Heathrow airport chaos as babies and pregnant women ‘left to queue for five hours’ after not being able to use eGates.
Families with babies and pregnant women, and OAPs and were among those reportedly forced to queue for up to five hours at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Furious holidaymakers faced a fifth day of chaos amid continuing issues with eGates and a lack of staff at Europe’s busiest airport. Brits claim they were crammed into hallways with no social distancing and made to walk long distances as shuttles weren’t available.
After spending 3 weeks in the UK for an essential trip, the chaos at #Heathrow to get a rapid test to return home to the #netherlands @HeathrowAirport #COVID19 @KLM @grantshapps pic.twitter.com/ZKrSiawpYA
— Ross (@RossShepherd) January 17, 2021
The Home Office, which has blamed understaffing, denied claims of five-hour queues. To the anger of travellers who were at the airport, one official said the longest delay at Terminal 5 yesterday was an hour and 15 minutes.
However, tourists returning home say the disruption at immigration caused ‘ridiculous’ delays into the early hours of the morning yesterday.
And the mayhem worsened because families with children under 12 can’t use eGates – causing havoc for people returning from their first holidays abroad since lockdown.
Passengers took to social media to claim they were “stranded” in poorly ventilated hallways with no access to water or toilets. One passenger wrote on Twitter: “Families with children, pregnant ladies and old folks – everyone had to wait. “Is that human?”
Travel firms have continuously warned that the queues are damaging the appeal of breaks in the UK, while many Tory MPs have joined the backlash against continuing border chaos at the airport.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith warning that the crowded airport terminals could even lead to the spread of coronavirus.
He told MailOnline: “We are going to achieve the worst of all worlds by having people close together who may have Covid.
“The whole thing is chaotic and we still haven’t fully opened up yet. We don’t seem to have a plan for how we are going to manage that. If it carries on like this Heathrow will cease to be a hub airport and Britain will be left in the backwash as an irrelevant country.”
Mr Duncan-Smith added thatthe UK needed to “get on with things” and end the “madness” as the majority of the population have now been jabbed.
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