Bank holiday travel chaos as electronic passport gates stop working at UK airports

Travellers confronted chaos on Saturday after the passport e-gate system at UK airports failed, inflicting prolonged delays as the financial institution holiday getaway kicked off.

Disgruntled travellers took to social media after some spent a number of hours ready at airports, together with Heathrow and Gatwick, as arrivals wanted to have their passports checked by hand slightly than the automated machines.

The issues got here as hundreds of thousands are anticipated to take to the roads and public transport this weekend, with some prolonged queues already impacting travellers at the Port of Dover.

People queue at arrivals at Heathrow airport in London on Saturday


One particular person arriving at Heathrow posted on Twitter: “Just landed to scenes of utter chaos. 2 hour queues just to get to the real queue. Gates broken.”

Another passenger at Gatwick described the scenario as an “utter joke”.

Chris O’Hara posted on Twitter: “2am, Gatwick North Terminal passport control. Unbelievable. Welcome to modern Britain. And of course the aircon is shut down so it’s stiflingly hot.”

A Gatwick airport spokesperson stated the issue began on Friday night however queues had eased on Saturday morning.

He stated: “Some passengers could expertise delays at immigration attributable to a nationwide concern with UK Border Force e-gates.

“Our employees are working with UK Border Force – who function passport management together with the e-gates – to offer help to passengers the place needed.”

Heathrow airport posted on Twitter: “We are conscious of a nationwide concern impacting the eGates, that are operated by Border Force.

“This concern is impacting numerous ports of entry and isn’t Heathrow particular.

Passengers queue for ferries at the Port of Dover in Kent as the getaway for half time period and the financial institution holiday weekend continues


“Our groups are working carefully with Border Force to assist resolve the issue as rapidly as doable and we’ve got extra colleagues available to handle queues and supply passenger welfare. We apologise for any influence that is having to passenger journeys.”

A Home Office spokesperson stated that the Border Force had put in place “robust plans” to deploy officers to minimise disruption and wait occasions.

The automated e-gate system is out there for British residents aged over 12 and people from the EU, as effectively as folks from a number of different nations together with Australia, Canada, the US, Japan and New Zealand.

The spokesperson stated on Saturday night the issue had been resolved, including: “Following a technical border system fault which affected e-gate arrivals into the UK, we are able to affirm all e-gates at the moment are working as regular.

Passengers queue at Gatwick on Saturday


“We thank these travellers who had been impacted for his or her endurance and employees for his or her work in resolving the difficulty.”

The issues come after British Airways needed to cancel 175 flights following an IT failure on Thursday and Friday.

Most of the affected flights had been on short-haul routes to and from Heathrow airport.

British Airways stated the “technical issue” was resolved on Thursday night time, however disruption continued into Friday due to plane and crew being out of place.

Friday was anticipated to see essentially the most departures from UK airports since 20 December 2019, with greater than 3,000 flights deliberate.

People benefit from the sunny climate at a park in London over the financial institution holiday weekend


Meanwhile, lengthy queues have been skilled at Dover which has additionally skilled IT issues.

The Port of Dover posted on Twitter: “Thank you for your patience as we catch up from earlier IT issues at border control, which have been resolved. Traffic now processing well through border. Average waiting times for cars and coaches now 90 mins.”

The RAC estimated that drivers throughout the UK will embark on 19.2 million leisure automotive journeys between Friday and Monday making it the busiest late May financial institution holiday since 2019.

Transport knowledge firm Inrix warned that journeys on some stretches of the M25 will take as much as thrice longer than regular.

They embody clockwise from Junction 23 for Hatfield to Junction 28 for Chelmsford, and anticlockwise in the direction of the Dartford Crossing.

Long delays are additionally anticipated on the M5 in Somerset and the M6 in Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, stated: “With close to record-breaking travellers anticipated to be on the street for the financial institution holiday, drivers ought to count on lengthy delays, particularly in and round main cities, as commuters combine with holiday travellers.

“On common, INRIX predicts travel occasions might be practically 30 per cent longer than regular. Knowing when and the place congestion will construct will help drivers keep away from the stress of sitting in site visitors. Our recommendation is to keep away from driving throughout peak hours or use various routes.”

Additional reporting by PA

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