Breaking News

The Easter getaway nightmare: BA and easyJet cancel 110 flights TODAY

The Easter getaway nightmare: BA and easyJet cancel 110 flights TODAY

Britain’s families heading on Easter holidays faced gridlock today ahead of the busiest weekend for travel since the pandemic began amid chaotic scenes in Kent as cross-Channel services on P&O Ferries remained suspended.

Drivers on the M25 endured heavy congestion across 30 miles of road in the western section between junction 11 for Woking in Surrey and junction 21 for the M1 – an area which also passes through the Heathrow Airport turn-off.

Eurotunnel said Kent was facing a ‘tsunami of traffic’, while passengers at airports again faced huge queues as the aviation regulator warned airlines to set ‘deliverable’ schedules amid mass cancellations due to staff shortages.

P&O said no Dover to Calais services would run until next week at the earliest as it continues to try to get the route running again after sacking nearly 800 seafarers without notice. The firm’s Larne to Cairnryan route also remains suspended, although Hull to Rotterdam is back on a reduced schedule. Liverpool to Dublin is operating fully again.

Those travelling to Gatwick Airport by rail this weekend also face further misery, with no Gatwick Express services while Network Rail carries out engineering works around London Victoria. All Southern trains between Victoria and East Croydon have been cancelled – with replacement buses running and passengers urged to use other routes.

And traffic in Kent again came to a halt today due to Channel crossing delays caused by the ongoing suspension of P&O Ferries services. A 23-mile coastbound stretch of the M20 was closed to store thousands of lorries heading for the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel in Folkestone as part of Operation Brock, with 3,500 lorries said to be stuck.

At Manchester Airport and Gatwick today, long lines formed as staff seemed unable to clear them quick enough. Several airlines and airports have been struggling to cope with staff sickness and shortages in recent days. British Airways today cancelled 68 planes to locations including Athens and Prague, while easyJet stopped 42.

Meanwhile there was disruption on Great Western Railway and TfL Rail trains today between London Paddington and Slough due to a points failure near Langley in Berkshire, leading to cancellations and half-hour delays.

It comes on the UK’s busiest weekend of travel since the pandemic began in March 2020, with families leaving and returning at the same time as they make the most of being able to travel abroad without Covid-19 restrictions.   

Huge lines of lorries on the M20 in Kent this morning as the travel chaos continues ahead of a busy Easter getaway weekend

A 23-mile coastbound stretch of the M20 is closed today to store thousands of lorries heading for Dover or Folkestone

A 23-mile coastbound stretch of the M20 is closed today to store thousands of lorries heading for Dover or Folkestone

Traffic queuing near Maidstone in Kent today during Operation Brock as freight delays continue at the Port of Dover

Traffic queuing near Maidstone in Kent today during Operation Brock as freight delays continue at the Port of Dover

Traffic on the M1 near Nottingham this morning as people travelling across Britain for holidays face disruption today

Traffic on the M1 near Nottingham this morning as people travelling across Britain for holidays face disruption today

Heavy traffic building up on the M2 leaving London this afternoon as people go away for their Easter holidays

Heavy traffic building up on the M2 leaving London this afternoon as people go away for their Easter holidays

The M4 spur road heading down to London Heathrow Airport is running very slow this morning with huge numbers of cars

The M4 spur road heading down to London Heathrow Airport is running very slow this morning with huge numbers of cars

Heavy traffic this afternoon on the M25 between junctions nine and ten in Surrey as people go on their Easter holidays

Heavy traffic this afternoon on the M25 between junctions nine and ten in Surrey as people go on their Easter holidays

Cars and lorries queue on the M25 between junctions nine and ten in Surrey this afternoon amid the Easter getaway

Cars and lorries queue on the M25 between junctions nine and ten in Surrey this afternoon amid the Easter getaway

This Google Maps graphic shows the traffic situation around London at 4pm this afternoon, with the M25 particularly busy

This Google Maps graphic shows the traffic situation around London at 4pm this afternoon, with the M25 particularly busy

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said that problems causing long queues at Manchester Airport are likely to continue for two months. The airport’s managing director Karen Smart resigned on Tuesday.

At Manchester Airport today, passenger Alan Wilson questioned if it had all of security closed when he arrived just before 3am. He posted on Twitter: ‘When you arrive at Manchester Airport is ALL of security closed? 

Where are the main travel flashpoints today and this weekend across England?

TRAINS

  • Disruption today on Great Western Railway and TfL Rail trains between London Paddington and Slough 
  • No Gatwick Express services this weekend and all Southern trains between London Victoria and East Croydon are also cancelled

FLIGHTS

  • British Airways cancels 68 flights today to cities including Athens and Prague
  • easyJet cancels 42 flights today to locations including Agadir and Dubrovnik

ROADS

  • Chaos around Kent with a 23-mile coastbound stretch of the M20 was closed to store thousands of lorries heading to Dover or Folkestone

FERRIES 

  • P&O Ferries says there will be no Dover-Calais services this weekend, while Larne – Cairnryan is also still suspended. Hull to Rotterdam is on a reduced service

‘Thus letting the queue build up, you’d assume they would try to avoid this with negative press they’d had. It’s not even 3am and they’re allowing queues to form.’ 

Jill Blamire shared an image at Manchester and simply wrote: ‘Chaos already’. 

Meanwhile Chris Campbell said there were problems with the automatic gates at passport control at Gatwick.

He wrote online:  ‘1am. After a 4.5-hour delay with easyJet we are welcomed home with passport control chaos at Gatwick Airport. They’ve decided to to tinker with the e-gates and haven’t got enough manual staff.’ 

Mark Butler also bemoaned the queues at Gatwick. He said: ‘Sort it out Gatwick Airport. Been queuing to get through passport control.  Stuck in terminal haven’t even made it to the gates! It’s 2am!’   

Last week, more than 1,100 flights to and from the UK were cancelled, mostly by British Airways and easyJet partly due to staff shortages. Yesterday, BA axed 74 flights and easyJet cut 52, affecting 15,000 passengers.

Queues were so large at Manchester that some travellers missed flights. 

Passengers reported that it was taking several hours to check in, get through security and collect luggage.

There have also been bottlenecks at Heathrow and Birmingham airports in recent days.

Tourism chiefs were last night finalising emergency plans to avoid travel chaos as holidaymakers brace for one of the busiest weekends this year. 

One senior aviation source said ‘it’s all hands on deck’ as bosses scramble to deploy backroom staff to tackle huge queues.

Passenger numbers are expected to ramp up again this weekend as travellers who could not get away last week jet off and the first wave of holidaymakers return.

Figures compiled by flight data experts Cirium show that 6,906 flights carrying up to 1,212,389 travellers will depart from UK airports over the next three days. 

A total of 2,471 are scheduled to take off today, 2,134 tomorrow and 2,301 on Sunday.

A passenger arriving at London Heathrow Airport Terminal Two took this photo of queues for Border Control at about 10am

A passenger arriving at London Heathrow Airport Terminal Two took this photo of queues for Border Control at about 10am

This picture of massive queues for passport control at London Heathrow Airport was posted at around 9am this morning

This picture of massive queues for passport control at London Heathrow Airport was posted at around 9am this morning

Mass queues at London Gatwick Airport at 1am this morning - with passenger Chris Campbell from Kingston upon Thames saying that after a four-and-a-half hour delay on an easyJet flight, he was 'welcomed home with passport control chaos'

Mass queues at London Gatwick Airport at 1am this morning – with passenger Chris Campbell from Kingston upon Thames saying that after a four-and-a-half hour delay on an easyJet flight, he was ‘welcomed home with passport control chaos’ 

Large queues at London Gatwick Airport's South Terminal this morning as the airport chaos continues for holidaymakers

Large queues at London Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal this morning as the airport chaos continues for holidaymakers

Huge queues for security at Manchester Airport at 3am this morning greeted passenger Alan Wilson from Stockport

Huge queues for security at Manchester Airport at 3am this morning greeted passenger Alan Wilson from Stockport 

Passenger Jill Blamire took a photograph of huge queues at Manchester Airport at 3am this morning as the chaos continues

Passenger Jill Blamire took a photograph of huge queues at Manchester Airport at 3am this morning as the chaos continues 

Peter Waring tweeted a photograph from Gatwick shortly after midnight today, complaining of a 'passport control shambles'

Peter Waring tweeted a photograph from Gatwick shortly after midnight today, complaining of a ‘passport control shambles’

Air passengers queue to check in baggage at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 this morning as people head off for Easter

Air passengers queue to check in baggage at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 this morning as people head off for Easter

Air passengers queue to check in their baggage at Manchester Airport today as the airport chaos continues

Air passengers queue to check in their baggage at Manchester Airport today as the airport chaos continues

Air passengers at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 this morning as the airport chaos continues around Britain

Air passengers at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 this morning as the airport chaos continues around Britain

Air passengers queue to check in their baggage at Manchester Airport today as the airport chaos continues

Air passengers queue to check in their baggage at Manchester Airport today as the airport chaos continues

Huge queues at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 2 today as the airport chaos continues around Britain

Huge queues at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2 today as the airport chaos continues around Britain

Air passengers queue to check in their baggage at Manchester Airport today as the airport chaos continues

Air passengers queue to check in their baggage at Manchester Airport today as the airport chaos continues

Huge queues at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 2 today as the airport chaos continues around Britain

Huge queues at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2 today as the airport chaos continues around Britain

Huge queues at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 2 today as the airport chaos continues around Britain

Huge queues at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2 today as the airport chaos continues around Britain

Air passengers queue to check in their baggage at Manchester Airport today as the airport chaos continues

Air passengers queue to check in their baggage at Manchester Airport today as the airport chaos continues

And the boss of the aviation regulator has written to airlines and airports to express concern at the level of disruption being suffered by passengers.

Drivers warned to expect long delays as 27.6m plan Easter car journeys 

Drivers are being warned to expect long delays next weekend as millions of people embark on an Easter getaway.

The AA estimates that more than 27.6 million car journeys are planned between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Some 13.6 million are expected on Good Friday alone, leading to fears of tailbacks on popular tourist routes.

AA spokesman Tony Rich said: ‘The Easter holidays look set to give British tourism a much-needed boost as people cut back on overseas travel. With more than 27.6 million trips planned over the bank holiday weekend, we can expect significant congestion across the UK as people flock to coastal resorts and holiday homes.’

An AA survey of 14,000 drivers indicated that 53 per cent will use their car to go on holiday in the UK this year. About 20 per cent will not go on holiday in 2022 due to financial pressures.

Drivers making long-distance trips will be particularly susceptible to high fuel prices.

Latest Government figures show the average price of petrol at UK forecourts on Monday was 161.9p per litre, while diesel cost 176.0p per litre. 

Civil Aviation Authority chief executive Richard Moriarty wrote: ‘Instances of late notice cancellations and excessive delays at airports are not just distressing for affected consumers but have the potential to impact confidence levels across the industry, at just the point when passengers are returning to flying.’

He went on: ‘We know that you are working hard to recruit these new colleagues, but it is clear that this has not always happened sufficiently quickly to cope with the increased passenger travel in recent days.

‘Given the consequences for passengers of cancelled and disrupted journeys I encourage you to do all you can to ensure that you have the necessary level of appropriately-trained and cleared staff resources in place.’

It is ‘very important’ that airlines are setting schedules ‘on a basis that is deliverable given available staff (including contractors), and has resilience for staff sickness, including from Covid,’ Mr Moriarty added.

Also today, the boss of Manchester Airport’s owner has admitted the airport does not have enough staff.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, wrote: ‘The simple fact is that we don’t currently have the number of staff we need to provide the level of service that our passengers deserve.

‘Despite our efforts since last autumn, the tight labour market around the airport has meant we have just not been able to hire people quickly enough to establish a full-strength team.

‘Practically, staff shortages mean that we cannot open all the security lanes we need and, at times, this results in longer queues than we want to see.

‘While we still expect most passengers to get through in less than 30 to 40 minutes, there will be times over the next few months when waiting times will rise to between 60 and 90 minutes.’

In addition, rail passengers are being warned of disruption over the four-day Easter bank holiday weekend as Network Rail carries out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83million.

This includes a closure of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes between Good Friday and Easter Monday due to upgrades of the existing line and HS2 work.  

Meanwhile drivers are being warned to expect long delays next weekend as millions of people embark on an Easter getaway.

The AA estimates that more than 27.6 million car journeys are planned between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Airlines urged to set ‘deliverable’ schedules after flight cancellations 

Airlines have been urged by the aviation regulator to set ‘deliverable’ schedules after thousands of UK flights were cancelled in recent days due to staff shortages.

Civil Aviation Authority chief executive Richard Moriarty warned that late-notice cancellations and excessive delays are ‘not just distressing for affected consumers but have the potential to impact confidence levels across the industry’.

In a letter to airlines, he acknowledged that many are in the process of recruiting large numbers of staff but ‘it is clear that this has not always happened sufficiently quickly to cope with the increased passenger travel in recent days’.

He wrote: ‘Given the consequences for passengers of cancelled and disrupted journeys, I encourage you to do all you can to ensure that you have the necessary level of appropriately-trained and cleared staff resources in place.’

It is ‘very important’ that airlines are setting schedules ‘on a basis that is deliverable given available staff (including contractors), and has resilience for staff sickness, including from Covid’, Mr Moriarty added.

British Airways and easyJet have recently cancelled a total of more than 100 daily flights. This has been blamed on a combination of coronavirus-related staff sickness and recruitment difficulties.

Mr Moriarty also wrote to airports, calling on them to ‘work closely with airlines’ to ensure ‘disruption is kept to a minimum’. He sought ‘reassurance’ that passengers with reduced mobility ‘continue to receive the assistance that they require’.

Passengers at Manchester, Heathrow and Birmingham Airports have all complained of long queues. The boss of Manchester Airport, which has struggled for several weeks, admitted it does not have enough staff.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, said: ‘The simple fact is that we don’t currently have the number of staff we need to provide the level of service that our passengers deserve.

‘Despite our efforts since last autumn, the tight labour market around the airport has meant we have just not been able to hire people quickly enough to establish a full-strength team. Practically, staff shortages mean that we cannot open all the security lanes we need and, at times, this results in longer queues than we want to see.

‘While we still expect most passengers to get through in less than 30-40 minutes, there will be times over the next few months when waiting times will rise to between 60 and 90 minutes.’

The airport’s managing director, Karen Smart, resigned on Tuesday.

Some 13.6 million are expected on Good Friday alone, leading to fears of tailbacks on popular tourist routes.

AA spokesman Tony Rich said: ‘The Easter holidays look set to give British tourism a much-needed boost as people cut back on overseas travel.

‘With more than 27.6 million trips planned over the bank holiday weekend, we can expect significant congestion across the UK as people flock to coastal resorts and holiday homes.’

An AA survey of 14,000 drivers indicated that 53 per cent will use their car to go on holiday in the UK this year. About 20 per cent will not go on holiday in 2022 due to financial pressures. 

Drivers making long-distance trips will be particularly susceptible to high fuel prices. Latest Government figures show the average price of petrol at UK forecourts on Monday was 161.9p per litre, while diesel cost 176.0p per litre.

Traffic in Kent has come to a grinding halt due to Channel crossing delays caused by the ongoing suspension of P&O Ferries services. 

A 23-mile coastbound stretch of the M20 was closed from junction eight (Maidstone) to junction 11 (Westenhanger) to store thousands of lorries heading for the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel in Folkestone as part of Operation Brock. 

It also caused chaos on surrounding roads. Delays are being driven by the suspension of P&O Ferries sailings after the operator sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice last month.

This is putting more strain on other ferry operators amid increased demand as many families plan trips to the Continent for the Easter holidays.

To make matters worse, rival DFDS said P&O Ferries customers will be unable to transfer their bookings onto its Dover-Calais sailings this weekend because of a lack of capacity.

British Ports Association chief executive Richard Ballantyne told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning the situation at Dover with lorries was reaching breaking point.

He said: ‘We’ve seen a lot of queues and the traffic management measures introduced which actually helps keep the town of Dover free-flowing, so local businesses and residents can carry out their normal duties. 

‘But these measures obviously mean that particularly lorry drivers are queued back onto the M20, outside the port through Kent, which is obviously not a great situation for them to be in but it is introduced to avoid any particular congestion in the town of Dover itself.  

Dover District Council has said it is prepared to declare a major incident, and East Kent Highways said there were about 4,500 lorries parked up along the M20 and other roads – normally it has capacity for about 2,000.

Mr Ballantyne added: ‘What we’ve seen is that capacity taken out of the short straits. The current operators and Eurotunnel etc are speaking to their customers, trying to encourage certain people to travel later if they don’t have to at the moment. And it’s going to take some days to ease. 

‘But what we saw last weekend following a collision in the port of Dunkerque with one of the ferry operators, we saw that really spike over the weekend and that eased somewhat into this week. But now as we approach another busy East weekend, we’re seeing those queues extend again.’

‘It is a lot to do with the fact that P&O is currently out of service. That’s a big carrier, so you’re taking a lot of capacity out of the short straits, and that’s a fundamental issue really, with a few other factors – we’ve seen some Brexit issues, with IT systems disrupted this week.   

No Southern Rail trains are running to or from London Victoria this weekend, with passengers urged to use alternative routes

No Southern Rail trains are running to or from London Victoria this weekend, with passengers urged to use alternative routes

‘We’ve seen Easter holidays begin which always attracts a lot of people who are looking to go on holiday and post a lot of the Covid restrictions. This is one of the first holiday periods when effectively there’s no restrictions on travel, so we’re seeing a lot of people wanting – understandably – to get away, but they’ve been impacted as well as those freight drivers.’

Forget the Bank Holiday getaway! Engineering will hit Tube and railways this Easter weekend

Millions of travellers face an Easter Bank Holiday getaway nightmare of disruption and spiralling prices on trains, planes and the roads.

Large swathes of the rail network will close for £83million-worth of engineering works over the busy four-day weekend.

More than 500 signalling and track upgrade projects across the country include the closure of London ‘s Euston and Victoria stations to most services.

It will cause chaos for the thousands of football fans travelling to the FA Cup semi-finals, between Manchester City and Liverpool and Chelsea and Crystal Palace, at Wembley stadium.

Trains into London from the North West and West Midlands will instead stop at Milton Keynes Central, meaning other routes into the capital face being overwhelmed. The FA is urging fans from the North to avoid the railways and use specially laid-on buses or travel before the weekend instead.

All Southern trains between London Victoria and East Croydon have been axed, also causing havoc for air passengers landing at or trying to reach Gatwick Airport. It means passengers on trains diverted via London Bridge face chaos.

London Underground services on the Piccadilly line to Britain’s busiest airport, Heathrow, will be suspended while buses will also replace trains for part of the journey between the capital and Stansted Airport.

London Tube closures on the District, Hammersmith & City, Northern and Docklands Light Railway lines will also make it harder travelling around the capital.

P&O Ferries’ ships on the Dover-Calais route, which are to be operated by new foreign agency workers, are yet to be declared fit to sail by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. 

Operation Brock involves using a moveable barrier to create a contraflow system enabling lorries to queue and other traffic to keep moving in both directions.

However, the system has been overwhelmed, with Kent hit by long queues every day since Friday.

The Port of Dover urged passengers to ‘allow plenty of time for their journey’. P&O Ferries has said it is preparing to resume cross-Channel sailings in the coming days. 

A spokesman said: ‘P&O is looking forward to welcoming back vital services and we expect to have two of our vessels ready to sail on the Dover-Calais route by next week, subject to regulatory sign-off [by the MCA], namely both the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain between Dover-Calais.’

The MCA said: ‘A reinspection is taking place at P&O Ferries request on the European Causeway which was detained on 25 March.

‘All inspections have to satisfy the Maritime and Coastguard Agency that the ferries fulfil the requirement of the Port State Control regime and are safe to put to sea.

‘There are no further inspections of P&O Ferries at the moment but we will reinspect at the appropriate time.’

The Easter holidays are expected to be the busiest period for international travel since the start of the pandemic after the Government dropped all Covid border restrictions last month.

Those escaping to the Continent by rail yesterday morning were also hit by delays after a train broke down in the Channel Tunnel. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle rail services from Folkestone in Kent to Calais in France were delayed by three hours.

There were reports of two-hour waits at the Port of Dover for cars and lorries looking to use cross-Channel ferries, but a port spokesman said tailbacks had been cleared by yesterday afternoon.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘These cancellations will cause huge frustration. There is a responsibility on airlines to ensure they have the capacity to run all of the flights they schedule.’

Paul Charles, head of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘This is a staggering level of flight cancellations caused by a cocktail of not having enough staff in place and Covid-induced staff shortages. It’s a nightmare situation.’

An easyJet spokesman said the firm was experiencing ‘higher-than-usual levels of employee sickness and so we have taken the action to cancel some flights in advance’.

BA said: ‘While the vast majority of our flights continue to operate as planned, as a precaution we’ve slightly reduced our schedule between now and the end of May.’

A Manchester airport spokesman said passengers’ experiences ‘have fallen below the standard we aim to provide’, adding: ‘We are doing all we can to recruit the staff we need to meet demand, but this is taking time due to the lengthy vetting and training processes.’

Also today, new figures show the UK’s tourism industry is beginning to recover after being hit hard by travel restrictions introduced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade association UKinbound, which represents more than 300 businesses dealing with tourists visiting the UK, said 39 per cent of its members are reporting that international bookings and visitor numbers for between April and June are expected to be the same or higher than pre-pandemic.

The US market is recovering the strongest, with one in three businesses seeing growth in that area.

But some 61 per cent of firms expect demand to be lower, indicating how much of the sector is continuing to struggle.

UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft said: ‘It’s fantastic to see international travellers returning to the UK and we’re delighted to see the strongest growth from our number one market, the USA.

‘The ending of all UK travel restrictions has given international consumers the confidence to begin travelling here again.

‘Compared with 2020 and 2021, business is booming, but we’re significantly lagging behind 2019 prosperity and our competitors.’ 

* Caught up in travel chaos today? Tell us about your experiences by emailing: [email protected]

Family spent more than £600 to salvage holiday after missing Barcelona flight to celebrate Ruby wedding anniversary due to queues at Manchester Airport

A family missed their Barcelona flight to celebrate a Ruby wedding anniversary due to Manchester Airport queues – and say they had to fork out £614 for new tickets to salvage their trip. 

Mike Turner, 41, had travelled to the hub from Stockport with his husband Luke Hartbottle and parents Tom and Marie Turner, on a special holiday to celebrate 40 years since their marriage. The easyJet tickets, he says, had set him back around £630.

However, Mike claims that a wait for baggage check-in, security queues which snaked into the airport, as well as a further delay at the baggage scanners meant they arrived at the gate too late to catch their flight. 

Mike managed to get new tickets to fly one-way eight hours later with Vueling for another £614.25, but he says the delay has marred their getaway – and made them miss a specially planned day trip.

Teacher Mike, 41, said: ‘It just felt like this trip we’d been planning for years for my mum and dad, with a nice hotel and tickets for the Sagrada Familia was scuppered for something that wasn’t our fault.

Mike Turner, 41, had travelled to Manchester Airport with his husband Luke Hartbottle to celebrate his parents' 40 years of marriage

Mike Turner, 41, had travelled to Manchester Airport with his husband Luke Hartbottle to celebrate his parents’ 40 years of marriage

‘It was already two years late because of Covid. I did really feel for the staff, the woman at the gate was very apologetic but said the plane had to go and the pilot couldn’t wait any longer. Our bags had been taken off.’

Mike says during their wait at the airport for their Plan B flight, they met passengers who missed their trips to Croatia, and two couples who didn’t make their plane to Palma, again due to security delays. 

It comes as staff shortages have caused weeks of chaos and their ordeal happened the day before Mayor Andy Burnham warned disruption could last for two months and asked passengers to arrive at the hub three hours before their flights.

The family had arrived at Manchester Airport’s Terminal One at 4am, two hours ahead of their 6.05am flight to the Spanish city with easyJet. However on arrival, Mike says it took an hour to check in their bags due to a queue.

They then found the end of the security queue, which was on the terminal forecourt. ‘There were so many people that queues were crossing over each other. Nobody was telling anybody where to go. It looked like people working there were trying their hardest but there just weren’t enough of them,’ added Mike.

The family had arrived at Manchester Airport's Terminal One at 4am, two hours before their 6.05am flight. However on arrival, Mike says it took an hour to check in their bags due to a queue. They then found the end of the security queue, which was on the terminal forecourt

The family had arrived at Manchester Airport’s Terminal One at 4am, two hours before their 6.05am flight. However on arrival, Mike says it took an hour to check in their bags due to a queue. They then found the end of the security queue, which was on the terminal forecourt

Mike says he later found out that staff were calling for people whose flights were leaving at around 6.30am, but those calls were not being made outside the terminal where they were queuing. Mike said they did go inside a couple of times to talk to staff but were reassured they would be called when needed.

‘It meant we didn’t find out our flights had been prioritised for faster security until we got into the building, and by that time they were also prioritising flights leaving later so we were told to join another queue with all those people in too,’ added Mike.

He added: ‘When they told us where to go inside there were so many people complaining that they didn’t follow it through the way they might have done so they couldn’t show us. We just ended up queuing with everyone else.’

When the family finally made it to security, another passenger’s bag was removed for extra checks and the process for other passengers was stopped, Mike says, while they tried to find a senior staff member to check it.

‘We told them our flight was supposed to leave five minutes ago but they didn’t do anything. There was no manager to search the bag so we all just had to wait. All these things were happening where if they just had enough people trained in advance we probably would have got there in time. There were just so many things that stopped us on the way.’

A spokesman for Manchester Airport said: ‘We apologise to passengers whose experience at Manchester Airport in recent days has fallen short of the standard they expected.

Mike claims that a wait for baggage check-in at Manchester Airport, security queues which snaked into the airport, as well as a further delay at the baggage scanners meant they arrived at the gate too late to catch their flight

Mike claims that a wait for baggage check-in at Manchester Airport, security queues which snaked into the airport, as well as a further delay at the baggage scanners meant they arrived at the gate too late to catch their flight

‘Our industry is facing challenges in scaling operations back up very quickly after the removal of Covid restrictions, which have done immense damage to our sector over the past two years.

‘We are actively recruiting for hundreds of new roles in areas including security, but are advising passengers that due to a shortage of staff, they may have to wait for longer than they are used to in the coming weeks, and that they should arrive at the earliest time recommended by their airline.

‘We are aware all parts of the aviation industry are facing similar challenges, and this can impact other parts of the airport experience, such as check-in and baggage reclaim. That is why we are committed to working with our partners to ensure the end-to-end experience is as smooth as it can be during the period of recovery.’

An easyJet spokesman said: ‘We’re very sorry for the delays Mr Turner experienced at Manchester Airport, due to longer than usual queues as well ongoing security delays at the airport. We are advising customers to arrive at the airport with plenty of time ahead of their flight and continue to work with Manchester airport to ensure a solution is found for our customers.

‘We’re contacting to Mr Turner to apologise for his experience and the inconvenience this caused, and to provide a gesture of goodwill.’

A spokesman said later that there were no reports of queues at the bag drop at that time, only for security. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *