Delays and long queues spread beyond Heathrow

The queues have grown with the easing of Covid-related restrictions on international travel

Long queues and delays that have plagued arriving passengers at Heathrow Airport have spread to other UK airports.

Angry passengers reported long lines at the immigration control points at Luton airport, north of London, and in Manchester, in northern England.

Those airports have started to see the same disorderly queues of passengers, largely unmasked and not socially distanced, waiting for hours to get through immigration.

It follows chaotic scenes at Heathrow, the country’s busiest airport, where there were lengthy queues most days last week.

Heathrow blamed Border Force, which ensures arriving passengers have followed Covid rules, and the UK's Home Office said the delays were “unacceptable”.

Anastasia Tolmacova filmed the scene at Luton Airport at 1am on Monday.

“Massive queues at London Luton airport past midnight. Any social distancing is virtually impossible. Why do we have to pay extra for overpriced Covid tests when the situation at the border is so poorly managed?” she said.

A spokesman for Luton Airport said: “We're sorry for any inconvenience caused by additional checks at the UK Border. Border Force is responsible for this part of the journey and we continue to work with them to ensure wait times are reduced as much as possible.”

At Heathrow on Monday, Lisa Simpson said baggage claiming was “chaotic” and long queues could be seen at border control.

“Baggage reclaim seemed chaotic with announcements about wrong belts and the belt we were assigned to was still full of luggage from a [different] flight,” she said.

There were similar scenes at Manchester airport on Sunday, where passengers said a passenger had fainted as the queues built up.

Queues have grown as the UK has eased Covid-related restrictions on international travel for tourists, with most holiday destinations on the country's amber list.

Travellers coming from countries with amber status who have been fully vaccinated with inoculations approved and administered in the UK, EU and US do not have to self-isolate, but must provide a negative Covid-19 test within two days of arrival.

Passengers from countries on the UK's green list have to take a Covid test before and after arriving in the country.

The red list means visitors returning to the UK have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £2,285 ($3,160) per person.

Updated: September 6th 2021, 4:16 PM
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