Easter travel hell with huge queues at Manchester Airport and a Eurostar IT nightmare
Passengers returning home after the Bank Holiday weekend are facing huge disruptions with Easter traffic causing huge delays and queues across the country with some passengers unable to get home.
Easter traffic causes huge delays and queues on rail, road, flights and ferries as passengers return home after the bank holiday weekend.
There were long queues at Manchester Airport this morning as a crowded Easter Monday saw at least 20 flights between Scotland and London canceled by British Airways and easyJet.
Passengers at Manchester Airport were seen queuing outside a terminal for security reasons this morning.
Flights have also been canceled to Heathrow from cities including Paris, Amsterdam and Geneva.
And Eurostar passengers face nightmarish queues at Gare du Nord in Paris after a computer outage at border control in France prevented travelers from boarding trains.
Delays of at least 30 minutes have been reported with pictures and videos showing huge queues at the terminal.
However, for some passengers the queues are much longer, with some waiting to board despite the Eurostar website stating the trains have departed.
Eurostar passengers, who face delays of more than an hour at Gare Du Nord due to a computer failure, had to queue for more than an hour and a half.
Charlie Daffern, 36, from Cheltenham, said: “It’s a nightmare here. We queued for check-in/security for over an hour and a half. Probably another hour.
“People are getting very restless and some people are panicking because they have flights to catch from Heathrow this afternoon. I take it all with a pinch of salt. The main issue is the lack of communication.”
Lancashire salon owner Lucie Spencer, 25, said customers were facing long delays due to lack of staff.
She said: “I’ve heard French customs people say they’ve never seen this. People are pissed off about the delays and having to stand still for hours. It’s very annoying when we know the price of the tickets.
“I would say that easily over a thousand people are queuing at Gare du Nord. (I am) frustrated especially when you know the price of tickets, the lack of announcements and customer service.”
It comes just days after the AA said up to 3.96 million drivers are expected to return home before the work week.
The car group expects the bank holiday to be very busy as traffic will be crammed into one day, unlike the run-up to Easter when passengers returned home for several days.
In addition, shortages of Dover-Calais crossings by P&O Ferries have added to long queues of lorries on the roads approaching the port of Dover in recent days.
Experts have said more passengers on the railways will cause delays on top of the 530 rail upgrades – costing £83million – which will take place tomorrow.
A user on Twitter who was dealing with canceled and delayed trains at Eurostar wrote: “Absolute carnage at Paris Gare du Nord. Every late train, massive queues in the station and organized chaos.
A Tui spokesperson said: “We can confirm that, unfortunately, due to staff shortages at Manchester Airport today, some customers are experiencing longer than usual waiting times at Manchester Airport. Please rest assured that our teams are working as quickly as possible.
“We have reached out to all customers due to depart within the next two weeks with travel advice with potential airport wait times and have more information available on our website.”
However, following the past few weeks of travel chaos, ministers have drawn up a plan to ease counter-terrorism controls for new staff so they can be deployed more quickly.
Planned changes could see trained staff at airports without security screening – provided they are not allowed to work with access to planes and runways.
Currently, screening can take twice as long as the 14 and 15 weeks it is supposed to be carried out by the Department for Transport (DfT) and industry.
And ministers are urged to ease the rules as airports struggle to keep up with demand, recent Covid spikes have led to staff shortages in the industry, with some airlines sick and others failing fill staffing shortages. This has led to more delays at Birmingham, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester.
Immigration Services Union general secretary Lucy Moreton said: “This weekend, catastrophically understaffed, with people traveling again, we expect queues to grow from queues security-based to Border Force queues.”
Manchester Airport has been approached for comment.