Frustrating Heathrow scenes are showing what happens when demand for travel surges from a little to a lot, without adequate transit facilities.
Numerous travellers returning to the UK have taken to Twitter to blast the airport, and authorities, for allowing such chaos to occur, citing long wait times and fears of a giant super spreading event as their concerns.
Twitter user (and, it seems, returning traveller) Can Papuççuoğlu wrote of the scenes: “It took 3,5 hours to get through the passport control queue in Heathrow Terminal 2 today @BBCWorld with a sign that says: Keep your social distance! British sense of humor or lack of planning?”
Take a look at the wild scenes at Heathrow airport in the video below.
According to The Mirror, the airport said it was experiencing “some delays” as a result of having to conduct health checks – despite those measures having been a requirement for months now.
The Mirror also reported: “Brits have been given the most freedom in 18 months to travel abroad, as the UK deals with the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Briatin has seen huge numbers of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, with many residents concerned the situation will now get worse coming into winter.
@HeathrowAirport @British_Airways Welcome back to air travel and Heathrow T5 is a disgrace. Queue management negligible. Few staff. No communication. No common sense being used. pic.twitter.com/3vNHnzubK7
— Stuart Rock (@stuart_rock) October 21, 2021
This is not the first time there has been Chaos at Heathrow. Last month there was a “human logjam” thanks to the e-gates not working.
Massive queues as e-gates go down at Heathrow and other airports around the UK | Science & Tech News – https://t.co/5jWRLWAcJi
A “human logjam” has formed at Heathrow as crowds of people struggle to get through customs after e-gates failed.
The unspecified tech proble… pic.twitter.com/gSRfDcVvJB
— Eric Thompson (@isearch247) September 24, 2021
Heathrow chaos: Huge crowds overwhelm understaffed airport – Heathrow chaos: Huge crowds overwhelm understaffed airport Sunday, September 5th 2021 – 06:53 UTC Full article Prepare for lines… – https://t.co/T9M141PRhz pic.twitter.com/Etll35UsjN
— Refess.com (@Refess) September 5, 2021
In January, there were long waits too.
“Shut it down!” journalist Matthew Wright wrote on Twitter in January.
Shut it down!
COVID-19: Crowds at Heathrow Airport spark social distancing concerns https://t.co/RUXzB0KsY7
— Matthew Wright (@Matthew_Wright) January 23, 2021
“You should be ashamed,” Twitter user Kevin Pascoe tweeted, also in January.
Britain’s labour government called the big crowds “incredibly worrying.”
The delays have been put down, at various moments, to understaffing, staff calling in sick (or exhausted) after being asked to work longer hours (leading to a viscous cyle of even fewer staff available for even more hours) and e-gate issues.
Some people have even suggested there is another element to Britain’s soaring case numbers – attitude.
In response to the BBC asking “could it be that our variant being more transmissible explains why we have much higher rates than in the EU?”, journalist Alex Taylor wrote on October the 19th: “I went Paris/Lyon and back yesterday. 1 200km and didn’t see a single person without a mask in either the métro or the train. Maybe more that?”
Back from Spain after 3 months and horrified no masks tho highest infection rates in the world. Spain wear outside even though now not mandated. Last place saw masks Heathrow terminal 5 where the kettle every arrival for 2 hours pic.twitter.com/jrFwJwi051
— Maria Montgomery (@MariaMo32975161) October 19, 2021
Another frustrated Twitter user wrote: “I’ve often said that if ever they give the UK an enema, Heathrow is where they’ll stick the tube.”
Yes I’ve often said that if ever they give the UK an enema, Heathrow is where they’ll stick the tube
— Bryan Moores (@mooresbryan1) October 23, 2021
Well, there you have it: that’s not something you see – or hear – every day.