Mum forced to tackle Manchester Airport queues TWICE in another day of chaos

A mum was forced to go endure the Manchester Airport queuing nightmare TWICE after her flight was grounded for over 24 hours. The woman says she was sat on the plane for over four hours and was offered only a chicken wrap before she herself and her fellow passengers were told to get off and spend the night in a hotel.

It comes after another day of ‘chaos’ at the airport with many angry passengers forced to wait several hours on plans, or in queues for security or baggage.

The woman, who has a young child, was due to fly with Qatar Airways from Manchester to Doha on Thursday morning. After warnings from the airline, she said she arrived at the airport and began parking her car at around 3am. However, it wasn’t until 7am she made it through check-in and security to the departure lounge.

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She boarded the flight, which was originally due to depart at 9:20am, at around 9:30am. She was unable to take off due to a ‘technical issue.’ However, the woman says it wasn’t until around 2pm that she and the other passengers were escorted off the flight and offered overnight accommodation with the flight rescheduled for today (Friday).

It meant she had to spend hours more in the check-in and security queues at the airport which she said were worse this morning. The airport says the entire aviation is facing shortages of security staff and that they are trying to recruit as quickly as they can, but that the training and clearance required for the role it takes time to get new people started.

The Qatar Airways flight to Doha scheduled for Thursday left on Friday instead

The mum, who did not want to be named, said: “The queue for security must have been a mile-long.

“Because of how long it took to get through we didn’t have much time. I managed to eat something quickly but my child wasn’t hungry, and I said it was fine we could have something on the plane.

“When we got on there, they kept saying ‘5 minutes, 10 minutes’ but it just went on and on. We didn’t get any food. It was about 1:30pm they offered us a chicken wrap or roll or something but she was so hungry and thirsty by then.”

They were put up in a central Manchester hotel last night but the woman says the prospect of having to tackle through the airport departures again today was a bitter blow given the current problems.

Passengers waiting next to empty baggage carousels

“It was just extremely frustrating I didn’t get a good sleep at the hotel and knowing we’d have to go through it all again was another stress.

“Today was horrible. Even worse than yesterday. The staff at the airport were extremely rude. They seemed so frustrated as everyone is having a go at them. There were just lots of angry people everywhere.”

A spokesman for the airline said: “Qatar Airways flight QR22 traveling from Manchester (MAN) to Doha (DOH) was delayed on the ground following a minor technical issue on Thursday 31 March. Passengers were assisted overnight and we are pleased to say the flight has now departed.”

A number of other passengers have also spoken out about the issue with baggage reclaim. However, the woman wasn’t the only passenger to spend several hours stuck on a plane.

Police patrolling the baggage reclaim area on Friday afternoon

Matthew Wilson-Hirst, 32, was due to fly to Cologne from the Airport’s Terminal 3 at 12:50pm this afternoon. However by 3pm he had still not parted with the captain telling passengers it was the result of an issue with a third-party baggage agent who were unable to come and unload the previous flight’s bags and load the current passengers’ cases.

Matthew, from Leeds, said he only decided to take his wife, who suffers from Fybromyalgia and chronic back pain, away as the hour flight should have been manageable.

“There were lots of people in the same position, people with small kids etc all expecting a short flight.

“But we have been here six hours and by the time we reach our destination it will be three to four hours if not longer on the flight. The mood is very fractious. It’s just been a complete shambles really. It’s put me off flying from Manchester for good now. I’d rather pay the extra and fly from London.”

The baggage issue was also causing long delays inside the terminal building. Rob Phillips, 42, from Wales landed on a Ryanair flight from Verona in Italy after a week-long skiing holiday with this partner and two children.

Matthew Wilson-Hirst, 32 was forced to wait several hours on his Ryanair plane

He waited two and a quarter hours after landing for his two suitcases to come onto the carousel. “As we walked through passport control she made a passing comment along the lines of ‘you’ll be waiting hours.’ There must have been upwards of 100 people from probably four or five flights just all stood around waiting.

“There was no information on the boards and no one coming round telling us what was going on. I spoke to a woman on another flight who said she’d been waiting for two and a quarter hours, so I felt my wife and kids to a nearby hotel to chill-out because I knew it was going to be a long time.

“People were trying climbing and trying to peer through the big rubber flaps which the bags come through to try and see if anything was happening. Then the airport police turned up and were stood around making sure nothing kicked off. It didn’t, it might have done if there was a stag or hen do! But people were just despondent and sat here staring into space.”

The board in baggage reclaim

Julie McAllister, 62, from Stockport said: “Our flight from Faro landed at 12.12pm. We got our suitcase at 13.48pm. “The whole situation was utter chaos,” she said.

“There were no visible staff to ask what was happening. I tried two different telephone numbers which I Googled for Manchester Airport – both led me through the usual multiple-choice options at the end of which, the message said they could be of no further help, and advised me to call the airline.

“The baggage reclaim area was crammed with passengers from umpteen different flights. Eventually, the luggage started to arrive, but it was on random belts, not those displayed, causing more chaos.

Ryanair have been approached for comment.

A Manchester Airport spokesperson said: “We are aware of challenges faced today by one of the ground handling agents that works for a number of different airlines at Manchester Airport. This has resulted in some flight delays, and customers having to wait longer than we would like for their bags to be processed.

“The whole of aviation industry is recovering from the biggest crisis in its history, and this is having an impact on a large number of businesses operating within it. However, we do want all customers traveling through Manchester to have the best possible experience, and will be liaising with the handling agent concerned to understand the issues it faced today, and how we can support them going forward.”

Regarding the queues for security, they said: “As we recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic we have been advising customers that security queues may be longer than usual due to staff shortages and recruitment challenges our whole industry is facing.

“Due to the security checks and training associated with these roles, it takes time for people to be able to start work in our operation. That is why we are exploring a number of short-term measures to deliver the best possible service we can, such as the use of agency staff and different ways in which existing colleagues can support our operation.”

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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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