Travel shambles at Manchester and Birmingham airports as platinum jubilee weekend begins

Passengers report waiting times of up to three hours at security

Passengers queue for check-in outside Terminal 1 at Manchester Airport. Reuters
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Passengers arriving at Manchester and Birmingham airports on Thursday morning were stuck in long queues for check-in and security as the four-day platinum jubilee bank holiday weekend sparked a rush for overseas travel from the UK.

After days of extended waiting times and chaotic scenes at airports in Europe, the long weekend began with yet more setbacks for travellers in Britain.

The extended weekend to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee, which coincides with a half-term school holiday, has created a surge in demand for travel.

Frustrated passengers took to Twitter to demand action from airport staff, branding the scenes “a joke”.

About 400 flights to and from Manchester have been cancelled over the past week as the industry struggles to cope with rising demand.

Travel company Tui has pulled six flights a day from its schedule in Manchester until the end of this month.

One passenger, Mark Stead, tweeted a photo showing long queues of people waiting to pass through security at Manchester’s Terminal 2 on Thursday morning. He said he had spent 50 minutes in a queue and was “still nowhere near” the front.

He said only four security belts were working. “Get your act together. What a joke,” he said.

Mark Crawford also said there appeared to be only four out of 20 security belts in operation and said he was caught up in "massive queues for bag drop".

"It's a shambles!" he said.

Another Twitter user shared a picture showing dozens of people queueing in an underground car park for Terminal 3 at Manchester Airport.

They captioned the image: “Queuing in the car park for the security at Manchester Airport terminal 3. Fun!”

And Jack Pearson posted a picture of a packed Terminal 2, saying it had taken him two hours to pass through security “after being told our Tui flight to Cancun was delayed [by] six hours”.

A spokeswoman for Manchester Airport said the majority of passengers were clearing security in less than half an hour, but said it was taking up to 90 minutes during peaks.

There were similar reports from passengers at Birmingham Airport.

One man who called himself Mr Logue on Twitter said he had “waded through the 75-minute security queue at Birmingham Airport” before boarding his flight.

“Our Ryanair plane had to wait for assistance from previous flight to get [passengers] off … now I’m on the plane, there’s no push back crew,” he tweeted. “Utter shambles!”

Chris Jones tweeted a photo showing long queues for security at Birmingham, warning his fellow passengers to prepare for longer-than-usual waiting times.

“Anybody travelling from Birmingham Airport today, get here early,” he wrote, and warned of lengthy queues for security.

A woman who had booked an early morning flight from Birmingham said she “had to run” to make it after queueing for hours.

“Safe to say Birmingham Airport queues are wild,” she tweeted. “It took us three hours and we ended up being pulled out of security because we were going to miss our flight.”

Updated: June 02, 2022, 7:51 PM