Holidaymakers face travel 'nightmare' as millions return from Easter getaways

18 April 2022, 17:40 | Updated: 18 April 2022, 17:43

Holidaymakers are facing chaos as they try to return from their getaways
Holidaymakers are facing chaos as they try to return from their getaways. Picture: Twitter: Simsoclock/Joe hornby

By Emma Soteriou

Holidaymakers have faced chaos across trains, planes, roads and ferries as they return home following Easter getaways.

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Around 3.96 million drivers were predicted to make their journeys on Monday, causing delays on many major routes, the RAC warned.

It came as rail and air passengers saw long queues while P&O Dover-Calais ferries remained suspended over the weekend - leading to a shortage of capacity on the key route and contributing to large queues at the Port of Dover.

Monday morning also brought chaos to those attempting to travel home via the Eurostar.

Customers were caught up in "nightmare" queues at Gare Du Nord in Paris after a border control IT failure meant passengers could not board trains.

Read more: Easter travel chaos warning: Drivers warned of disruption over Bank Holiday weekend

Read more: Easter kicks off with travel chaos on the roads and in airports

One passenger, Charlie Daffern, 36, from Cheltenham, said all trains had been delayed for at least an hour.

He explained: "It's a nightmare here. We have been stood in the queue for check-in/security for over an hour and a half. Probably another hour to go.

"People are becoming very restless and some people panicking as they have flights to catch from Heathrow this afternoon.

"I take it all with a pinch of salt. The main problem is lack of communication."

Loic Kreseski, 25, who lives in Hackney, said "hundreds and hundreds" were in queues at the station.

"I heard French border officers saying that they had never seen that. People are upset due to the delays and the fact that you have to stand still for hours.

"It's very upsetting when we know the price of the tickets.

"I would say that easily more than a thousand people are queueing in Gare du Nord. [I am] frustrated especially when we know the price of the tickets, the lack of announcements and customer service."

Passengers at Manchester, Heathrow and Gatwick airports also faced long queues in the rush to return from getaways.

Similar issues have occurred several times over the course of the past two weeks as travellers made the most of their Easter breaks.

Lucie Spencer, 25, a salon owner from Lancashire, said the delays were "frustrating" and "annoying" after her flight was held for over an hour due to apparent staff shortages.

She said: "Queues were very long, we were in Terminal 2. They moved consistently but slowly. The mood of the airport was generally calm but you could hear people moaning, of course, as it's not fun standing in queues for so long.

"It's definitely due to major staff shortage, TUI had basically no check-in desks open, just self check-in, which seemed to cause the huge queue.

"Security was then huge queues as there was only three of eight security lanes open.

"Queues to get in all bars and restaurants, meaning we had to give up to it so as to not miss our flight.

"Still sat on plane, should have taken off at 8.30am but the luggage wasn't loaded onto the plane in time."

A TUI spokesperson said: "We can confirm that unfortunately due to staff shortages at Manchester Airport today, some customers are experiencing longer-than-usual queue times at check-in. Please be assured that our teams are working as quickly as they can.

"We have contacted all customers due to depart in the next two weeks with advice on travelling with potential wait times in airports and have more information available on our website."

Manchester Airport has been approached for comment.

Queues for the Eurostar were due to an IT failure.
Queues for the Eurostar were due to an IT failure. Picture: Simsoclock

Planned engineering works on the UK's rail network are also likely to mean more delays for travellers.

Network Rail has been carrying out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83 million, meaning the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes was closed for four days due to upgrades of the existing line and HS2 work.

Parts of the railway between Birmingham International station and Coventry have also been closed, along with lines around Crewe station.

To add further worry, supplies of petrol and diesel at filling stations in some areas of the country have been running at around half their usual level.