For doubters, the unthinkable has happened. Today the world has woken up to find Britain and the EU are going their separate ways. At this stage it remains to be seen who will get what in the divorce, and there’s lots of questions (and hyperbole) being thrown around. Who will keep the puppy and the wedding silver? Who will get to have little Scotland on his birthday?
But seriously, with London being an international gateway, Brexit could raise a raft of issues for travellers – ranging from immigration problems to consumer rights and airline fares. Here’s the skinny on what the future of European travel might look like.
Getting into the UK may become a challenge
Before Brexit, the queues at London’s Heathrow airport moved quickly thanks to EU citizens being able to enter through a separate line without any restrictions. These same travellers might now be required to join Australians, Americans, and other international travellers in one queue for non-UK citizens. The result is a customs headache the same size as New York’s JFK airport – where waiting times can average around four hours. Let’s hope things don’t come to that!
Holidays may become cheaper…
If there’s one silver lining to all this, it will be the extra coin sitting in your bank account. The popular view is that the British pound will take a substantial hit in the wake of Brexit, which would have a domino effect on the global economy. For travellers visiting the UK this will likely translate into a better exchange rate, making renewing your passport that extra bit appealing.
A ripple effect of this is that less Brits will be holidaying through Europe, which could create discounted vacations across the entire Mediterranean and other popular British holiday destinations, such as Spain, Ibiza, Tuscany, and Provence.
… but UK airfares might become more expensive
Airline carriers such as British Airways and easyJet have coasted along on the back of the preferential Single European Sky legislation, which grants any carrier based in the EU the guaranteed right to operate freely throughout the continent. When the UK formally leaves the EU, British airline carriers will be scrambling to renegotiate their bilateral agreements to continue flying into Europe. The result might be higher prices for airfares from the UK to the EU.
UK airlines could become a harder to deal with
The EU has an impressive track record on consumer protections for travellers, with regulations in place covering anything from delayed flights to natural disasters. While these protections will continue for both EU and non-EU citizens on flights with European-based carriers to and from the EU, UK carriers will need to make their own decision whether they will enforce the same standards. If they’re frugal they might choose to offer less protection, which could cause some headaches for travellers.
But good news – now you can buy that beach house in Mykonos you’ve always wanted!
Brexit might result in many British expats selling up and moving back home to the Motherland. If this happens then expect a flood of Mediterranean vacation homes to hit the market. With Greece’s finances in the gutter, Millennials might finally be able to afford a house!
In these early days it’s still difficult to see exactly how Brexit will impact international travel, with the exact terms of the UK’s departure from the EU still to be ironed out in the months to come.