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Easter weekend travel chaos: How busy will it be and when are the worst times to travel?

Simon Calder’s Travel

The great Easter getaway could see travellers caught up in delays by road, ferry, rail and air. In a normal year there would be a gap between most schools breaking up and the long weekend. But with Easter falling so early the two are combined. Term is ending at many schools on Thursday 28 March, putting extra pressure on transportation.

Some airports and airlines are predicting record numbers for the spell between Good Friday and Easter Monday. Geneva routes will be extremely busy with winter sports fans, while Malaga, Alicante, Faro and Tenerife are the leading spring sunshine holiday destinations.

Among city breaks, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Paris and Rome are the most popular. Dubai, Orlando and New York are the key longer-haul destinations.

After the chaos at the Port of Dover over the corresponding weekend last year, coach passengers and holiday motorists can expect an easier journey despite the tough French border passport checks the UK requested after the vote to leave the EU.

At home, motoring experts are warning that journeys on some stretches of motorway could take twice as long as normal.

Rail travel may see some passenger records broken, with Eurostar selling five per cent more tickets than last Easter – even though the London-Disneyland Paris route was scrapped last June because of Brexit.

Domestic train trips will be hampered by widespread engineering work, including on the key West Coast main line linking London Euston with the West Midlands, northwest England and southern Scotland.

Once April begins, train drivers belonging to the Aslef union will walk out with a series of further strikes on both trains and the London Underground.

These are the key pressure points through the Easter holidays, starting with airports.

When and where will airport crowds build up?

Two million British travellers are expected to fly away during the Easter weekend. Over the four-day break, departing passengers are likely to outnumber arrivals as families head abroad.

Maundy Thursday (28 March) will be busier than a normal due to business travellers completing trips and some families taking advantage of (slightly) lower prices to escape as soon as the school holidays begin.

Good Friday (29 March) should be quieter, with fewer business passengers.

Easter Saturday (30 March) will be extra busy as the normal ski Saturday crowds are augmented by…

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