Travellers posted photographs of the massive lines on social media, with one politician claiming to have been stuck in a quarter-mile-long line.
MP Liam Byrne also mentioned that similar concerns had occurred at Stansted airport. Images of huge lines first surfaced on Saturday, and the problem appears to have persisted intermittently until today.
One vacationer described the never-ending lines as “soul-crushing,” while others noted that the elderly were among those who endured hours of agony as they waited their turn to pass through. It comes only days after all Covid requirements for visitors to the UK were repealed, removing the need for passenger locator forms and Covid testing for people entering the country.
One Twitter user said: “The immigration queues at Heathrow Airport are once again a nightmare with passengers (including a few elderly) on their feet for hours. Will this structural issue at the #borderforce ever be properly addressed?”
Another Twitter user said: “Worst queue I have ever seen at any airport at Terminal 5 – seems over 100m long just to get to the main immigration area where there will be more queuing. What is going on?”
Meanwhile, Tory Lord Benyon tweeted: “In a queue about a quarter of a mile long at Heathrow. No one telling us about what the problem is. No staff on hand at all.
“Welcome to Britain.” He later added: “Is anyone from [British Airways or Heathrow Airport] or border force going to tell the thousands queueing at Terminal 5 anything? “I am embarrassed that for so many this is the first experience of the UK, Shambles.”
Heathrow responded to disgruntled passengers on Twitter, saying, “We are aware of longer immigration delays due to the increase in passengers. Border Force is working tirelessly to process travellers. Thank you for your understanding.”
In response to concerns, Stansted stated that it would “share all feedback with the Home Office’s Border Force, who handle the Immigration procedure,” and that it would “work with them to ensure that passengers have the best possible experience moving forward.”
According to the Mail, a Heathrow representative said, “We are now experiencing minor delays processing travellers through the UK border in T5. Our teams are on hand to assist travellers in immigration halls, and we are collaborating with Border Force to settle the situation as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.”
Many disgruntled passengers claimed it was the “worst queue” they had “ever seen at any airport,” with Terminal 5 being singled out for exorbitant wait times. Heathrow said it was aware of the issues that customers were experiencing and blamed them on an ‘increase of passengers’ that Border Force agents were attempting to process.
The current airport collapse comes after complications with baggage recovery over the weekend led several passengers to leave without their belongings. British Airways had either cancelled or delayed at least 25 flights due to ‘operational concerns.’ The ongoing upheaval follows the government’s March 18 repeal of remaining travel prohibitions, which was anticipated to pave the way for a return to hassle-free vacations.
From March 18, the government repealed all remaining coronavirus travel restrictions, opening the path for hassle-free vacations to return. It implies that passenger locator forms and Covid tests are no longer required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, just in time for the Easter break.
The requirement for everyone at Heathrow to wear masks was also dropped. The move marked the end of two years of fluctuating international travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
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