, although as I have mentioned previously, it seems to vary from airport to airport and some passengers have not been impacted at all.

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Our recommendation is still to get to the airport in good time (three hours before), and ensure you have checked your hand baggage to be sure you are not carrying anything that you shouldn’t.

Passengers queue for check-in at Manchester Airport. Photo: Getty ImagesPassengers queue for check-in at Manchester Airport. Photo: Getty Images
Passengers queue for check-in at Manchester Airport. Photo: Getty Images

This summer is expected to be the busiest holiday season since the start of the pandemic and new figures from ABTA show that families are leading the way with 70 per cent saying they have a holiday abroad booked this year, with Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Portugal proving popular.

Remember that some holiday destinations still have restrictions in place so it is important to keep checking travel advice at If you are booked with Total Travel we will ensure that you are fully aware of what requirements are still in place. Most tour operators also have an online tool showing tables of restrictions.

I am travelling in summer, do I still need a Passenger Locater Form?

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Most European holiday destinations have scrapped the requirement to complete a Passenger Locater Form, although there are still the odd few that require one in order to enter the country. Spain have scrapped the requirement for those that are fully vaccinated, Greece and Croatia have got rid of all entry restrictions regardless of vaccine status and so no forms and no proof of tests/vaccines. Turkey, Cyprus, Italy and Malta have all scrapped the locater form but you will need to prove you are fully vaccinated or take proof of a negative test before travel.

Will Spain allow unvaccinated adults to travel? I am due to travel in August.

While a handful of European countries are dropping Covid travel rules entirely, and many are allowing unvaccinated to travel with proof of a negative test, Spain has recently extended the ban on unvaccinated until May 15. This is the date we are likely to hear if the decision is changed or if they will continue with the strict requirements for adults. Children aged 12-17 can travel to Spain with proof of a negative test and under 12s are exempt completely.

There is certainly a real buzz in the shop with customers booking holidays, collecting tickets and enquiring about future holidays. It’s a fantastic feeling, but just as important is the excitement of the girls at Total Travel who are back to doing what they love and do best - getting you on your well deserved holiday.

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