Passenger stuck at airport for nearly four hours says travelers ‘treated like cattle’



A passenger was stuck at an airport for almost four hours after long queues and staff shortages.

Ian Longley had traveled from the sunshine hotspot of Verona, Italy but was hit by horrendous queues when he landed back at Manchester Airport’s’ terminal two.

He claims he was trapped there for almost four hours

Staff shortages and queues were the main reason for his delays after landing with on March 26 at 12.25pm.

But because of a litany of snags and glitches with aircraft handling, immigration and baggage Ian claims it wasn’t until after 4pm he finally left the airport

Ian, 70, says he understands the unprecedented pressure that Manchester Airport is facing due to a range of issues, including staff shortages, sparked by the pandemic.

But his biggest complaint is the way in which management dealt with his grumbles.







Manchester Airport
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Manchester Evening News)

He told Manchester Evening News: “I understand there are practical problems with things like Covid and recruitment but there were no staff. Not another single person in the building you could speak to.

“The one engineer we saw eventually swore at an elderly lady.

“It’s like passengers are an inconvenience, we are treated with contempt. There’s a lack of information, a lack of people to speak to. We are treated like cattle. I’ve had enough of it.

“What I’m trying to communicate with the airport is that it’s not just about the queue, or that we were delayed. That’s bad enough. It’s about how they treat people.”

Manchester Airport, meanwhile, say the issues in question are managed by the Home Office and a handling agent, while they have endeavored to deal with Ian’s complaint in good time.







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After arrival at the terminal, they were stuck on the aircraft for ‘almost an hour’ while staff waited for ‘chocks’ to secure the wheels. Manchester Airport has said the airline’s handling agent Swissport would be responsible for this.

Once off the plane, another delay ensued at Immigration, which is run by the Home Office, where, Ian claims, ‘two thirds of the automated gates were not working’.

Immigration completed, Ian had high hopes for a smooth run to the door – but then came the baggage hall, a process which, again, is run by the airline’s handling agent Swissport.

Ian said: “At 2pm not a single bag had been delivered, a Tannoy announcement told us that, due to a shortage of staff, they had been unable to unload the aircraft. There were no further announcements and not a single member of staff in the building.”

He claimed a man in overalls and a high-viz jacket eventually appeared and seemed to examine the conveyor.

But Swissport have denied this staff member works for them. It is unclear who they report to.

He added: “An elderly lady asked him when the baggage would appear. His response sums up the whole problem with Manchester airport. Succinctly, ‘Its got f*** all to do with me’.”

Ian says his bag finally came into view at 3.56pm – more than three hours after arrival. His flight from Italy took one hour and 50 minutes. It took three hours and 31 minutes to reclaim his baggage, he claims.






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He claimed a man in overalls and a high-viz jacket eventually appeared and seemed to examine the conveyor.

But Swissport have denied this staff member works for them. It is unclear who they report to.

He added: “An elderly lady asked him when the baggage would appear. His response sums up the whole problem with Manchester airport. Succinctly, ‘Its got f*** all to do with me’.”

Ian says his bag finally came into view at 3.56pm – more than three hours after arrival. His flight from Italy took one hour and 50 minutes. It took three hours and 31 minutes to reclaim his baggage, he claims.

He says he understands the pressure Manchester Airport is under, but added: “I am angry about the airport’s response to my inquiries.”

“At 2pm not a single bag had been delivered, a Tannoy announcement told us that, due to a shortage of staff, they had been unable to unload the aircraft. There were no further announcements and not a single member of staff in the building.”







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Customer Services only led to an automated voice, while the head office number was met with ‘this person’s phone is switched off’.

He finally reached the press office and arranged a call back from a customer service supervisor who, Ian claims, ‘refused to give their name’ and issued an ‘insincere apology’, while explaining that the airport was ‘not responsible for the problems he had experienced’.

Ian was promised a call from a senior manager, which he says never happened, and has since sent emails to various staff members, including MD Karen Smart, to no avail.

“This is my real complaint and it is symptomatic of the problems at Manchester Airport, they treat their customers with complete contempt.”

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We are disappointed to hear Mr Langley was unhappy with his experience when returning through the airport.

We are aware of challenges faced by our partners on the day in question, which led to service standards falling below what we want to see at Manchester Airport. This includes ground handling agents handling bags on behalf of airlines, and UK Border Force managing the immigration process.

The whole of the industry is facing challenges associated with recovering from the biggest crisis it has faced in a generation, and while we understand the pressure this places on all partners operating at Manchester Airport, we will work with those concerned to understand the root cause of issues.

“Mr Langley raised his concerns with us on Monday morning and received a call from a complaints manager on the same day. We are aware he was unhappy with some elements of this response, and he has since had a second phone call from a senior team member to explore his concerns in greater detail.

“We take all feedback about our processes and service seriously, and have offered to have further discussions with him and members of his party if appropriate. At the same, we want to be clear that rude, abusive or offensive behavior towards any of our colleagues will not be tolerated.”

“We would like to apologize to the passengers who experienced delays disembarking and collecting baggage at Manchester Airport. We understand the frustration of passengers who have experienced this disruption and we are working hard with our partners to implement contingency measures to remedy these delays.”

“As international travel continues to reopen and passenger numbers rise, we have been clear that queue times may be longer as we ensure all passengers are compliant with the security and immigration measures put in place to keep us safe. Border Force’s number one priority is to maintain a secure border, and we will not compromise on this.

“We are working closely with all UK ports to ensure passengers have the smoothest possible journey, and we will continue to deploy our staff as flexibly as we can.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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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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