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Travellers face ‘utter chaos’ after passport e-gates stop working across all UK airports

Travellers face ‘utter chaos’ after passport e-gates stop working across all UK airports

Travellers have described the long waiting times at a number of airports including Heathrow and Gatwick.

Travellers arriving at UK airports this bank holiday weekend have been met with ‘scenes of utter chaos’ after passport e-gate systems went down nationwide.

The glitch has meant that people arriving at busy airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, must wait hours to have their documents checked by hand.

There’s never a perfect time for tech problems to arrive, however the passport e-gate system failure could not have come at a worse time.

Millions are expected to travel this weekend for the long bank holiday weekend and half term holiday for school children.

All British citizens aged over 12 can use the automated e-gate system - when it’s working - plus those from the EU, as well as people from several other countries including Australia, Canada, the US, Japan and New Zealand.

Passengers must queue until their documents are checked by hand.

Naturally, people have taken to social media to complain about the massive queues lasting several hours as the automated machine system is out of service.

Let’s face it, no holidaymaker wants to be stuck in a queue for hours especially during the soaring 22C temperatures this weekend.

One traveller 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 situation as an 'utter joke'.

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said the problem started on Friday evening (26 May) but queues had eased on Saturday morning (27 May).

Travellers arriving must endure long queues because of the glitch.

“Some passengers may experience delays at immigration due to a nationwide issue with UK Border Force e-gates,” the spokesperson said.

“Our staff are working with UK Border Force – who operate passport control including the e-gates – to provide assistance to passengers where necessary.”

Heathrow Airport posted on Twitter to clarify that the issue is not specific to their airport.

It said in a statement: “We are aware of a nationwide issue impacting the e-gates, which are operated by Border Force.

“This issue is impacting a number of ports of entry and is not Heathrow specific.

Passengers arriving at major UK airports are facing delays.
Alamy Live News

“Our teams are working closely with Border Force to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible and we have additional colleagues on hand to manage queues and provide passenger welfare. We apologise for any impact this is having to passenger journeys.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said that the Border Force had put in place 'robust plans' to deploy officers to minimise disruption and wait times.

“We are aware of a nationwide border system issue affecting arrivals into the UK,” the spokeswoman said.

“We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and are liaising with port operators and airlines to minimise disruption for travellers.”

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@ivanconinx/Alamy Live News

Topics: News, UK News, Travel