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Severe Delays At Heathrow Airport As Families Stuck In Passport Control Queues For Hours

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Severe Delays At Heathrow Airport As Families Stuck In Passport Control Queues For Hours

Footage from Heathrow Airport shows chaotic scenes at the UK border, with visitors and returning holidaymakers reporting queues lasting in excess of 'two hours' to get through passport control.

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Arrivals at the major London airport have faced severe delays this week as passengers pass through immigration checks.

Yesterday (3 September), one person shared a video on Twitter, writing: "What the heck do UK Border Control think they are playing at? Told to expect minimum 2 hour queue to clear passport control at Heathrow! Shameful."

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On Monday (30 August), another traveller went through a similar experience, saying: "2 hours to get through passport control if you have kids under 12 - 2 mins to get through if you don't! Never seen so many sad, unhappy and crying children!"

Children under 12 are unable to use the airport's eGates, worsening the delays for families with young children.

Credit: Twitter/@KirstenLowe1
Credit: Twitter/@KirstenLowe1

The previous Saturday (28 August), a third also posted: "Come on Heathrow Terminal 5. Open the E gates if you haven't enough staff at border control. Took over two hours to get through..."

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Another person claimed yesterday there were 'people collapsing in Terminal 5 Arrivals' due to 'overcrowding and no ventilation', adding sarcastically: "Some Covid secure measures..."

In a stock response on Twitter, Heathrow Airport has told various travellers: "Border Force is currently experiencing some delays as they conduct Health Measure Checks to ensure passenger compliance with the UK Government's latest entry requirements.

"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."

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It has also since blamed 'too few Border Force officers' for the issue, saying it expects an improvement on the service in the coming days.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

A spokesperson for Heathrow told LADbible: "We are very sorry that passengers faced unacceptable queueing times in immigration last night due to too few Border Force officers on duty.

"Border Force were aware of the extra demand from families and we were very disappointed that they did not provide sufficient resource.

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"Additional Heathrow colleagues supported in managing queues and handed out passenger welfare including water, but we need every immigration desk to be staffed at peak times.

"We have escalated this with Border Force and expect them to provide a better service over the remainder of the weekend."

Earlier this week, the Home Office said people must 'accept' that the process will take longer - saying this is due in part to under 12s being unable to use the eGates at passport control.

Credit: Twitter/@Welshbird11
Credit: Twitter/@Welshbird11
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A spokesperson said: "Our utmost priority is protecting the safety and health of the public and we will never compromise on security, and on ensuring passengers are compliant with the current health measures, which means passengers will need to accept an increase in the time taken to cross the border.

"The rollout of upgrades to our eGates to automate checks for health requirements is ongoing, with many eGates already in operation and more to be added over the coming months to increase automated checks on passengers at airports.

"However, for safeguarding reasons families with children under the age of 12 are not permitted to use the eGates.

"Where there are high volumes of families with young children, such as over the summer holidays, Border Force may dynamically deploy resources to frontline desks instead and we continue to flexibly deploy our staff to make the process as smooth as possible."

LADbible has contacted Heathrow Airport and the Home Office for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@Welshbird11

Topics: UK News, Airport, News, holidays, travel

Jess Hardiman
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