Brexit and business travel: How will it affect you?

Business travellers are likely to see a number of changes to the ways in which they move around the EU post-Brexit.

After last year’s referendum on leaving the EU, the withdrawal process is now underway and the UK should be out of the union by April 2019. As this has never been done before, there is much speculation about how it will work and what the effects will be on everything from the price of veg to foreign holidays.

For those who travel regularly for work, however, there could be huge implications when it comes to Brexit. So, what can the UK business traveller expect in the next two years and beyond? Read on to discover the ins and outs.

Flying

The principle of open skies is one of the things that helps to facilitate business trips across the continent. Currently, an airline that is owned and controlled by nationals of any of the EU member states can fly anywhere within the union without worrying about caps on pricing, capacity or frequency.

Such an agreement has meant the proliferation of low-cost airlines operating regularly from the UK to all corners of Europe. Renegotiating a deal for similar freedoms could be tough and, therefore, mean fewer or more expensive flights. Even before the referendum, Ryanair warned it would cut investment in the UK in the case of Brexit and base extra aircraft elsewhere in the EU.

The right to compensation in the case of flight delays, cancellation or denied boarding is enshrined in EU law. Post-Brexit it will be up to the UK to decide whether to join nine other non-EU nations that abide by EU Regulation 261 to protect such rights for air passengers. This rule covers European airlines and flights out of Europe and means business travellers are not left out of pocket when flights don’t go according to plan.

Immigration

It is unlikely that British nationals will need visas to travel to countries in the EU after Brexit, but the most notable change for business travellers will be which queue to join at passport control. As time is money, waiting in the non-EU line at the airport and finding it taking longer could become a bugbear for those with important meetings to get to or only a limited amount of time in a destination.

When Henley & Partners carried out its annual passport index in 2015, the UK topped the rankings alongside Germany for the power the document had. In 2017, the UK has dropped a spot in the same study and could fall even further due to Brexit. The British passport still holds a lot of sway, but is already losing power by increments.

Mobile roaming

A smartphone is an essential piece of kit for any self-respecting business traveller and most people don’t think about how they’re using it in the UK. Go abroad and high roaming charges can apply, but these have been dropping in recent years, mainly due to pressure from the EU. From June 2017, such charges are due to be abolished altogether, but this will not necessarily stand for Brits once the UK has left the union. It could mean a hefty bill for those all-important business calls and messages.

More bureaucracy

British nationals can expect more bureaucracy when travelling to the EU post-Brexit and their travel plans to be a little more complex. This is inevitable when leaving an established bloc that facilitates easier travel. While the pound may not go as far in the short-term, upping the overall cost of business travel and more forms need to be filled in, only time will tell just how much things will change post-Brexit, but business will have to find a way to function.

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