The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III have no parallel in modern times for the UK.
In terms of travel, there will no doubt be disruption to a wide range of services – but as a sign of respect for Her Majesty, the national rail strikes have been canceled next week.
Travelers whose plans have changed are also concerned about their options.
These are the main questions and answers.
What’s happening on the railways?
Within hours of the news of the Queen’s death, the RMT union called off the national railway strikes scheduled for next Thursday and Saturday, September 15 and 17.
Aslef, the train drivers’ union, had planned a union action for Thursday, September 15. His departure has been postponed.
The TSSA railway union has also canceled the 24-hour shutdown, scheduled for September 26 and 27.
The news was welcomed by train operators. Lumo, which runs trains from London to Newcastle and Edinburgh, tweeted: “The whole railroad family is united in expressing our condolences to the royal family.
“We welcome the unions’ decision to call off next week’s strike at a time of national mourning.”
With train operators planning staff schedules a week in advance, assuming the strikes would take place, there could still be some disruption on Thursday as schedules are rescheduled. But Network Rail’s signallers will work normally, meaning the entire network must be accessible.
Be prepared for local disruptions related to current events. For example, South Western Railway has had to close the parking lot at Windsor & Eton Riverside station.
Will there be more trains to take people to and from London?
That seems to be the plan: to enable people from all over Britain to pay their respects to the Queen as she lies in state at Westminster Hall, and to be in London on the day of the funeral.
LNER, which operates most services on the mainline from the east coast of Scotland, North East England and Yorkshire to London, said: “Train operators, Network Rail and Transport for London are working together to provide as many seats and services as possible to enable people to to show their respect.
“We expect services and London to be much busier than usual, especially on the day of the funeral, and we ask people to plan ahead and check before traveling.”
I predict that train operators will strive to moderate the fares by, for example, removing time restrictions for off-peak services.
My train plans have been compromised. Can I change my train ticket without penalty?
It depends: Advance tickets can generally be changed until 6:00 PM the day before departure – at least until the rest of the month. But for the new date/time, the rate difference can be paid.
Refunds are usually not offered for Advance tickets, but some operators may offer more flexibility.
In particular, LNER says, “If you want to change previous plans or stop traveling, you can change or refund your ticket.”
What about airlines?
Two British airlines have given The independent details of their flexibility options for passengers whose plans have changed.
Loganair tells passengers: “We know that during this extraordinary time, families and friends may want to get together and reconsider their travel plans in the coming weeks.
“In light of these circumstances, Loganair is offering customers additional flexibility in booking travel during this period:
“If you want to change your travel date(s), you can do so free of charge and move to another flight date in September.
“If you were to attend an event that has been confirmed to be rescheduled or cancelled, you can request a voucher for the original value of the trip by completing this form.
“Vouchers can be exchanged for new bookings for future trips within three months of receipt of the voucher.
“In this case, you will need to provide supporting documentation of a cancellation or relocation of a major event you were due to attend – this can be uploaded via the form.
“The fastest and easiest way to make changes is online and our Customer Help Center is currently very busy – so we kindly ask that you only call us if you really need to.”
EasyJet, on the other hand, wants passengers whose plans change to call their call center. A spokesperson for Britain’s largest budget airline said: “During this exceptional time, we recognize that some customers may need to change their travel plans and they can do so by calling our call centre. [0330 551 5151] where staff can use discretion to offer free changes on a case-by-case basis.”
I have a hotel booking that I don’t need because the event has been cancelled. Is there anything I can do?
In the very rare event that you’ve booked a package focused on the event, the contract will be deemed “frustrated” and you should get a full refund without any hassle.
However, for the vast majority of guests, if you have prepaid for a room, the fact that you no longer need it does not require the hotel to offer any kind of compensation.
Talk to the hotel about your options. The independent has asked some leading hotel chains for their policies.
The first to respond was Travelodge. A spokesperson said: “Anyone who has a current booking at one of our London hotels and needs to change it, we can change it to a different date or offer a voucher for a future booking.
“We will do the same for bookings made outside of London for an event or gathering that has been canceled due to respect for the Queen during the mourning period and up to the funeral.”
Premier Inn has declined to comment.
I want to travel to London to pay my respects. Will hotel rates be high?
It’s hard to say. “Normal” tourism and business trips may decline sharply, leaving rooms free. Or the demand may be so great that prices rise.
The Travelodge spokesperson said: “Our 78 hotels in London are expected to be busy in the coming days and we will be offering competitive rates in line with the market as we normally do.”
Will there be flight disruptions in the coming days?
Industry insiders predict significant disruption at London’s airports – mainly Heathrow and Stansted – largely due to heads of state surrounding the Queen’s funeral. Some Edinburgh Airport flights may be affected by royal family movements.
In addition, flights may be canceled on the day of the funeral by airlines wishing to give their staff the opportunity to celebrate the occasion.
The easyJet spokesperson said: “Many of our cabin and ground crew have requested that black scarves and ties be worn as part of their uniforms as a sign of respect for and in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
On the other hand, can additional flights be scheduled?
Unlikely, given that the two largest UK airlines – British Airways and easyJet – are currently operating hundreds of fewer flights per day than originally planned due to resource issues.
The easyJet spokesperson said: “Given our extensive flight schedule to and around the UK, we currently have no plans to expand flying in the coming days.
“We already operate up to 1,700 flights a day, nearly 300 flights to London and 230 flights a day domestically.”