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Heathrow hell: Airport apologizes for ‘queuing’ at passport control and ‘waiting’ to pick up luggage

Outraged passengers have criticized Heathrow for huge queues and delays in bag collection as chaos returns to Britain’s busiest airport.

Furious travelers gave their hearts to the ‘mess’ caused by interoperating lines and reportedly a lack of workers this morning as they tried to catch their flights.

Some said people queued for hours so hot that they had taken off their masks and risked spraying Covid on other customers.

Heathrow admitted immigration queues were “longer”, but added that staff were “working hard to process passengers”.

It comes just weeks after faulty e-gates led to a horrific backlog at the airport, with hundreds of people waiting for up to four hours.

Rude travelers spoke out this morning about the cooperating lines and a lack of workers as they tried to catch their flights

Some said people queued for hours so hot they had taken off their masks and risked spraying Covid on other customers

Some said people queued for hours so hot they had taken off their masks and risked spraying Covid on other customers

Are YOU stuck in long lines at Heathrow?

Email james.gant@mailonline.co.uk

One man said online: ‘@HeathrowAirport please send more agents to the immigration desks here.’

Heathrow replied: ‘We are aware of longer immigration queues at the moment, Border Force is working hard to process passengers. Thanks for your patience.’

Another posted: ‘Hey @HeathrowAirport @British_Airways when are you going to drop off BA172 from JFK? Flight landed at 0836 and arrived at 0846.’

The airport replied: ‘We are sorry to hear about the long wait. The baggage handlers are working hard to process passengers’ baggage.’

Valentina Pena said: ‘@HeathrowAirport what happened to improving border agents’ staff after the September debacle?

“I’ve been standing in line for over an hour, with several passengers starting to take off their masks around me. Your lack of staff creates a serious Covid risk in T5.”

Heathrow commented: ‘We are aware of longer immigration queues at the moment, Border Force is working hard to process passengers.

“We are sorry to hear that passengers are taking off their masks. While we understand that some passengers and colleagues may not be able to wear face coverings, we expect everyone to wear these whenever possible.”

But she hit back: ‘Unfortunately, it seems that people are removing their face coverings out of boredom/frustration of standing in line for almost 2 hours with little progress. If waiting times can’t be improved, is there at least a way to enforce your own policy?’

The airport said: ‘Heathrow staff will enforce applicable rules, including wearing face masks where possible.’

Paul Johnson said: ‘@HeathrowAirport bags have been delivered as status for 15 minutes now and there is no sign of it. Is this junk normal?’

The company replied: ‘We are sorry to hear about the longer wait times for your luggage. Please contact your airline if you are concerned about the status of your baggage.’

Peter Martin said ‘@HeathrowAirport what’s happening in the parking lot, try to get out, on level 3 and haven’t moved for 30 minutes!!!!!!’

Another wrote: ‘Why can’t we leave the T3 short-term parking lot? We haven’t moved in 15 minutes?’ And someone else added: ‘Added to T3 Short Stay for a PCR test so I can travel… queued for nearly an hour to find a parking spot… what’s going on?! ‘

Heathrow said: ‘We are sorry to hear about the delay. If you are concerned about the current situation, please contact the traffic controllers who will be in the car park.’

It added: “We are currently experiencing delays in our car parks. Our teams are working hard to let passengers through the barriers, we apologize for any inconvenience.’

Ramya Mure added: ‘Had the worst experience at @HeathrowAirport with TSA today. They were rude and wouldn’t let me carry most of my toiletries even though they were under 100ml because they didn’t fit in a small pouch. Most other airports don’t seem to care and the staff are courteous. Very disappointed.’

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The photos show tall crowds gathering in cramped corridors as they waited at the airport to be processed this morning.

Others showed a stream of passengers – usually with face coverings – marching past the escape gates as they tried to get to their planes.

Today’s chaos was reportedly caused by “logistics issues” leading to wait times of up to an hour to pick up luggage.

A Heathrow spokesperson said it was not an “infrastructure problem on our part” and pointed to the airline’s handlers. British Airways has been contacted for comment.

Last month, Heathrow was gripped by border treason when hundreds of furious travelers had to wait up to four hours to arrive at Terminals 3 and 5.

The huge queues were sparked by a crash of e-gates, the second time in two weeks. Passengers estimate that more than a thousand people were waiting at the immigration center.

Heathrow said at the time that the e-gates were failing because of a “national system-wide problem.” The airport even seemed to blame Border Force, as their staff managed the e-gates in ports across the country.

Earlier this week, British Airways owner threatened to pull out of Heathrow over the airport’s plans to raise fares and soar the cost of family vacations.

The warning shot was fired by Luis Gallego, CEO of BA owner IAG, over Heathrow’s plans to raise passenger charges by up to 76 percent.

It would see them rise from the current £19.60 to a maximum of £34.40, potentially adding £75 to the cost of an overseas holiday for a family of five. The costs are passed on to airlines, but usually passed on to the passengers.

Mr Gallego said the rates charged by the UK’s largest airport are already among the highest in the world and that IAG would ‘reconsider’ using Heathrow if the planned increase goes through.

He predicted that other airlines could also stop services to and from the UK’s largest airport.

He said: ‘Heathrow is getting more and more expensive for airlines to use. It is already 44 percent more expensive than its European competitors.

“It has one of the highest landing rights of any airport in the world. And now operators can face a [more than] 50 percent increase in fees… A decision that would make the UK less competitive, not more.”

Earlier this week, British Airways owner threatened to pull out of Heathrow over airport plans to raise costs and skyrocket the cost of family vacations (file photo)

Earlier this week, British Airways owner threatened to pull out of Heathrow over airport plans to raise costs and skyrocket the cost of family vacations (file photo)

He added: ‘Heathrow’s leadership position is not inevitable. The reality is that over 40 percent of people using Heathrow are connecting passengers.

“They are just passing through, on their way to other destinations, and could easily go through other more competitive hubs.

“Walking doesn’t help. It won’t attract any question. It will have the opposite effect.

“And if the landing fees continue to rise, I know IAG wouldn’t be alone in reconsidering our airlines’ use of Heathrow as a port.”

BA is one of the few airlines to use Heathrow’s Terminal 5 exclusively.

But it plans to start up a new unit offering European flights from London Gatwick in March next year.

Mr Gallego spoke at an industry summit hosted by Airlines UK, which represents all major UK airlines.

Former BA chief Willie Walsh, who heads the International Air Transport Association trade group, said Heathrow would “shoot itself in the foot” if passenger tariffs rise.

“If we push the charge to such a high level, it will just push people away from Heathrow,” he added.

Heathrow’s seven billionaire owners include the sovereign wealth funds of Qatar, Singapore and China.

It has paid out around £4 billion in dividends since 2012 and has said it could resume payouts next year, after pausing amid the pandemic, if its debts come under control. Heathrow bases its fares on the numbers using the airport.

It expects about 40 million passengers next year, compared to 80 million before the pandemic, and said that means each passenger will have to pay more to cover the shortfall.

The airport’s desire to increase fares is subject to an assessment by the Civil Aviation Authority, which will decide whether the increase can go ahead next year.

Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, said Heathrow’s proposed fare increase would jeopardize the viability of the expansion project.

But Heathrow hit back last night, accusing airlines of raising air fares before Christmas, with 2021 bookings hitting pre-pandemic levels now that most foreign travel restrictions have been lifted.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: ‘An increase in airport charges by £10 to £15 is not comparable to pushing economy class tickets to the US to over £2,000 this Christmas, which is what some airlines are doing.

“It is true that Heathrow is proposing a higher pandemic price increase than continental airports, but we are not state-owned and have not received billions in state aid during the crisis – we are completely dependent on private investment.

“Heathrow passengers want a reliable, quality experience. The higher levy will allow us to make important investments over the next five years to protect passenger traffic.’

  • Are YOU stuck in long lines at Heathrow? Email james.gant@mailonline.co.uk

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