Chaos at UK airports as Border Force systems down nationwide with arrivals forced to wait in 'mother of all queues'

27 May 2023, 08:40 | Updated: 27 May 2023, 14:32

An issue with passport control e-gates is affecting airports nationwide
An issue with passport control e-gates is affecting airports nationwide. Picture: social media/handout
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A nationwide border system issue has affected arrivals in the UK ahead of the bank holiday weekend, sparking chaos at multiple airports, the Home Office has confirmed.

It appears the system issue has affected passport e-gates, meaning passengers have to had to wait for manual passport checks.

Around 60-80 per cent of travelling passengers will typically go through e-gates, which varies depending on the airport.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "We are aware of a nationwide border system issue affecting arrivals into the UK.

“We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and are liaising with port operators and airlines to minimise disruption for travellers.”

Social media posts appear to suggest the problem has been affecting passengers since late on Friday night.

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One traveller arriving into Gatwick wrote online: "3 hour delay. Flown to Gatwick instead of Heathrow with no warning and now @Gatwick_Airport can’t process anything."

Another frustrated passenger added: "Total chaos at Gatwick Passport control. Queues of over an hour due to computer gates all unserviceable. Whoever is responsible needs to be fired."

A spokesperson for Gatwick airport said: "Some passengers may experience delays at immigration due to a nationwide issue with UK Border Force e-gates.

"Our staff are working with UK Border Force - who operate passport control including the e-gates - to provide assistance to passengers where necessary."

Meanwhile, Stansted airport reported the same outage, also affect its e-gates.

Read More: 'What the hell is going on?': British Airways IT problems cancel flights as bank holiday travel chaos begins

Read More: Bank Holiday weekend could see hottest day of the year as temperatures set to soar to 24C

It comes after masses of British Airways customers lost out on their bank holiday getaways and thousands of pounds amid travel chaos caused by separate technical difficulties.

Social media has been lit up with complaints from British Airways customers over the last day following a torrent of travel chaos started by unexplained IT issues at BA.

The cancellations, which have now spilled over into its second day, come on the busiest day for UK air travel since 2019 as the bank holiday weekend approaches.

Meanwhile, queues at Dover have been building as Brits prepare for a Bank Holiday getaway with waits as long as 60 minutes expected.

Queues have been building at airports across the UK
Queues have been building at airports across the UK. Picture: Twitter

Roughly 16,000 passengers have been affected by the cancellations at BA, as travel correspondents calculate more than 150 flights have been impacted.

Antony Knights, who was supposed to be flying to Berlin for a weekend away with his wife, was forced to cancel his entire weekend amounting to £1,800 in total.

He told LBC: "My wife and I were due to fly to Berlin from London Heathrow on Thursday for a long weekend and due to return on Monday 29th.

"The trip had been planned since September 2022 to celebrate my wife’s promotion; we were going to see Hans Zimmer on his world tour tonight and spend the rest of the weekend in Berlin.

"We had hired a car and driven from our home town of Plymouth to Heathrow – a journey of ~3.5–4h depending on traffic."

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