Heathrow passengers face more long queues after bank holiday chaos

31 August 2021, 19:07 | Updated: 31 August 2021, 19:18

Arrivals at Heathrow have been complaining about the length of queues
Arrivals at Heathrow have been complaining about the length of queues. Picture: @Nostoa/Twitter

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Passengers arriving at Heathrow faced another day of long queues on Tuesday after significant complaints over the bank holiday weekend.

Immigration checks have been blamed for queues which the airport said have "on occasion been unacceptable".

One traveller wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that a queue for families with children was three hours.

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Another described the queue for families as "shameful", adding the UK "must be the only country which treats families worse than adults".

Arrivals at Heathrow have complained about the length of queues at the border for the last three days, while there have also been concerns over a lack of social distancing.

Some said there were not enough Border Force officials.

On Monday, a passenger said the immigration process in Terminal 2 was "incompetent, ridiculous", adding that he was forced to wait for more than five hours with "no water, no bathroom".

Many more Brits are now travelling abroad, with double vaccinated people permitted to avoid quarantine when returning from amber list countries and seven countries added to the green list over the weekend.

Heathrow said Border Force is "currently experiencing some delays as they conduct additional spot checks to ensure passenger compliance with the UK Government's latest entry requirements".

It went on: "Waiting times at the border have on occasion been unacceptable and we have called on the UK Government to address the problem as a matter of urgency."

A Home Office spokeswoman added: "Our utmost priority is protecting the safety and health of the public and we will never compromise on security, and on ensuring passengers are compliant with the current health measures, which means passengers will need to accept an increase in the time taken to cross the border.

"The rollout of upgrades to our eGates to automate checks for health requirements is ongoing, with many eGates already in operation and more to be added over the coming months to increase automated checks on passengers at airports.

"However, for safeguarding reasons families with children under the age of 12 are not permitted to use the eGates.

"Where there are high volumes of families with young children, such as over the summer holidays, Border Force may dynamically deploy resources to frontline desks instead and we continue to flexibly deploy our staff to make the process as smooth as possible."