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Easter holiday queue chaos at Manchester, Birmingham, Gatwick and Heathrow Airports today

Britons are today facing yet another manic Monday at UK airports, with passengers complaining of delayed flights, 90 minute waits for luggage and ‘full’ queues at Passport Control. 

Airline passengers have complained of ‘shambolic’ crowd control at ‘chaotic’ Manchester Airport this morning, following on from major disruption last week – at the start of the Easter school holidays. 

Are you caught in the airport delays today? 

Contact me: james.robinson@mailonline.co.uk 

British Airways passengers, meanwhile, have fared little better at Heathrow today. One passenger at the west London airport complained their BA flight was delayed by three hours, only to face an hour long wait for luggage after touching down at Terminal 5. 

Heathrow officials say airlines are responsible for baggage and there are currently no delays at check-in or security. Bosses are urging passengers to arrive as normal at the airport this week.

At Gatwick, passengers took to sitting on the floor of the airport after waiting more than an hour and a half for their luggage. 

Travellers have also complained of long check-in line at Birmingham airport, while at Stansted arrivals have shared pictures of a ‘full’ queue of people at Passport Control.

It comes after passengers faced disruption at airports across last week. Travel chiefs blamed a sudden influx of passengers flying abroad on the first Easter holidays with all UK travel restrictions lifted in more than two years. 

A lack of staff due to Covid sickness and firms attempting to quickly restaff following a downsizing of operations during the pandemic have also been blamed.

Airline passengers have complained of ‘shambolic’ crowd control at ‘chaotic’ Manchester Airport this morning, following on from major disruption last week – at the start of the Easter school holidays

At Gatwick, passengers took to sitting on the floor of the airport after waiting more than an hour and a half for their luggage

At Gatwick, passengers took to sitting on the floor of the airport after waiting more than an hour and a half for their luggage

There were long queues at check-in desks at Birmingham Airport today, with hundreds of passengers queueing for Jet2 flights this morning

There were long queues at check-in desks at Birmingham Airport today, with hundreds of passengers queueing for Jet2 flights this morning

Airline passengers have also complained of long check-in line at Birmingham airport, while at Stansted (pictured) arrivals have shared pictures of a 'full' queue of people at Passport Control

Airline passengers have also complained of long check-in line at Birmingham airport, while at Stansted (pictured) arrivals have shared pictures of a ‘full’ queue of people at Passport Control

Travellers have fared little better at Heathrow today. One passenger at the west London airport complained their British Airways flight was delayed by three hours, only to face an hour long wait for luggage after touching down at Terminal 5

Travellers have fared little better at Heathrow today. One passenger at the west London airport complained their British Airways flight was delayed by three hours, only to face an hour long wait for luggage after touching down at Terminal 5

Passengers at Gatwick Airport this morning faced delays at baggage reclaim. One arrival today shared an image of passengers sitting on the floor of the Sussex airport while waiting for their luggage.

One wrote: ‘At Gatwick Airport, waiting for over an hour and a half for my luggage. DHL at Gatwick just keep apologising without action. Just get it done. This is not effective or efficient service.’

Heathrow Airport records busiest month since start of Covid pandemic 

Heathrow Airport has recorded its busiest month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The west London airport said it was used by 4.2 million passengers in March.

This represents nearly an eight-fold increase on the total during the same month in 2021.

The rise was attributed to the Government’s removal of all coronavirus travel restrictions.

Demand was driven by outbound leisure travel at weekends and during school holidays, the airport said.

Another, Theo Kyriacou, sharing an image of people waiting at the baggage carousel, wrote on Twitter today: ‘Four hour flight and seems longer waiting for the luggage carousel to start! #Gatwick the worst airport? Certainly seems so to me.’

He later added: ‘An hour and a half since we landed and still no luggage to been seen anywhere.’ At Manchester, one passenger described the crowd control as ‘shambolic’.  

Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh, who runs a coaching business, wrote: ‘Seriously Manchester Airport?!? Chaos and shambolic crowd control at Manchester Airport.’ He later added a photograph of a departures queue under the caption: ‘Ryanair chaos at Manchester Airport.’

Others criticised the airport for continuing to display outdated information on their message boards. Sharing a picture of screen urging passengers to ready their passenger locator forms and Covid test results – measures which were dropped in the UK last month –  one Twitter user wrote: ‘Another example of how poor Manchester Airport is. Please can you update your information for passengers?’ 

Manchester Airport said that, due to staff shortages, that they will be advising passengers it will take up to 10 minutes to clear security, on average, and most within 30 to 40 minutes. However they are warning that queues will on occasion extend to up to an hour and a half. They are advising passengers to arrive when check-in opens for their flight – normally three hours before take-off. 

‘If they do that, we are confident we will get them on their way,’ a spokesperson told MailOnline.

At Birmingham Airport, passengers complained of long queues at check-in. One Twitter user, wrote: ‘If you think security is bad, this is check-in! We’ve already checked in online but they still make you queue in this rather than bag drop.’ 

At Heathrow, one BA passenger complained of facing a three hour delay to their flight, only to be met with delays at Terminal 5 baggage reclaim.

At Birmingham Airport, passengers complained of long queues at check-in. One Twitter user, wrote: 'If you think security is bad, this is check-in! 'We’ve already checked in online but they still make you queue in this rather than bag drop.'

Others criticised the airport for continuing to display outdated information on their message boards. Sharing a picture of screen urging passengers to ready their passenger locator forms and Covid test results - measures which were dropped in the UK last month - one Twitter user wrote: 'Another example of how poor Manchester Airport is. Please can you update your information for passengers?'

At Birmingham Airport (pictured left), passengers complained of long queues at check-in. One Twitter user, wrote: ‘If you think security is bad, this is check-in! ‘We’ve already checked in online but they still make you queue in this rather than bag drop.’ Others criticised the airport for continuing to display outdated information on their message boards. Sharing a picture of screen urging passengers to ready their passenger locator forms and Covid test results – measures which were dropped in the UK last month – one Twitter user wrote: ‘Another example of how poor Manchester Airport (pictured right) is. Please can you update your information for passengers?’

Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh, who runs a coaching business, wrote: 'Seriously Manchester Airport?!? Chaos and shambolic crowd control at Manchester Airport.' He later added a photograph of a departures queue under the caption: 'Ryanair chaos at Manchester Airport.'

Taking to Twitter, Lewis Feilder wrote last night: 'More than an hour waiting for baggage from flight 2785 at Heathrow T5, after a flight delayed by 3 hours... No announcement. No explanation. No staff explaining what is going on.' BA have been approached for a comment.

Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh, who runs a coaching business, wrote (pictured left): ‘Seriously Manchester Airport?!? Chaos and shambolic crowd control at Manchester Airport.’ He later added a photograph of a departures queue under the caption: ‘Ryanair chaos at Manchester Airport.’ Taking to Twitter, Lewis Feilder wrote last night: ‘More than an hour waiting for baggage from flight 2785 at Heathrow T5 (pictured right), after a flight delayed by 3 hours… No announcement. No explanation. No staff explaining what is going on.’ BA have been approached for a comment.

Taking to Twitter, Lewis Feilder wrote last night: ‘More than an hour waiting for baggage from flight 2785 at Heathrow T5, after a flight delayed by 3 hours… No announcement. No explanation. No staff explaining what is going on.’ BA have been approached for a comment.

It comes as Heathrow Airport has recorded its busiest month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The west London airport said it was used by 4.2 million passengers in March.

This represents nearly an eight-fold increase on the total during the same month in 2021. The rise was attributed to the Government’s removal of all coronavirus travel restrictions.

Airport delays could hit confidence in the travel industry, experts warn 

Experts have today warned that the airport delays could put potential customers off from flying, at a time when the travel industry is desperately trying to take-off following two years of Covid enforced disruption.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline: ‘If long queues at airports and flight cancellations by airlines continue for too much longer then some consumers will be put off from travelling abroad.

‘Ongoing staff shortages add more risk to a trip because consumers won’t want to be potentially out of pocket from last-minute cancellations and having to fork out for new flights or an extra night in an hotel.

‘With the potential for an overseas trip to be badly affected, more consumers, especially families, are already booking to stay in a UK cottage, house or hotel by the coast or in the countryside.

‘Staycations will be highly popular again this year and airport and flight chaos will be a bonus for the staycation economy. We just have to hope for continuing great weather.’

Meanwhile, Richard Moriarty, Civil Aviation Authority chief executive, also said the disruption could impact on customer confidence levels.

He said:  ‘As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic and consumers take advantage of the freedom to travel, 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.’

Demand was driven by outbound leisure travel at weekends and during school holidays, the airport said. A Heathrow spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The Easter holiday is the first time where UK travel restrictions have been fully removed since the start of the pandemic and we are expecting passenger numbers, not seen since early March 2020. 

‘We have been preparing for this for many months, but like most airports we do anticipate that the travel experience may take slightly longer during peak periods. 

‘We are deploying extra colleagues across Heathrow, and we continue to work closely with all our airport partners to help ensure passengers get away as efficiently as possible.’

Experts have today warned that the airport delays could put potential customers off from flying, at a time when the travel industry is desperately trying to take-off following two years of Covid enforced disruption.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline: ‘If long queues at airports and flight cancellations by airlines continue for too much longer then some consumers will be put off from travelling abroad.

‘Ongoing staff shortages add more risk to a trip because consumers won’t want to be potentially out of pocket from last-minute cancellations and having to fork out for new flights or an extra night in an hotel.

‘With the potential for an overseas trip to be badly affected, more consumers, especially families, are already booking to stay in a UK cottage, house or hotel by the coast or in the countryside.

‘Staycations will be highly popular again this year and airport and flight chaos will be a bonus for the staycation economy. We just have to hope for continuing great weather.’

Meanwhile, Richard Moriarty, Civil Aviation Authority chief executive, also said the disruption could impact on customer confidence levels.

He said:  ‘As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic and consumers take advantage of the freedom to travel, 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.’

It comes as motorists have been warned that they face a week of travel chaos with the Easter weekend getaway predicted to be the busiest in eight years.

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014. 

It also urged drivers to try and and travel after 7.30pm to avoid congestion.  

RAC research showed Good Friday is set to be the busiest, with 4.62 million trips planned, followed by Easter Monday, when just under 4 million drivers are expected to be out and about.

A further 7.2 million will travel on Saturday and Sunday, with another 5.6 million not yet decided on which day they will set off.   

Inrix, the traffic information supplier, highlighted several likely congestion hotspots. 

The congestion hotspots include: The M6 north between Junction 26 (Orrell Interchange, Greater Manchester) and Junction 36 (the Lake District), The M25 clockwise from Junction 8 (Reigate Hill Interchange, Surrey) to Junction 16 (Denham Interchange, Buckinghamshire) and The A303 near Stonehenge, Wiltshire.

Pictured: Travel information for this year's Easter weekend

Pictured: Travel information for this year’s Easter weekend 

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists' Easter plans in 2014. Pictured: Heavy traffic on the M25 between Junction 9 and 10, Surrey, on Sunday

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014. Pictured: Heavy traffic on the M25 between Junction 9 and 10, Surrey, on Sunday

Motorists wanting to avoid as much congestion as possible are advised to start their journeys before 9am or delay their journeys until after 7.30pm.  

Good timing! Hottest day of year on way 

After hard frosts, sleet and snow showers, sunny and warm weather will return over Easter weekend – and could bring the hottest day of the year.

Temperatures could reach 21C (70F) in eastern and south-east England by Thursday, as warm as Nice in the south of France. And highs of up to 20C (68F) are possible into Good Friday and Easter Saturday, with the rest of the Easter weekend likely to remain fine and dry in most areas.

Sleet and snow spread as far south as the Peak District on Friday, and a hard frost on Saturday night saw lows of -6C (21F) at Sennybridge in South Wales, -4.5C (23.9F) at South Newington, Oxfordshire, and -4.1C (24.6F) at Santon Downham, Suffolk.

Today and tomorrow will see sunny spells and showers, but temperatures are set to build, with highs of 17C (63F) in southern England today rising as high as 20-21C (68-70F) in London, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia by Thursday. The warmest day so far was March 23, at 20.8C (69.4F) in St James’s Park in London.

 

More than 500 engineering works are taking place amid strikes on vast swathes of northern rail routes. It will create mayhem for the thousands of football fans travelling to London for the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.

It comes as severe disruption on roads in Kent leading to cross-Channel services looks set to continue for days.

The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services. 

P&O Ferries ships will not sail from Dover to Calais until at least Thursday, with rival carriers struggling to soak up the extra demand.

Europe-bound motorists have reported being stuck in traffic for six hours on Kent roads, and a 20-mile stretch of the M20 has been closed to store more than 4,000 lorries.

To make matters worse, getaways will be the most expensive on record due to sky-high fuel prices. 

Latest Government figures show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on April 4 was 161.9p, with diesel at 176.0p.

There could also be diesel or petrol shortages due to protesting eco-warriors blocking off fuel terminals, slowing down deliveries.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads, our research suggests a return to traffic levels that are much more typical of this time of year.

‘It’s very possible this weekend could turn out to be one of the busiest for leisure journeys for many years.

‘Add in the impact of disruption on the rail network and one of the biggest fixtures of the sporting calendar taking place this weekend, and you have all the ingredients needed for problems on the roads.

‘Traffic volumes will likely be even higher if some warm spring sunshine makes an appearance.’

The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services. Pictured: A view of lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent on April 9

The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services. Pictured: A view of lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent on April 9

Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips. Pictured: Traffic beginning to build up on April 8. Drivers have been warned to expect long delays this Easter weekend

Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips. Pictured: Traffic beginning to build up on April 8. Drivers have been warned to expect long delays this Easter weekend 

Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips.

‘This is even more important for anyone travelling longer distances than they have for several months,’ he said.

‘A breakdown is much less likely if a car’s oil and coolant levels, as well as tyre pressure and tread depth, have all been checked before setting out.’ 

There was more misery for travellers yesterday as British Airways cancelled 82 flights and easyJet slashed 38.

Cancellations are expected to continue amid staff shortages, but last week’s chaos at airports appears to have eased.

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