Dover travel chaos hits Easter getaways to France

The Local France
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Dover travel chaos hits Easter getaways to France
Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP

There was bad news for Brits hoping for an Easter break in France, with long queues once again reported at Dover on Thursday afternoon.


The Port of Dover was the scene of 18-hour queues for coach parties last weekend, and ahead of the Easter long weekend, traffic was reported to be building again on Thursday.

UK newspaper The Independent reported that queues at the ferry port of Dover were already 90-minutes long on Thursday morning, with traffic expected to be very heavy on Thursday and Friday. 

DFDS and P&O Ferries were advising people to allow extra time for their journeys, and saying that passengers who miss their ferry while queuing will be allowed to travel on the next available crossing.

The UK port has been the scene of long queues ever since tourism restarted after the pandemic and travellers came under the post-Brexit system of passport stamping.

This process adds considerable time because it requires French border control teams who work in Dover to process each passenger - which at peak times like Easter and the summer holidays can lead to long queues.

ANALYSIS Is Brexit to blame for UK-France travel chaos and will it affect every holiday?

Due to the Le Touquet agreement, French border control agents work in Dover, Folkestone and the Eurostar terminal of London St Pancras - meaning that all passport checks take place at departures in the UK. Since Brexit, passports of all non-EU nationals entering France from the UK must be checked and - if applicable - stamped to ensure that travellers comply with the 90-day rule.

Doug Bannister, chief executive for the Port of Dover, told The Independent that the French border police had been "very, very good" at responding to the build-up of traffic last weekend, sending extra agents to help process the backlog.

He told the paper "On Saturday, when they knew we were having challenges, they actually turned up with more people to better support us as well. So they've been very, very flexible."


This contradicts the statements of various Brexit-supporting British MPs, who blamed the French for the chaos at the port.

Separately, there were cancellations on flights going to France on Thursday because of the ongoing air traffic controllers' strike. Thursday was another strike day in France with widespread travel disruption - full details here.

On Friday most French workers will go back to work and disruption will ease, although the civil aviation authority expects some limited flight cancellations over the weekend as well.

Eurostar cancelled two trains on Thursday due to the strikes, but expects to run a normal service on Friday and over the weekend.

You can find all the latest French strike information HERE.


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