Holidaymakers arriving before 7am this morning were shocked to start queuing outside the building at Belfast International Airport as some said they had ‘no real warning’ about the delays
Holidaymakers traveling through Belfast airport this morning faced chaos with queues snaking outside the building.
Belfast International had put plans in place ahead of the Easter period and they are working on an ongoing campaign to recruit over 200 roles at all levels.
Images show crowds of people queuing to get into the terminal building.
Robert Grundy’s flight to London was at 7.30am this morning and he says he arrived at the terminal at 6.25am and was greeted by the huge queue stretching outside the building onto the street.
He told BelfastLive: “I was immediately confronted with the queue that was outside the building. When I joined it, it was about 50 yards long.”
Robert was still in the security queue as his flight had been called to the gate at 7am.
He added: “I took an executive decision and ducked under the barrier and went down the express lane, and went straight in front. The issue is ordinarily I would’ve asked permission from staff, but there were no staff there organizing anything, so I had to just make the decision to jump the queue.
“I would worry about people who feel like they can’t take that initiative, and who just stay in the queue and end up missing their flight. I don’t know how many people missed their flight this morning or if they did, but I would imagine they did.”
He said he found the early morning delays to be “unexpected” and that there was “no real warning” of it for passengers heading to the airport.
He added: “The problem is when it’s like that first thing in the morning, there’s no real warning for folks who have just got out of bed and straight up to the airport.
A Belfast International Airport spokesperson said:
Check Travel Requirements
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Check with your airline for the latest information on your flight and arrive when your airline advises. We recommend you arrive at the Airport at least two hours before your flight departs.
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Make sure your tickets and boarding pass, travel insurance, driving license, currency and credit cards are safe but easily accessible. It’s also mindful to carry a charger for your smartphone and have your airline information ready.
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Before reaching security, it’s a good idea to remove your laptop, tablet or similar electronic devices from your hand luggage to be inspected separately. Coats, jackets and belts should also be removed.
“I’ve been largely okay when I’ve been flying out from the International in the last month, so it was just unexpected that early in the morning.”
Terence McCracken had a 7am flight to Liverpool this morning and after arriving at 5.40am he couldn’t believe the length of the queues,
Terence said: “The queue was down to the WHSmith kiosk near the check-in area. In two minutes of standing there, the queue was out through the door.
“I was doing the mental calculation, I had an hour and 20 minutes until my flight. Which for Belfast International is usually plenty of time to get through.”
Terence added that a number of problems were evident, including staff shortages and flights being scheduled too close together.
He continued: “If you looked at the departures board you could see the first of the problems, which was within a twenty minute period they had five flights going out.”
He added: “They were clearly short-staffed, the staff were frazzled and rushed off their feet. They even called up the airport security police to start carrying the trays to keep security running. You had the guys there in their high-vis carrying the trays backwards and forwards.
“I got through at around 6.40, the gate was final call, my flight was at gate 24 so I had to run all the way down to the far end and the guy said there were lots of people still to come. I got onto the plane and it was half full.The pilot delayed the flight to 7:20 to let everyone get through.
“I fly every week and over the course of the year would fly through most regional and London airports. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, the experience at Belfast International is always the worst.”
A spokesperson for Belfast International Airport said: “We would like to apologize to those passengers who had to wait longer than expected to pass through security early this morning.
“The security lines are now flowing well and we thank passengers for their patience and understanding.”