Train operators had proposed axing ticket offices
Train drivers in the UK are planning walkouts from Dec. 2 until Dec. 8 | AFP: CARLOS JASSO AFP News

Travel in the UK is set to face several disruptions next month due to disputes amongst air travel and rail companies.

Christmas is the time when people plan to reunite with their far-away friends and family, but getaways in December this year may prove to be difficult because some disruptions are still expected to take place because of a series of strikes and engineering work. UK travellers are urged to plan their trips accordingly and be aware of any new developments.

French air traffic controllers strike

France's air traffic controllers (ATC) carried out a strike on Monday, leading to a series of cancellations from UK airports at the start of this week. This also saw British Airways grounding more than 20 flights from Heathrow to France, Switzerland and Spain.

Workers at France's ATC are protesting a new law requiring them to announce their plans to go on strike at least 48 hours before walking out.

As a result, The French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has ordered airlines to cut their normal schedules by 25 per cent at Paris-Orly and Toulouse airports and another 20 per cent at Bordeaux and Marseille, with disruptions also affecting other French airports.

In addition, airline companies such as British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Iberia were forced to suspend some short-haul flights, including flights to destinations that are not within the French territory.

This week's strike brought to an end the "Olympic Truce", where the ATC promised not to walk out again until after the games in Paris next summer. Even though there are no more strikes planned at the moment, it is highly likely there'll be more in the coming weeks and months.

UK train strikes

The ASLEF, a craft union representing train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales that is over 140 years old, has announced another round of strike action, planning walkouts from Dec. 2 until Dec. 8.

In the said period, aside from Dec. 4, a different part of the UK will be struck with the strikes by the ASLEF union. In addition, a nine-day ban on overtime will come into force from Dec. 1 until Dec. 9, which is likely to cause more cancellations.

Train drivers belonging to ASLEF will walk out on the following days:

Dec. 2: East Midlands Railway and LNER.

Dec. 3: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern, Thameslink and West Midlands Trains

Dec. 5: C2C and Greater Anglia

Dec. 6: Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway

Dec. 7: CrossCountry and GWR

Dec. 8: Northern and TransPennine Trains

Engineering works

Network Rail is set to carry out vital engineering works on train lines across the country that could coincide with the Christmas time. Travellers planning to take the train during the upcoming holidays, are advised to "plan your journeys over the Christmas and New Year holiday in advance".