Update: London Heathrow LHR Strikes Called Off After Union Accepts Pay Offer

Avoid London Heathrow LHR: 31 Days of Strikes Summer 2023


6/24 update: Good news, the Unite Union voted to accept a higher pay offer, calling off the planned summer strikes.

6/13 update: The initial two days of strikes on June 24 and June 25 have been called off, since Heathrow Airports Ltd. (HAL) has made an improved compensation offer to workers, per the Unite Union. Unite members will vote on whether to accept, and if rejected, the remaining strike days will proceed as planned.

If you'll be departing London Heathrow Airport LHR this summer, you might want to rethink those plans and depart from a different airport or on a different day, or at the very least allow plenty of extra time to get through security.

That's because the Unite union's security workers at LHR have announced new labor strikes: 31 days of strikes are planned for June, July and August 2023, over salaries. Here are the planned strike dates:

  • June 28, 29, 30
  • July 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30
  • August 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27

The strikes are expected to include more than 2000 security personnel at LHR Terminal 3 and Terminal 5 and security officers who check staff and vehicles going airside. While LHR Terminal 5 is primarily used by British Airways and some Iberia flights, Terminal 3 airlines that would be affected by the strikes include American Airlines, Delta, Emirates, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

United said its workers had rejected “a below inflation pay offer of 10.1 per cent”, with general secretary Sharon Graham stating: “Unite is putting Heathrow on notice that strike action at the airport will continue until it makes a fair pay offer to its workers.


Alternatives: Different European Departure City, London Gatwick, Train

Many U.S. based travelers who have tickets departing from LHR aren't in a position to change their flights without significant penalties, but for those who haven't yet booked tickets should strongly consider avoiding a LHR departing flight on the impacted dates. Departing from a different European airport also typically incurs fewer taxes/fees, due to the high air passenger duty (APD) from UK airports.

If a non-UK airport isn't feasible, there are flights to the U.S. from London Gatwick (LGW) such JetBlue's Boston and New York JFK flights and Delta's New York JFK flight. Other UK-US flights include Edinburgh EDI to Newark EWR, Chicago ORD and Washington IAD on United and EDI to JFK, ATL, and BOS on Delta. Or fly Singapore Business Class on Singapore's fifth freedom flight, Manchester MAN to Houston IAH. Alternatively, hop over to Ireland and fly Aer Lingus Business Class from Dublin to Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York JFK, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, or Washington Dulles. The nice thing about flying from Dublin is that there's a U.S. Preclearance facility, so you can clear immigration and customs before you board the plane.

We'd be remiss not to mention train travel as a great alternative to a short haul flight, if you're going to Scotland or across the Channel to France. The fastest trains go from London to Edinburgh in less than 4.5 hours, and the Eurostar goes from London to Paris in just 2 hours 16 minutes, far more convenient going city center to city center than schlepping out to the airport and back.

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