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How to travel between France and UK without P&O Ferries

If you're planning a trip between France and the UK in the near future, you will have to do without P&O Ferries, after the company suspended all its services. So what other services are available?

How to travel between France and UK without P&O Ferries
Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

P&O Ferries on Thursday suspended all its sailings – including the Dover/Calais route – before its announcement that it has made redundant 800 of its UK-based staff.

The company says that it will not be running any services “for the next few days”, with as yet no timetable for a resumption of services.

Passengers who are booked on Dover/Calais services are advised to go to the port as planned, and head to the check-in for rival ferry firm DFDS.

P&O says on its website that “We will arrange to get you away on an alternative carrier as soon as possible” – although it’s not clear whether this will incur an extra charge.

Even when services restart, many customers are declaring they will boycott the company over its treatment of its UK workers.

So what are the alternatives?

Ferry 

If you prefer to go by sea, there are still three companies offering cross-Channel routes – DFDS, Brittany Ferries and newer addition Irish Ferries.

Brittany Ferries runs services between the UK ports of Portsmouth, Plymouth and Poole to Caen, St Malo, Cherbourg and Roscoff.

DFDS runs routes from Dover and Newhaven to Calais, Dunkirk and Dieppe.

Irish Ferries runs a Dover to Calais service.

Tunnel

If you like to travel by car, the other option is Eurotunnel, running from Dover to Calais with departures every 30 minutes and a 30-minute journey time.

Eurostar

Ditching the car gives you the option of the Eurostar. The train runs a London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord route, but once in France you can also continue to Lille or connect down to Bordeaux.

Services were severely cut during the pandemic, but are now back to 10 trains a day, although the UK stations of Ashford and Ebbsfleet are still not back in use, making London the only UK departure point.

Plane

Airlines have also restarted most of their pre-pandemic routes and this option means that you can head directly to southern France with airports in Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nice all now running UK routes again, as well as – obviously – Paris.

Easyjet, Ryanair, Air France, BA and Hop all offer routes between France and the UK.

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TRAVEL NEWS

‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.

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