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Elderly passenger faints in huge airport queue as travel chaos spreads

Holidaymakers at Heathrow Airport have already faced queues stretching on for hours because of a backlog and for Covid checks and now Manchester has been hit

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Heathrow Airport: Passengers wait in long queues

Furious airport passengers are continuing to face lengthy queues as the travel chaos spreads to Manchester.

Holidaymakers at Heathrow Airport have already faced queues stretching on for hours because of a backlog and for Covid checks.

Images posted on social media revealed the ‘horrific’ queues to get through Terminal 3 as people vented their frustration.

The Home Office went on to admit the huge queues at the airport’s Terminal 5, where a pregnant woman fainted on Friday night, were “unacceptable.”

The airport said Border Force, which manages the checkpoint at Heathrow, knew there would be extra demand and said they were “very disappointed” that they did not have enough staff on duty on Friday night.



Long queues have been reported at Manchester Airport
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Image:

Ian McCarter)




But the queues have continued to drag on and the MEN reports that the travel chaos has now worsened at Manchester’s airport across the weekend.

One elderly passengers is said to have fainted as the queues piled up with many forced to wait for hours.

Some have said they were waiting as long as two hours to get through Passport Control which is run by UK Border Force.



Many passengers took to social media to rage about the ‘unacceptable’ situation
(

Image:

Jennifer Stanley)




Pictures showed luggage piling up on the floor and conveyor belts overflowing as a knock-on effect.

Ian McCarter shared images of the chaos adding: “They were seriously short staffed and clogged up, not even checking passenger locator forms so all a bit of a shambles really.”

Another traveller tweeted the airport to say: “T2 dep security was pretty grim this morning .

“Very long queues, only 2 or 3 stations open because of “staff shortage”.



Luggage was pictured being pilled high amid the throng
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Image:

MEN Media)




“Saw one elderly passenger faint in the queue . Not world class.”

Another added: “Check in this morning at Manchester Airport an absolute shambles.

“Arrived just after desks opened at 7.00 for a 9.35 flight. Arguments between airport and easyJet staff. Not enough staff on desks.

“Couldn’t process the 4 flights without constantly changing priorities and queues.”

And another asked: “Do you really think it’s acceptable to have such inefficient border control systems at Manchester airport after the recent Heathrow farce?



An elderly passenger was said to have fainted as they waited
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Image:

Mark Lilley)




“Hour long queues, zero ventilation and no social distancing whatsoever!”

Describing Saturday’s problems, Jennifer Stanley, from Bury, said it took two hours to get through Passport Control after she and her family returned from Mallorca.

“It was just crazy,” she said.

“The queue was moving at first. The reason it was moving was they were making the lanes longer, nobody was going through.

“They just kept increasing the capacity of that lane.

“It was like a third world country, kids were screaming, kids were sat on the floor.



The Home Office called the waits unacceptable
(

Image:

Jennifer Stanley)




“There was no social distancing whatsoever, it was quite scary.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Throughout the pandemic we have been clear that queue times may be longer as we ensure all passengers are compliant with the health measures put in place to keep the UK public safe. However, the very long wait times we saw at Heathrow last night are unacceptable.

“This is the busiest weekend of the year for returning passengers, with particularly high numbers of families with children under the age of 12 who cannot use e-gates.









“Border Force is rapidly reviewing its rosters and capacity and flexibly deploying our staff across the airport to improve waiting times. We are working very closely with Heathrow Airport and its airlines and we are all committed to making sure all passengers can have a safe and hassle-free journey.”

A spokesperson for Manchester Airport said: “We are aware that queues at the border this afternoon were longer than usual.

“Immigration checks are the responsibility of UK Border Force and we will review events with them to understand how these circumstances arose, and to ensure that passengers enjoy the best possible experience going forward.”

On Saturday afternoon, a Heathrow spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry that passengers faced unacceptable queueing times in immigration last night due to too few Border Force officers on duty.

“Border Force were aware of the extra demand from families and we were very disappointed that they did not provide sufficient resource.

“Additional Heathrow colleagues supported in managing queues and handed out passenger welfare including water, but we need every immigration desk to be staffed at peak times.”



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