Queues ‘outside the terminal’ loosen passengers’ pockets amid airport chaos

Travelers have complained of “disappointing” queues outside airport terminals, which have forced many people to miss flights and lose hundreds of pounds. Airline passengers have been hit by disruptions for several months.

The situation has worsened as demand increased due to half-closed school holidays and a four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend. The aviation industry is grappling with a staff shortage after thousands of people were laid off during the coronavirus pandemic.

London’s Gatwick Airport said on Friday it was reducing the number of daily flights to help deal with staffing problems during the busy summer period. Nicole Venglovikova, 31, missed three separate flights from Heathrow to Belfast and is worried she won’t get a refund for the nearly £500 she spent trying to sort out air travel.

Ms Venglovikova, a London-based freelance video producer, told PA news agency: “I had a meltdown, I was crying outside the airport out of stress. I arrived at the airport for my morning flight and Flybe told me That queue is huge so I need to run. When I finally got to security, my boarding pass wasn’t working… at this point the gate was still open.”

As Ms Venglovikova went back to the front desk to explain the issues with her boarding pass, she said staff “began to argue with security”. She claims that by the time she could go back to her gate, it was closed and no one was there.

She said: “The problem with me was that they should have told me that I would have missed my flight because of the queue and that I would have booked a later flight to leave. But instead they took me (back) to safety.” Shipped. Check in and I miss my flight and I had to go through arrivals and look for my luggage, which they didn’t even put on the plane.”

It took Ms Venglovikova two more hours to get her luggage and go back through security, which meant she missed two other flights she caught for Belfast. She said: “I thought I could (get) one afternoon and then I saw the queue going all the way out of the car park and I couldn’t see the end of it.

“Then I got into a meltdown and just went home. No use. Domestic flight to Belfast and when do I have to get to the airport? Eight hours before?”

Liverpool’s Mick Lyon said his time at Manchester airport on Friday was “very disappointing”. Traveling home from Paris, the 39-year-old said passengers queued outside the terminal as passport control barriers were closed.

He said: “I travel for work and fly most of the week and Manchester airport is definitely the worst experience at any airport. Really needs someone to open up the barriers so that people queue up organically.” … it could have been easily avoided by opening the barriers.”

The airport will limit the number of flights to deal with the problem.

Airports and airlines are under increasing pressure to handle the influx of foreign travellers. Gatwick Airport plans to limit its number of daily flights to 825 in July and 850 in August, compared to 900 reported daily flights during the same period in previous years.

It comes after a busy Jubilee holiday week, with more than 150 flights canceled across the UK on the eve of Jubilee.

Downing Street welcomed the flights reducing Gatwick “so that they can deliver realistically over the summer”. A No. 10 spokesperson said: “We want everyone to be able to travel freely and easily, which is why we continue to encourage the industry to increase our recruitment so that they can provide enough support for those families. To make flights that are well-awaited vacations well-deserved post-pandemic.”

Trade Minister Paul Scully previously suggested that one solution to the airport chaos is for employees to work longer hours if they wish. He told Sky News: “We want to work really closely with airports and airlines to make sure they’re doing everything they can and see what else we can do.

“There are a record number of vacancies – 1.3 million vacancies in all kinds of sectors across the country – but there are also people who have reevaluated what they want to do while on vacation. We want to make sure that those who are essential. Not working full-time, through Universal Credit we can get them back to work to be more productive, and obviously match the areas where they have vacancies.”

Asked if it meant people working longer, he said: “I’m not talking about forcing people to do anything, but we want to make sure they’re okay.” So that it’s only people who can work long hours – who want to work long hours – can.”

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