PASSENGERS are facing chaotic queues at Heathrow, with airline staff claiming that airport security “failed to show up” this morning.
Travellers have shared images of the scenes this morning, showing huge crowds of passengers being crammed into the terminal.Heathrow Airport travellers saw huge crowds at Terminal 5 after security staff “failed to show up”[/caption] Passengers said they were forced to wait hours this morning[/caption]
The large queues were at Terminal 5, with the main airlines currently operating from the terminal being British Airways, American Airlines, Qatar Airways and Iberia.
While many passengers could be seen wearing masks, very few were able to social distance due to the number of people.
Peter Harrison wrote on Twitter: “Total chaos at Heathrow Airport security this morning – BA staff telling passengers it’s due to many security staff failing to show for work this morning.”
The staff shortages were down to a number of staff being told to self-isolate by the test and trace app.
Peter Harrison added to Sun Online Travel: “[Staff] resorted to calling out passengers by flight so it really didn’t matter how long you queued for as the most imminent flight passengers were ultimately prioritised.
“I spoke to a girl in the queue who had also queued for an hour to check-in.”
Another traveller Eileen said it was due to the Track & Trace app forcing staff to self isolate: “Just spent hours in ridiculous queues @HeathrowAirport. The NHS app has told 120 staff to self isolate.”
Passenger David wrote: “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say there are more than a thousand people in the queue for security at @HeathrowAirport right now.”
Classical violinist Nicola Benedetti, who was also travelling through the airport, tweeted: “Is it genuinely because people didn’t show up to work @HeathrowAirport ? No one can tell us if our flights will be delayed or if we’re about to miss them. Zero information, it’s just awful.”
A Heathrow spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “Earlier today we experienced some passenger congestion in Terminal 5 departures, due to colleagues being instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
“We have activated additional team members to assist passengers with their journeys and the operation has now returned to normal. We apologise to our passengers for any inconvenience caused.”
Airports have previously warned that new Covid checks will mean hours of waiting at the airport as Border staff struggle to keep up with increasing numbers of travellers returning to the UK.
Lucy Moreton head of ISU immigration union warned they were “not set up to cope with that demand,” according to The Times.
She said: “There is no way that the border can maintain that level of checks as the number of travellers increase. We’ve got away with it so far because the number of travellers are so low.
“But even at this point we’re seeing queues of one to two hours. From the number of bookings we’ve seen already, we’ll easily see three, four-hour queues when people start returning.”The long queues resulted in passengers fearing they would miss their flights[/caption]