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13 Sep 2019

Brits fear flights will be cancelled after Brexit

The EU reassures holidaymakers that UK-EU flights can operate as normal until October 2020

A third of flyers are worried that European flights could be disrupted once Britain leaves the EU, according to a survey by Which? Travel.

Young people aged 18-24 were most apprehensive, with half concerned about booking flights for after the October 31 deadline in case of cancellation.

In contrast, only one in five of those aged 65-plus are worried that Brexit could impact their holiday plans. The capital was the most concerned region, with two in five of Londoners voicing their concerns.

However, the government has now told the public they can book with confidence as flights will operate as usual for the next year, regardless of the outcome of negotiations.

The European Commission has extended legislation that ensures UK-based airlines can continue to fly to the EU unaffected untilat least 24 October 2020 - even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Business as usual

More than 160 million passengers fly between the UK and the EU each year, so the news will come as a huge relief to holidaymakers.

The announcement means airlines can continue to operate as normal over next summer's peak holiday season and beyond.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, said in a recent statement: 'This extension will allow customers to book their travel arrangements further in advance in the confidence that there will be no disruption to flight schedules.

'While there are clearly other serious issues still to be resolved surrounding Brexit, we are encouraged that the European Commission has extended the deadline for this legislation.'

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State, assured the public: 'These extensions between the UK and EU ensure that it will be business as usual when travelling for the foreseeable future.'

How to prepare for a no-deal Brexit

This doesn't mean that there won't be any changes for British travellers if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, however.

While this legislation ensures flights will continue unaffected, you should still check your passport will be valid for travel under the new rules.

Read our Brexit consumer rights guide to find out if your passport will be accepted in the event of a no deal.

It's expected that cruises, coach trips and train journeys to the EU will continue as usual after Brexit.

However, the government has admitted that bus and coach services to non-EU countries, such as Switzerland or Andorra, may be affected. Check with your travel company if you are concerned about an upcoming trip.

Driving in the EU

You may also need to get an international driving permit (IDP) in addition to your UK licence if you plan on driving in an EU country other than Ireland.

There are three different types of IDP, and different EU counties will have different rules for UK drivers.

You may also need to get more than one permit. This depends on which countries you'll be travelling through, and whether you currently hold a paper UK driving licence or a photo card.

IDPs cost £5.50 each and can only be purchased from Post Office branches - they are not available online.

If you plan on using your own car, a Green Card may also be required to provide minimum cover for travel in the EU. Your insurer can issue a Green Card for free, but it's best to contact them at least one month before travel.

Other protection

The European Health Insurance Card scheme (Ehic), which allows access to state medical care in other EU countries, will no longer be valid for Britons in the event of a no deal.

Make sure you have decent travel insurance in place at the time of booking, rather than from the date of travel, to cover any cancellations.

Also consider booking your holiday through an Abta-certified travel agent, or at least paying for flights and hotels with your credit card, for extra protection.