Christmas Eve travel chaos as Brits slam “shower of s***” train and airport delays


Airports including Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow are seeing seven times more passengers than last year – as huge Christmas getaway queues form at big train stations including London Euston

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Seething festive travellers have endure chaos at UK airports and train stations as they race to spend Christmas with their loved ones.

Airline passengers have accused bosses at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester of causing them misery when flying and arriving in Britain as airports.

While train passengers at Euston station faced delays in their quest to leave the capital due to industrial action and staff shortages.

Furious airport customers claim to have endured a ‘typical shower of s***’ caused by huge queues, parking chaos and lost luggage as airlines.

Airports are seeing seven times more passengers than last year with the festive period being one of the busiest times of the year outside summer for international travel from the UK.

Passengers waiting at Manchester Airport on Christmas Eve
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The number of people heading abroad is higher than last year but is down on pre-pandemic levels.

Bosses at Gatwick say they expect 750,000 passengers between December 18 and 31 which is a staggering seven times more than over the same period 12 months ago.

Thursday and Boxing Day are expected to be among its busiest days for departures, with up to 35,000 passengers jetting off.

Passengers flying into and out of major UK hubs have reported chaotic scenes on Christmas Eve.

Travellers waiting for trains at Euston station on Christmas Eve
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Heathrow, the country’s busiest airport, was slammed by swathes of customers on social media saying it has handled the surge in travellers poorly.

Gary Haldane tweeted: “Standard UK border patrol chaos at Heathrow. Six empty counters and one actually working in T5a.

“Maybe our plane turned up unexpectedly today.”

Heathrow replied: “Due to the increase of passengers Border Force are working hard to process passengers under new formalities, we appreciate your patience at this time.”

Another person wrote: “what is the point of POD parking if POD is not working? This is same as long stay car park????”

Travellers wait for trains at Euston station
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Heathrow responded: “The PODs require emergency maintenance work from time to time, and it is not always possible to determine when this will take place or for how long.

“We work hard to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum and customers can amend their bookings if they wish.”

While Matt Russell posted: “@UKBorder and @HeathrowAirport continue to be a lesson in how to *not* run an efficient logistics setup. Usual chaos T5 arrivals.

He added: “Poor queue management, lack of staff helping. Sack the duty manager please.”

The number of people heading abroad is higher than last year
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Heathrow responded: “We are sorry to hear that you were affected by delays at Immigration and kindly ask you direct any feedback to UK Border Force directly using the link on their website.”

Sabir Ahmed said: “Had the misfortune to visit Heathrow yesterday. They kept my 87-year-old father waiting for a wheel chair for two hours and 35 minutes.

“Members of staff going off for hours, broken phones and information staff won’t call managers. Shame on you Heathrow!’

Gatwick was also criticised with Glenn Hallam writing: “Firstly, directed from the speeding boarding queue to a slower line, although having paid for this service.

Furious airport customers claim to have endured a ‘typical shower of s***’
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“Consequences? Missing our lounge also paid for. Secondly, Arrive in #Prague, no luggage- Merry Christmas!”

Gatwick replied: “Sorry to hear about the delay. Please give us the full details about what happened at Security here so we can investigate.”

Danny Ivatt said: “@Gatwick_Airport is utterly disgusting. The toilets stink, the ‘food’ in the lounge is from a 1970s truckstop, everything is filthy, worn and used.”

Another angry traveller said: “Easyjet REFUSED 11 people (inc 77 year old) on last nights LGW-BSL flight, ALL Covid tests meeting requirements detailed on EJ website, CH & UK Gov Sites.’

The number of airline passengers has risen from this time last year
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They added: “They have NOT replied. This reflects VERY badly on Gatwick. Can you Advise?”

The airport replied: “The rules are set by the government and it’s the airline that check paperwork.

“The airport itself has no involvement in this so we cannot comment on easyJets actions. I do hope they can help clarify what happened.”

David Kelly said he had issues at Manchester Airport.

Industrial action and staff shortages are causing disruptions to services from Euston
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He wrote: “I got off a flight from Dublin on the 21st and my bag was not on the carousel I filled in a form and I still have heard nothing back.

“I need a ref number for the airline, what the hell is going on, this is following on from the debacle that was the 18th. Help anybody.”

Another person wrote: “@manairport It is pretty diabolical in a pandemic you make a plane of people wait for their bags for over 90 min and the flight wasn’t even that long!’

Paul Salkeld posted: “Rarely do this but shocking service from Manchester Airport’s so-called ‘meet & greet’ parking service.

A train passenger at Euston
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“Arrived 6am on 28/11 in the snow with 2 young kids to find car park closed and deserted. Nobody around to help. The stress!

“Since lodged two complaints – no response. Very poor.”

Gatwick’s chief commercial officer, Jonathan Pollard, said the airport is ‘encouraged by the number of people looking to travel this Christmas’ but said new coronavirus testing requirements have ‘impacted some people’s travel plans over the holiday period’.

He added: “While we understand the need for measures to stop the spread of the Omicron variant until more scientific information on its level of harm is available, it is vital these are in place no longer than absolutely necessary.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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