Travellers claimed they faced delays of more than three hours to pass through security checkpoints with many complaining the airport was understaffed as others were left in tears after missing their flight
Image: Rory Masterson)
Hundreds of passengers have been caught up in chaos at Manchester Airport with many missing flights due to long queues through security.
Travellers claimed they faced delays of more than three hours to pass through security checkpoints with many complaining the airport was understaffed.
People reported passengers in tears after being ‘stranded’ when flights took off without them.
Manchester Airport said the longest security queue was just over an hour and a half – and have now apologised to travellers affected ‘for any inconvenience’.
They said they faced a higher-than-usual rate of staff absence and ‘a larger number of passengers travelling than has been the case in recent weeks’, reports the Manchester Evening News.
One customer reported seeing people ‘pushing’ and ‘mini stampedes’.
Another person, who was heading to Ireland for Christmas, described waiting at the airport overnight to catch another flight after missing her first.
Many passengers have vented their frustrations on social media with one complaining that people had to ‘fork out’ for a pre-flight PCR test “only to attend a super spreader event before they hop on the plane!”
Customers say some airlines delayed departures so that as many passengers as possible could board.
The airport apologised on Twitter for the ‘longer than normal’ queues at Terminal 1 which they say were due to staff shortages not related to Covid.
Resources were diverted from Terminal Two and travellers were prioritised within the queue where possible, they said.
Customers were asked to arrive at the airport at the earliest time their airline recommends ahead of the festive season.
The airport last night responded to several complaints on Twitter with the same message.
The tweet from Manchester Airport said: “We are aware security queues were longer than we would have hoped at times today and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
“We are doing all we can to minimise delays and thank customers for their understanding.”
Fiona Slater had already struggled with train cancellations and delays on her way to the airport from Huddersfield when she arrived in Manchester last night.
Arriving just before 8.45pm for a 10pm flight to Dublin – the last of the day – she was faced with huge queues through security.
“I have travelled quite a bit during Covid and it’s never been an issue,” she told the Manchester Evening News .
“I got talking to a man who had already missed his first flight, had to go back out to buy another ticket for another flight and was having to go through security again.
“There was zero information coming through from staff. They kept saying on the tannoy that for anyone on the Emirates flight to Dubai, it was being held back. But there were zero messages about Ryanair. We just assumed they would do the same for our flight.
“I got through security at 10.15pm and just before my boyfriend messaged to say he could see my flight had taken off.
“Nobody could give me any information, they just said they didn’t know.”
Fiona and some other passengers tried to stay airside so they wouldn’t have to pass through security again but were eventually ushered away by police and placed on a bus that took them landside.
She and several other passengers bought tickets for the first flights to Dublin at 8am this morning and waited in the airport overnight.
“I paid an extra £200 for another flight,” she said. “Not everyone can afford to do that.
“And there was no accommodation offered.
“I asked how long it would take to get through security in the morning and was told it opened again at 3am and I could go through then.”
Manchester Airport said removing people from airside to landside, known as decontrolling, is ‘normal procedure’ as the departures hall is a secure airside space and after the last flight has departed it is closed off to keep it secure.
Daniel Glynn, from Macclesfield, also missed his flight to Kraków due to the long queues.
He arrived at the airport at 6pm for a 7.45pm flight and was met with long queues to even reach the security gate at Terminal 1.
“The queues ran all the way through the concourse with three queues into one,” he said.
“It was 40 minutes before I actually entered security.
“As it went on people realised they were going to miss their flights.
“There was quite a lot of pushing. There were calls for passengers to go through for late flights and those caused mini stampedes.
“There was no information from staff about what was going on or how long it would take.
“I saw people pass out – two older people and a boy.
“Of course the advice with Omicron is to keep distanced, but people were just stagnant in that area.
“When I asked I was told there were 75 sicknesses due to Covid.”
Manchester Airport said medical assistance is always available on site and passengers who missed flights can contact the airport with details to assist.
Daniel got through security at 10pm, having missed his flight, and went home.
“They couldn’t run the airport properly,” he says. “It wasn’t really the staff’s fault.
“But I can’t see it being any different today.”