Heathrow Airport chaos as passengers left queueing for hours

Passengers have once again been left waiting in long, cramped queues at Britain’s largest airport (Picture: W8 Media/Eoin Martin)

More images of huge queues with no social-distancing have emerged from Heathrow Airport as a summer of delays continues.

Arriving travellers said they were forced to wait for hours as passport control ground to a halt in a repeat of familiar scenes at the UK’s busiest airport.

A pregnant woman was reportedly among those who were left standing in line for hours, with claims one man fainted.

Images posted on social media showed people crammed together in narrow corridors, including young families, and staff handing out water.

Heathrow Airport has blamed Border Force for the delays, claiming they did not have sufficient staff to man passport control desks.

While Heathrow Airport is responsible for its own security, immigration checks and the e-gates are ran by Home Office personnel.

Among the huge crowds was celebrity chef James Martin, who tweeted: ‘Wow never seen anything like Heathrow right now for passport control … queues of 1000s probs 10,000 waiting for hours all stood together… utter madness’

As well as long queues at the arrivals gates, travellers were also seen queueing at check in (Picture: W8Media)
Pictures on social media appear to show no social-distancing measures were in place for waiting passengers (Picture: Twitter/@eoinemartin)

Another passenger, Eoin Martin, posted on Friday: ‘Outrageous scenes at Heathrow after landing. 

‘Giant barely moving queue. Thankfully we’ve just been handed out water.’

About an hour later, Noel Braganza posted: ‘The London Heathrow Queues are insane. With no idea of when they are going to move. 

‘Not sure if this is an effective way to prevent the spread of Covid. Box a few thousand people in a confined space to check Covid documents. The irony.’

There were similar problems on Thursday, according to passengers, with one claiming they waited four hours. They tweeted: ‘Families with children, pregnant ladies & old folks everyone had to wait. Is that human?’

It’s not the first time there’s been chaos at Heathrow recently – this picture was taken back in July (Picture: SWNS)

​​One passenger told MailOnline: ‘The queues have been three to five hours long for immigration.

‘I landed in Terminal 5 and the transit train wasn’t working so we had to walk in a tunnel for about 20 minutes with no ventilation.

‘We’ve been in a queue for two to three hours already, but some have been told the wait is up to five hours – with families and babies stuck in the queue.’

Heathrow Airport has apologised to passengers but pointed the finger of blame at Border Force.

A spokesperson said: ‘We are very sorry that passengers faced unacceptable queueing times in immigration last night due to too few Border Force officers on duty.  

‘Border Force were aware of the extra demand from families and we were very disappointed that they did not provide sufficient resource. 

‘Additional Heathrow colleagues supported in managing queues and handed out passenger welfare including water, but we need every immigration desk to be staffed at peak times. 

‘We have escalated this with Border Force and expect them to provide a better service over the remainder of the weekend.’

Metro.co.uk has contacted the Home Office for comment.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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