Britons have described scenes of “absolute carnage” and “biblical queues” at UK airports as last-minute cancellations and long delays cause mid-term vacation hell.
Passengers have described joining “biblical queues” in the early morning hours outside UK airports as the mid-term vacation chaos continues.
Tourists at Leeds Bradford airport shared scenes on social media showing snaking queues with large crowds forced to stand in the cold and dark at 4 am on Jubilee Friday.
In Manchester, returning passengers claimed their children were forced to sleep on the floor after their flight was canceled and video shows passengers climbing over carousel curtains to retrieve their luggage.
At Bristol Airport, travelers have described “absolute carnage” in the departure lounge with “people in every available inch” of space.
The mid-term week has been marred by horror stories of hopeful Britons facing last-minute vacations and flight cancellations from major providers including TUI, Ryanair, Jet2, EasyJet, and now British Airways.
The retired chief superintendent of police Owen West was among those stuck in queues at Leeds Bradford Airport on Friday morning.
Mr. West, who travels to Spain, posted photographs outside and inside the airport as crowds were forced to stand outside at 4 am.
He wrote on Twitter, “Biblical queues. Once inside, out of the rain, it’s right around the inside of the building to get to the security queue.”
Speaking to LeedsLive, he added: “The queue is so big that one lad has just taken some pints from the bar to his mates in the security queue.”
On Wednesday, father-of-two Ernest Murray, 50, told The Media how his flight for a three-night stay in Paris with his family had been canceled as they sat in the departure lounge at Manchester Airport.
The data scientist from Leeds, West Yorkshire, said: “It wasn’t until we got through security that we discovered the flight had been canceled.
“They say they can refund the flight there, but not the return flight, and they say they can get us to Paris from London, but we would have to take the flight back to Manchester.”
“We can stay with friends in London, but if we drive there and leave the car in London, we have no way of getting home when we land in Manchester.”
“The problem is that there is no advanced warning or even a text message telling you it’s canceled, you have to go through security before you find out.
“I was expecting maybe a delay after reading the news about the chaos at UK airports, but not this.”
On Wednesday, The Media spoke to another group, who had traveled to Manchester airport for the second time in less than a week after their TUI package vacation to Kos, Greece was pulled out from under them as they stood to board the plane.
Lucy Hollister, 24, had been one of 11 friends and family who had booked the getaway to lift their spirits after the death of her stepfather.
But after a seven-hour delay on Saturday, as the estate agent waited to board the plane, she explained how police had sent the passengers home claiming there was “no pilot” to fly the aircraft.
Lucy, from Sale, Manchester, said: “We were at the airport for more than 11 hours in total.
“Finally we were standing at the gate, waiting to board, and a policeman stood up and announced that the flight had been canceled and there was no pilot available to fly the plane.
“No one from TUI said anything to us, we didn’t even get an apology, and when we called the customer service line they couldn’t get through.
“All the time, the departure board said the word ‘Relax’ next to our flight, which made it even more frustrating.
“After wasting the day at the airport, we had to turn around and exit through the arrivals section, but there were only two people checking 230 passengers.
“They were asking us if we ‘had a good vacation’ and their systems weren’t working because the computer classified that we had left the UK but had never arrived in Greece, so we were in this digital no-man’s-land.”
The group had returned to try to escape together for five days in Barcelona but still encountered long queues at the security checkpoint where only two baggage screening lanes were open.
Officials at Leeds Bradford Airport have asked passengers to arrive no earlier than three hours before their flight, as many admitted they had arrived well in advance in an attempt to avoid the crowds and delays.
Speaking to the Media at Manchester Airport, Damian Morgan, 53, from Stockport, Manchester, said, “I think the reason it’s quite busy is that most people have arrived a few hours before their flight to avoid the rush.
“We haven’t flown for years, it’s our first family vacation since before Covid, so we’re hoping for smooth sailing.”
Others told how they had turned up three and a half hours before flying after being spooked by scenes on social media.
In an anchored tweet, LBA said: If you must travel from @LBIAirport this week, arrive no earlier than three hours before departure time.
“It may help speed your passage through security if you familiarize yourself with the process. Thank you for your support.”