Busiest day for three years at UK airports as travel chaos continues | Travel News | Travel


Travellers have been warned to expect long delays at passport controls and at baggage collection due to staff shortages.

Major roads are also expected to be busy today as millions of motorists head home from long Jubilee weekends, with day trippers adding to traffic congestion.

The chaos seen at airports across Britain continued this weekend with more than 60,000 passengers now having had half-term and Jubilee holidays scrapped after more than 400 UK departure flights were cancelled.

Many more missed flights as they could not get through check-in queues in time.

Stressed passengers, who did travel after enduring check-in queue mayhem before outward journeys a week ago, say they are “dreading” more problems for flights back to Britain today.

Delays on arrival are due as baggage handlers and Border Force are both short of workers – and families with children under-12 are barred from using self-service eGates.

Two-hour waits for both baggage and passport control have been reported at UK airports during peak times in recent weeks.

Paul Charles, of travel consultancy The PC Agency, warned: “Delays will get worse as we are reaching peak passenger numbers.

“Monday is scheduled to be the busiest inbound flights day since 2019.”

EasyJet, British Airways and TUI were among airlines scrapping flights last week, with Gatwick and Manchester both hard hit.

Passenger Hilda Havran, 54, was worried about her return flight to Gatwick today after an 18-hour “nightmare” journey with Spanish airline Vueling on her outward trip last weekend to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The mother of one from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said: “I’m dreading more delays. Coming out, our pilot left without us due to check-in queues .

“Children had to sleep on the airport floor, waiting for early-morning, indirect replacement flights, and our luggage went missing on the way.”

There were also long delays at Malaga airport in Spain for Britons heading home after half-term holidays.

On the UK roads, 19 million leisure journeys were made this weekend, the AA said, with traffic hotspots including the A31 eastbound in Dorset, the M5 northbound in Somerset and the A303 at Stonehenge, Wiltshire. A spokesman

Luke Bosdet said: “Sunday afternoon will be a peak travel period, with many travelling home after time away.”

Rail passengers were warned to expect significant disruption to TransPennine Express services yesterday and today due to a strike by conductors over pay.

The train operator advised people heading to Jubilee celebrations to seek alternative transport.

Kathryn O’Brien, customer experience director for TPE, said: “We are saddened that ongoing strikes will mean we are unable to provide a full service for customers over such a special weekend, when celebrations will be taking place across the UK.

“With strike action planned for both Saturday and Sunday, coupled with major engineering work, our advice for customers is not to travel by train, and anyone heading to an event should seek alternative transport.

“Major engineering work by Network Rail will also mean changes for customers travelling across our North route, and we are calling on them to plan ahead and check their journeys.”

Adding to the woes, London Underground has advised people not to travel tomorrow because of a 24-hour strike by Rail, Maritime and Transport union workers over jobs and pensions.

It came as Post Office workers went on strike yesterday in a dispute over pay.

The walkout closed all 114 Crown Post Offices – the larger branches often sited on high streets.

Members of the Communication Workers Union based in administration and supply chain networks will strike tomorrow. It is the second bout of industrial action since the dispute flared and the union has said it is not ruling out further strikes.

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