The Border Force has deployed additional staff and sniffer dogs to northern France as well as bolstering screening checks at Dover for both tourist and freight vehicles.
If you go ahead and travel
Operation Stack has closed part of the M20 and it isn’t expected to reopen until 3pm on Sunday (latest details on trafficengland.co.uk). If you have no option but to travel to Dover and take the M20, you are likely to be signed off the motorway onto the A20 at Hollingbourne.
Be prepared for a long, slow journey from there. The AA (theaa.com) says one alternative is to go directly onto the M2 from the M25, or leave the M20 at Maidstone and take the A249, M2 and A2. However, the last stretch into Dover port or the tunnel entrance has been very congested.
For the tunnel, Eurotunnel’s Twitter feed (@LeShuttle) has been suggesting taking the B2068 from Canterbury to Junction 11 of the M20. Whichever way you choose, it’s wise to allow a good two hours more than normal if you want to get to France on time. Don’t panic if you end up running late for a scheduled crossing, however – all the operators are flexible about allowing you onto the next available service. Check with the operator you are travelling with for the latest information before setting out.
If you want to postpone
Eurotunnel: Flexiplus tickets are fully flexible on changes and refunds. The cheapest standard tickets don’t allow a refund, but they do allow you to rearrange your crossings up to a year later, though you will have to pay any fare difference.
Ferries: most classes of PO (poferries.com) ticket on the Dover-Calais route are refundable, or can be exchanged for travel at a different date either for no charge or, on the cheapest, Saver fares, for a €43 (£30) fee, plus any difference between the fares. If you have a Standard Flexi ticket you must also pay any difference in the fares.
DFDS (dfdsseaways.co.uk) also allows changes on Dover crossings, sometimes at a cost – for example, it makes a £10 charge, plus the difference between the fares, for changes to its cheap, Economy tickets, which are not refundable. Rules for its refundable Flexi tickets are more generous. Contact the operator before making any assumptions – the terms and conditions are complicated and include time limits for changes on some types of ticket.
As our guide shows, Dunkirk offers a good way to avoid Calais (though not Dover) and a quick way onto the French autoroute system. Newhaven-Dieppe is a potential alternative, avoiding both. And if Brittany Ferries (brittany-ferries.co.uk) routes across the western Channel suit your needs, the company says it still has availability, especially on midweek crossings.
Travellers on Eurostar
Passenger trains to and from St Pancras have been subjected to occasional delays caused by security issues in the tunnel, but most have been running smoothly. Only the most expensive tickets are amendable or transferable to alternative dates, but Eurostar (eurostar.com) does offer decent levels of compensation – they start with a delay of more than 60 minutes (free one-way ticket). See website for full details.