Some passengers say they have faced long queues as they drop off bags at Manchester Airport as families head abroad over the May half-term holidays – with people describing the waits as ‘disgraceful’.
TUI passengers flying from the airport’s T2 on Saturday morning (May 28) said they have faced ‘hours’ of queuing to drop off luggage before being able to queue for security. At some points, customers said some of the queues stretched as far as the sky tunnel escalators outside the entrance to T2.
TUI said the airport is currently very busy due to the start of the May half-term and TUI team members were ‘working hard to check everyone in. They have urged passengers not to show up too early for flights.
Jo Darbyshire, from Lostock, Bolton, is traveling to Dalaman, Turkey with her husband and their two children, Adam, 22, and Heather, 13. They arrived at the airport at 11.40am for their 3.45pm flight and said they joined the huge queues for the TUI bag drop when arriving.
READ MORE: Holidaymakers face travel chaos as big half-term getaway begins
“The queue is almost the entire length of the linkway from the station and the Radisson to the T2 building,” Jo told the MEN “We expected the queues to be bad and maybe about an hour but it’s worse than that. We’re just hoping security won’t be as long too. We had booked the executive lounge but don’t think we are going to get any time in there at all now.
“It’s taken us over an hour to get to the entrance of T2, where there is a massive queue for the bag drop.” Jo said it took them an hour and a half to get through the bag drop queue, before heading to security. “You can understand why people are arriving so early when it’s like this,” she added. “It’s not the best way to start a holiday.”
Oliver Akroyd, from Halifax, tweeted earlier this morning: “Disgraceful effort at T2 check-in at @manairport. Queue is actually 1 mile long. Going to need lots of beer [sic] to get over this.”
Speaking to the MEN, Oliver, who is traveling to Menorca as part of a family-of-six, added: “The queue for all TUI flights is the full length of the air bridge. It takes about five minutes to walk the full length to join the back of the queue. We arrived at 11:15 a.m. and our flight is at 2:40 p.m. The process seems to be that TUI staff are selecting the flights out of the queue as they get closer to departure time.
“The staff handled the situation well but it was unusual circumstances, involving a huge, long queue where they called you out in order depending on your flight departure. The upshot being hardly anyone was able to have time in the departure lounge.”
A TUI spokesperson told the MEN that Manchester Airport was currently very busy due to the start of the May half-term and TUI team members were ‘working hard to check everyone in’ and ‘doing everything we can to limit any queues’.
On Friday (May 27), TUI released a statement apologizing for those affected by flight delays. In the statement, TUI said: “We would like to apologize to some of our customers who have experienced flight delays in recent days. As the UK’s biggest holiday company, our priority is to take customers on holiday safely.
“We continue to work closely with our airport partners to monitor the situation and continue to provide the best possible holiday experience for our customers. We are doing everything we can to limit any flight delays, which can happen from time to time for various operational reasons .
“On the rare occasion flight delays do take place, we will do everything we can to support our customers, through direct communications and providing overnight accommodation and transfers where needed, as well as meals and refreshments. We’d like to remind customers not to arrive at the airport too far in advance of their flight, as this can contribute to terminal queuing delays.
“Standard check-in opens at least two and a half hours before departure time for short and mid-haul flights, and at least three and a half hours before departure for long-haul flights. At some airports, we are able to offer day before bag drop and self-service bag drop.You can find more information about these services, as well as our advice for making your airport experience as smooth as possible here.”
Manchester Airport said they cannot comment on individual operator’s queues and there are no issues with security queues today. The airport issued a similar statement about advising people not to arrive earlier than three hours for their flights. A spokesperson recently said: “The airport is asking passengers not to come any earlier than this because they will not be able to check-in with their airlines, which could cause unnecessary waits in the terminals. Leaving a three-hour window will enable people to pass through security and make their flights.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.