Easter travel hell with huge queues at Manchester Airport and IT nightmare on Eurostar

Passengers returning home from the Bank Holiday weekend are facing huge disruption with Easter traffic causing huge delays and queues across the country with some passengers unable to get home

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Huge queues form at Eurostar Paris terminal on Easter Monday

Easter traffic is causing huge delays and queues across rail, road, flights and ferries as passengers return home from the Bank Holiday weekend.

There were long queues at Manchester Airport this morning as a packed Easter Monday saw at least 20 flights between Scotland and London being canceled by British Airways and easyJet.

Passengers at Manchester Airport were seen queuing outside a terminal building for security this morning.

Flights have also been canceled to Heathrow from cities including Paris, Amsterdam and Geneva.

And passengers at Eurostar are facing nightmare queues at Gare Du Nord in Paris after a border control IT failure in France meant travelers could not board trains.

Passengers facing lengthy queues for security at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1


Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP)

There have been reported delays of at least 30 minutes with pictures and video showing huge queues at the terminal.

However, for some passengers, the queues are much longer with some waiting to board despite Eurostar’s website saying trains had departed.

Passengers at Eurostar, who are facing delays of more than an hour at Gare Due Nord due to IT failure, have been made to stand in queues for over an hour and a half.

A busy Heathrow Airport terminal 2 on bank holiday Monday



Charlie Daffern, 36, from Cheltenham, said: “It’s a nightmare here. We have been stood in the queue for check-in/security for over an hour and a half. Probably another hour to go.

“People are becoming very restless and some people panicking as they have flights to catch from Heathrow this afternoon. I take it all with a pinch of salt. The main problem is lack of communication.”

Lucie Spencer, 25, a salon owner from Lancashire, said customers were facing long delays due to staff shortages.

Heathrow Airport terminal 2 was facing long delays



She said: “I heard French border officers saying that they had never seen that. People are upset due to the delays and the fact that you have to stand still for hours. It’s very upsetting when we know the price of the tickets.

“I would say that easily more than a thousand people are queuing in Gare du Nord. (I am) frustrated especially when we know the price of the 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 make the rush home ahead of the working week.

The motoring group predicts the bank holiday will be extra busy because the traffic will be crammed into one day, unlike in the lead-up to Easter when passengers went home over different days.

Passengers queue in the underground car park outside terminal 1 at Manchester Airport at 4am


Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP)

In addition, the Dover-Calais sailings by P&O Ferries shortages have added to the large 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 in addition to the 530 rail upgrades – costing £83m – taking place tomorrow.

One user on Twitter who was facing canceled and delayed trains at Eurostar wrote: ‘Absolute carnage at Paris Gare du Nord. Every train late, 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 queue times at check-in. Please be assured that our teams are working as quickly as they can.

“We have contacted all customers due to depart in the next two weeks with advice on traveling with potential wait times in airports and have more information available on our website.”

The Easter travel is causing headaches for travelers


Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP)

However, as a result of the recent weeks of travel chaos, ministers have come up with a plan to relax counter-terrorism checks for new staff so they can be deployed faster.

The planned changes could see staff trained in airports without security vetting – on the condition they will not be allowed to work with access to plans and runways.

Presently, vetting can reportedly take twice as long as the 14 and 15 weeks it is supposed to be completed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and industry.

And ministers are being urged to relax the rules as airports are struggling to keep up with demand with recent spikes in Covid have lead to an industry shortfall of staff with some off sick and other airlines failing to fill staff 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 anticipate queues will move from security-based queues going outward to Border Force queues coming back in.”

Manchester Airport has been approached for comment.

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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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