Brexit: What travel buyers need to know

Corporate travel buyers can mitigate risks to their programs during the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on Jan. 31. Now what? A transition period will last until the end of 2020 to give the U.K. and EU time to negotiate remaining details, most importantly trade. Meanwhile, the current rules on trade, travel and business still apply. If the U.K. and EU can’t make a deal this year, a no-deal “hard Brexit” is still possible in January 2021.

Border control

Air services between the U.K. and EU will continue and be unaffected until Oct. 24, 2020. But there’s a good chance of delays and disruptions, particularly at the U.K.-EU border.

Will Brexit boost business travel costs?

Download the 2020 Industry Forecast to find out why travel buyers might pay more for hotels and meetings after Brexit. BCD clients can track Brexit developments in the Research & Innovation group on Connect.

In the event of a “hard Brexit” (the U.K. exits both the single market and the EU customs union without a deal), border control at airports and Eurostar train stations probably would be affected immediately.

Advice for travel managers: Encourage travelers from all countries to allow plenty of time to make it through regulatory processes. Use messaging via BCD Travel’s TripSource® platform to keep travelers informed.

Travel documents

U.K. citizens must renew passports before traveling if, on the day of travel, the passport will be valid for six months or less or was issued more than 9.5 years before. (Check the status of your passport.) Expect passport lines to keep getting longer.

U.K. citizens may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive within the EU. A U.K. traveler who takes a personal or company vehicle across the EU border will need a “green card” from an insurer and a GB sticker on the rear of the vehicle.

Advice for travel managers: Educate U.K. travelers about changes, and encourage them to allow plenty of time to renew or obtain documents. Targeted Traveler Engagement strategies can help with communications.

Health insurance for travelers

Travel insurance costs may increase if the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is discontinued.

Advice for travel managers: Work with human resources colleagues to gauge the impact on company health insurance policies—including travel insurance. Encourage travelers who carry personal health insurance to check how their coverage might change if EHIC goes away.

Mobile devices

The current guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will formally end after Brexit. Individual telecom companies will decide how to handle data charges.

Advice for travel managers: Check your telecom contracts for usage policies and ask travelers to check their own contracts to avoid unexpected fees while on business trips.

Keep up with the latest Brexit-related rules and regulations on the U.K. government website.

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