United Kingdom

Heathrow Airport CHAOS as 'thousands' of passengers are stuck in three-hour queues

Documentary maker Louis Theroux was among thousands of passengers caught up in travel chaos today after an IT failure caused chaos across Britain's major airports. 

Passengers arriving into Heathrow Airport this morning faced scenes of total chaos and fumed over queues of people into the thousands, claiming the airport had a 'total lack of respect for travellers'. 

Queues of three hours were reported this morning, with very little signs of social distancing.

The delays have also caused a backlog at baggage collection, meaning some people have had to search through groups of luggage packed together in-between the operating carousels. 

The chaos is being caused by an IT outage at the airport leaving hundreds stranded in the underpass at Terminal 2.

Heathrow spokesperson said a systems failure affected the e-gates, which are staffed and operated by Border Force. 

Disgruntled passengers took to social media to share their frustrations with one claiming queues for immigration checks were 'one kilometer' long. 

Travel industry experts have repeatedly warned the chaotic scenes seen in the wake of the country reopening are blighting the UK's global reputation, while running the risk of a spike in Covid cases – further jeopardising the already crisis-hit tourism sector. 

Tory MPs have demanded answers from the head of Border Force over the Heathrow queuing scandal seen in recent months but Paul Lincoln, the agency's director general, has not commented publicly on the issue in recent weeks. 

Documentary maker Louis Theroux was among the passengers caught up in the chaos this afternoon 

Passengers have been queuing for three hours this morning at Border Control with Heathrow Airport admitting that wait times are at 'unacceptable levels' via its Twitter account. Young families have been hit worst because they can't use e-gates

Passengers queue in their 'thousands' with minimal social distancing at border control, as they wait to prove their Covid travel status before entering the UK. Some have counted just six processing officers and several closed customer counters

Due to the extensive queues, masses of luggage has been grouped together for people to sift through once they've made it through the border control as the baggage handlers try to keep up with the constant stream of inbound flights to Heathrow

A Heathrow spokesperson said: 'We are aware of a systems failure impacting the e-gates, which are staffed and operated by Border Force. This issue is impacting a number of ports of entry and is not an isolated issue at Heathrow. Our teams are working closely with Border Force to find a solution as quickly as possible.'

Disgruntled passengers took to social media to share their frustrations with one claiming queues for immigration checks were 'one kilometer' long. 

Another traveller said their delayed arrival to the UK began before border control, with a 30-minute delay for a bus transfer from the aircraft.

Whilst a third arrival claimed she'd been waiting for 2.5 hours at Heathrow, compared to the 5 seconds it took her to pass through passport control at Dubai airport.

The news comes amidst continuing chaos at airports due to Covid travel rules and reported staff shortages for UK Border Control. 

Twitter has been awash with comments and criticisms directed at Heathrow and Border Control as passengers are forced to queue for three hours. One passenger claimed that the queue stretched for a kilometer  

As a result, some families have been worst hit because they are unable to use the passport e-gates.

Heathrow Airport has responded to travellers on Twitter this morning saying: 'Queue times are at unacceptable levels. Border Force are working to process passengers and we have called on the UK Government to address the problem as a matter of urgency, we do appreciate your patience.' 

They added: 'Whilst we do not have exact figures out how long queues can take our teams in the terminals are on hand to support where possible and we are working with Border Force to reduce delays as soon as possible'.  

MailOnline has contacted the Home Office for comment. 

What are the new travel rules from October 4 and how do they compare to the current traffic light system? 

As of October 4, the Government's travel traffic light system is being replaced with a simplified two-tier 'go/no-go' scheme. 

There will be a 'red list' of banned countries and a 'rest of the world' list for everywhere else. 

Travel from the 'rest of the world' if you are fully vaccinated

Travellers must book and pay for a day two coronavirus test to be taken after arriving back in England.

They do not need to take a pre-departure test before coming back to the country or take a day eight test. There is no quarantine requirement – assuming the day two test is negative.

Travel from the 'rest of the world' if you are not fully vaccinated

Travellers must take a pre-departure coronavirus test before coming back to England. 

They must also book and pay for a day two and day eight test. 

After arriving in England they must quarantine at home for 10 days.

Travel from red list countries

Normal travel from these countries remains banned and only UK nationals can return from them.

Travellers must take a pre-departure test. They must also book and pay for a Government-backed quarantine hotel package.

The stay in hotel quarantine will cost more than £2,000 and will involve two tests.

The 'red list' rules apply regardless of vaccination status. 


RED: Travel to the UK from a red list country is banned for non-UK nationals. Britons returning to the UK must take a pre-departure test and book a ten-day stay in hotel quarantine including tests at a cost of £1,750. Countries include Brazil, Turkey, Bangladesh and South Africa.

AMBER: A pre-departure test is required before heading to Britain while non-vaccinated people have to quarantine for ten days at home and book tests on day two and day 8. They can also pay for a day 5 test under the 'test to release' scheme. The fully-vaccinated do not have to isolate but they do have to book a day 2 test.  Countries include Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. 

GREEN WATCHLIST: This is a category for countries which are at risk of losing their green status (see below). Countries include Barbados, Croatia and Israel.

GREEN: Returning travellers must take a pre-departure test and book a day two test as well. Quarantine is not required for anyone unless the test is positive. Countries include Bulgaria, Canada , Iceland and Malta.

British Airways SCRAPS plans for short-haul budget airline subsidiary operating from Gatwick after talks collapsed over pilots' pay

By Stewart Carr for MailOnline

British Airways' plans to launch a short-haul budget airline subsidiary at Gatwick Airport have been scrapped after it failed to reach an agreement over pilots' contracts.

The airline had planned for the new business to have up to 17 Airbus A320 aircraft based at Gatwick in summer 2022, with more added in line with demand over the following three to four years. 

But after initially securing support from the pilots' union Balpa, talks broke down over pay - leading BA to abandon its project, which depended on its running costs to be 'viable and sustainable'.

British Airways had planned 17 aircraft to helm its low-budget subsidiary operation at Gatwick Airport, but talks have broken down with union Balpa over pilots' pay

A spokeswoman for the airline said it was 'disappointed' it could not secure a deal with trade union Balpa.

She said: 'After many years of losing money on European flights from the airport, we were clear that coming out of the pandemic, we needed a plan to make Gatwick profitable and competitive.

'With regret, we will now suspend our short-haul operations at Gatwick, with the exception of a small number of domestic services connecting to our long-haul operation, and will pursue alternative uses for the London Gatwick short-haul slots.'

Potential uses for the now-empty slots include selling them to rivals such as easyJet or Wizz Air, or offering them to partner airline Vueling.

The vast majority of British Airways' short-haul flights from the West Sussex airport have been suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

In an email to staff, the airline's chief operating officer Jason Mahoney wrote that the terms offered to Balpa were 'the best that could be achieved in order to create a viable and sustainable operation at London Gatwick', but the union has chosen not to continue with a ballot of its members on the issue.

Mr Mahoney added that the resumption of short-haul flights at Gatwick in summer 2022 would have been 'good for our business as we try to recover and pay back the debts that the pandemic has necessitated'.

BA's short-haul slots at Gatwick could be sold to rivals such as easyJet and Wizz Air, or offered to partner airline Vueling

Balpa acting general secretary Martin Chalk said: 'Despite our best efforts Balpa was unable to reach an agreement with British Airways on revised terms and conditions for London Gatwick short-haul that was acceptable to our members.

'The company has informed us it is now pulling out of London Gatwick short-haul and considering what to do with its London Gatwick slots.

'Balpa remains open to future negotiations with British Airways to address our members' concerns with the proposal for London Gatwick short-haul or about any other part of the business.'

Heathrow's summer of queuing chaos: So when WILL the government get a grip? 

May 17 - Passengers flying into the UK faced 'bedlam' at the border with some facing a three hour wait at the Heathrow passport gates. Travellers told MailOnline how they were 'terrified of catching Covid' while being crammed into the airport's border hall this morning.

July 12 - Passengers said they had 'never seen anything like' the queues at Heathrow Terminal 5 as officials blamed the scenes on staff having to self-isolate. A passenger said: 'Total chaos at security at Heathrow airport T5 this morning. Never seen anything like it.' 

July 20 - 90-minute queues were seen at arrivals after the government failed to update Passenger Locator Forms ahead of its 'Freedom Day' rule changes - resulting in double-jabbed Britons being rejected at e-gates.  

August 2 - Queues of passengers stretched the entire length of Terminal 5. Officials again blamed staff having to self-isolate. A spokesman quoted figures showing that one in four Border Force guards were reported to be off sick with Covid or self-isolating. 

August 29 - Three-hour waits were reported at passport control. A day later the Home Office risked fury as it said passengers 'need to accept' the risk of delays at peak times. 

September 24 - 'Thousands' forced to wait in three hour queues for UK Border Control as passengers lament Heathrow's 'lack of respect' towards travellers.

Football news:

Porto winger Luis Diaz is Interesting to Chelsea, Bayern, Real Madrid, Newcastle. Compensation - 80 million euros
Cristiano Ronaldo: My role in the team is to score goals and help with experience. I like to make people happy
Arteta pro 3-1 with Aston Villa: Happy with how Arsenal dominated. That's how we should play
Ole Gunnar Sulscher: I enjoy coaching at Manchester United and life
Patrice Evra: I want to understand where racists come from. They are not born. Perhaps these people are traumatized
The Saint-Etienne match started an hour later due to protesting fans. They threw flares and burned holes in the goal net
Pope Francis thanked Messi for the autographed PSG T-shirt