Police tell Manchester Airport passengers their holidays are cancelled amid travel chaos
Brits hoping to jet off aboard during the half-term holiday for their first post-pandemic getaway have been met with chaos at airports across the country.
Holidaymakers have reported disruptions with long queues, flight delays and last-minute cancellations after airlines easyjet, TUI and British Airways cancelled flights due to staff shortages.
Airlines have noted that staff shortages are a result of a wave of redundancies during the pandemic which has now caused a recruitment problem because of potential worries around new variants emerging causing travel to be restricted again.
Due to this, the airports have been unable to keep up with increased demands since COVID-19 restrictions on travelling were lifted as this will be the first holiday many families have had in two years.
Deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab has criticised airline bosses for their "lack of preparation" for the half-term surge and said transport secretary Grant Shapps had told the industry "for months" to ensure they had secured enough recruits.
"I don’t think the airline operators have done the recruitment that they should have done and taken the advice that the Transport Secretary gave them," he told Sky News.
Here are some photos of what airports around the UK are facing.
Busy queues at Gatwick Airport as budget airline Easyjet cancelled at least 31 trips to European destinations such as Bologna, Barcelona, Prague, Krakow, and Edinburgh, The Mirror reported.
Travellers queue to check in for their flights at Gatwick Airport in London, Britain, 31 May 2022EPA/TOLGA AKMEN
Travellers queue to check in for their flights at Gatwick Airport in London, Britain, 31 May 2022EPA Images
Passengers at Gatwick have also tweeted their dismay at the travel chaos they are experiencing.
\u201c4.15am Gatwick North Terminal EasyJet bag drop \ud83d\ude29\ud83d\ude33#easyJet #gatwickairport\u201d
\u201cSecurity @Gatwick_Airport was a breeze. Get down to the boarding gates in the north terminal and it\u2019s a complete @easyJet mess. No tannoy working, no staff, overcrowded and no idea where to wait \ud83e\udd37\ud83c\udffb\u200d\u2642\ufe0f\u201d
\u201cI\u2019m in airport hell. @Gatwick_Airport this is so unsafe. You\u2019ve jammed a full transatlantic flight into the tiniest corner of the airport and you\u2019ve delayed our flight so we are all stuck in here.\u201d
British Airways axed 124 short-haul flights at Heathrow on Wednesday, and the airline has said advanced notice was given to customers who were affected by these cancellations.
Passengers queue for flights at Heathrow Airport. Would-be travellers have labelled queues at Heathrow "bloody chaos" as the airport attempts to process passengers in time for their flightsBen Smith/PA Wire
Passengers at Heathrow Airport queue at securityBen Smith/PA Wire
\u201cThis is the queue for security at Heathrow - we\u2019re at the car park not even in the terminal. Utter fiasco.\u201d
\u201c#heathrowairport #heathrow madness is ensuing. Airport has 1, yes 1 person checking passports! People are missing flights, having to rebook and start the line again! 40 mon wait and an hour to go!\u201d
\u201cAlways astounds me the patience the British have to stand in a queue for ages in the quest for an airport pint. \nChaos @manairport btw. Be prepared! #manchesterairport\u201d
— Paul \ud83d\uded6 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Paul \ud83d\uded6 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6)
Scotland's airports have also experienced problems as more than 30 flights were delayed at Glasgow Airport, The Timesreported.
An airport spokesperson told the publication: "Average queue time at security was longer than usual, however, passengers moved through at a steady pace to reach their flights.
“The airport is busier than it has been for more than two years as passenger demand continues to increase.
"Our teams are working extremely hard and we would ask passengers to ensure they come prepared for security inspection and, crucially, arrive at the airport as per their airline’s stated check-in opening time and not before.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our passengers for their patience.”
\u201cSee a few folk asking so yeh, #GlasgowAirport was BUSY! \n\nSeemed to be only two staff checking in bags (across most airlines) and, for us, @easyJet conveyor belt was broke\u2026three hours to get from that queue to the gate, not ideal\u201d
The airport in Scotland's capital has also been affected with delays as The Timesalso reported 25 flights were behind schedule in Edinburgh yesterday morning, while some British Airways flights to Edinburgh from Gatwick have also been cancelled.
\u201cThe queue for @Ryanair bag drop is so long we are queueing outside the @EDI_Airport termimal in 5 degrees weather. Wtf #Ryanair and #Edinburghairport get your shit in order\ud83d\ude20\u201d