Angry passengers said they had to wait in terrible queues at the airport on their return to the UK.
Some claim they waited up to five hours to go through passport control at Heathrow Airport – although this is denied by the bosses.
Celebrity chef James Martin was among those who expressed their anger over the long wait to pass the border post. He tweeted, “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like Heathrow at passport control at the moment … lines of thousands of probes, 10,000 waiting for hours, all standing together … total madness …”
Families said they faced the longest delays because children under the age of 12 cannot use e-gates due to limitations in facial recognition technology.
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The delays started earlier this week and there was no sign of the situation improving.
The border guards have to check that every passenger is following Covid’s travel rules, which leads to long delays. The Interior Ministry also claimed there was a staff shortage as many border guards are self-isolating.
The Home Office has disputed some claims from passengers, and statistics from the Border Force show that the longest queue at Terminal 5 was 1 hour and 15 minutes on Saturday.
In a tweet, Heathrow Airport said, “Although we don’t have exact figures on how long queues can be, our teams in the terminals are available to assist where possible and we are working with Border Force to address any delays to reduce as quickly as possible. “
British holidaymakers, including some from Birmingham Airport, are now struggling with long delays even at popular holiday destinations.
Passengers who landed at Palma de Mallorca airport described it as a “nightmare” with excessive overcrowding of the terminal due to a backlog of flights.
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