Frustrated holidaymakers have been left waiting in huge queues across multiple airports this morning amid half-term holiday chaos.
Passengers flying out of Gatwick, Bristol, Manchester and Dublin have all been impacted as travellers said they felt like animals at a zoo.
This week is set to be the busiest for air travel since 2019.
More than 10,000 flights are scheduled to depart during the second half of the week, according to the aviation data firm Cirium.
That’s three times the amount during the same period last year when travel was restricted due to Covid.
Photos show families in lines snaking outside terminal buildings as thousands have missed their flights.
And passengers were snapped sleeping on the floor overnight.
An incoming flight to Gatwick allegedly ran out of fuel and abandoned passengers at Luton, telling them to make their own way to their final destination.
While British Airways customers have been advised to drop off their luggage a day in advance.
There are also reports of empty shelves in the terminal cafes and shops after a hectic weekend in which staff are struggling to stay on top.
Tom Wren SWNS)
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Passengers wary about delays arrived early at Bristol Airport today after pictures emerged of a queue stretching into the car park.
Holidaymaker Sonja Hoffmann, 48, from Cologne, Germany, said she had to help a blind woman find her luggage when she arrived at the airport on Friday.
She told The Mirror: “I left early for the airport today as I was expecting delays.
“On Friday I flew into Bristol from Cologne. Due to a lack of staff we had to wait about an hour for our luggage.
“We were all sitting on the (conveyor) belts because nothing was happening. In one hour we saw one suitcase going around. Some people were stressed with their kids.
“Others made jokes about it like the British do. There was one lady in her 90s who was blind and in a wheelchair. I had to translate to help her find her luggage. She had to describe it.
“It took about two hours in total (to get through luggage collection) because I helped her.”
Ms Hoffmann said Ryanair told her to arrive at Bristol Airport three hours before her 2pm flight back to Cologne today.
A couple from Amsterdam said they also arrived early after experiencing delays last week.
They told The Mirror: “We came four hours early today. We had a bad experience in Amsterdam – it took hours before we got on our KLM flight (to England) on Tuesday.
“There were long queues at the airport.”
A worker at Bristol Airport said the atmosphere was ‘hectic’ earlier today, with a queue stretching out into the car park.
She told The Mirror: “People were disappointed and complaining. The queue was pretty bad.
“Flights were cancelled. Every now and then an announcement would happen saying a flight had been delayed or cancelled.”
Laurie Nathaniel was flying back on easyJet from Santorini to Gatwick when her flight was suddenly diverted to Luton.
Crew said they didn’t have enough fuel to continue as planned due to a delayed touch down slot.
Mark Thomas / i-Images)
Once on the ground, passengers were told their baggage was also late and to find their own way to Gatwick – where it be waiting for them.
On arrival, however, they were told their bags still hadn’t arrived.
Laurie told MailOnline: “The airline just doesn’t sound like it knows what it is doing.
“The air hostesses on the flight were complaining openly about the long hours they have worked and one air hostess openly told passengers she’s handed in her notice.”
It comes as hundreds of flights across the country have been scrapped ahead of the half-term surge – with many would-be holidaymakers told their trips had been axed over text, leaving them in the lurch.
One dad taking his family to celebrate his mum’s 60th in Rhodes, Greece, called the whole thing off when he saw the carnage that awaited them at the airport.
EasyJet announced it would cancel more than 200 flights from Gatwick over the next 10 days, while Tui dished another blow with a “small number” scrapped across other airports.
The Department for Transport has warned roads are “extremely busy” due to an “exceptionally high number” of travellers.
Bristol Airport expects to see around 300,000 people flying in and out over the half-term and Platinum Jubilee period, peaking at over 30,000 a day.
Passengers flying out of the city said more than 1,000 people stood in the 300-metre long queue for departures today.
The airport has asked travellers not to arrive too early – with some getting there five hours before their flight time – as they are only adding to the congestion.
It said it’s hired an extra 300 staff in anticipation of the surge.
It comes a day after it was dubbed a ‘zoo’ as holidaymakers faced hours-long delays and huge queues.
Paul Trueman, who shared a picture of the huge queue at Bristol Airport, tweeted: “Just got to #bristolairport. It’s 5 in the morning and this is the queue for the departure gates.
“That building in the distance is the airport.”
Another passenger tweeted: “@easyJet what are you paying for at @BristolAirport.
“Only half the security lanes open and not fast track. Two hours to get through. Queues started 300m on the road outside.”
Meanwhile, Paul Smith shared another picture of a huge crowd waiting at departures in Bristol this morning.
One holidaymaker said she had been waiting for two hours to simply check in her family’s bags at the airport today.
She added: “@BristolAirport absolutely over capacity / systems failing to process the numbers of people flying through the airport.
“Queued for two hours to check in our bag, now joined a queue of over 1000 people snaking outside just to get to departure lounge. Three kids in tow.”
A spokesman for Bristol Airport told The Mirror: “We appreciate the frustration experienced by customers early this morning and are sorry for the long queues at security.
“We’ve fallen short this morning but the Bristol Airport team and our business partners are working hard to ensure all customers have a smooth and easy journey through the terminal.
“Each day over 80% of our customers experience less than a 20-minute security queue time, it is only during peak flight operations we extend beyond this – we are focussed on improving this.”
Last night Mike Cole branded Bristol Airport a ‘disgrace’ and said he had been waiting for five hours before his easyJet flight was cancelled.
Another passenger, Phill Clark, said: “Flight delayed by 2.5 hours but not a @TUIUK representative in site.
“Funny that what with them being required to supply food and drink to passengers… @BristolAirport is a zoo at the moment, terrible service from both parties.”
The airport recently blamed delays on a shortage of staff.
Meanwhile, Brits looking to fly into Bristol from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport felt abandoned.
Like in the UK, queues stretched outside, lasting two hours, with officials blaming a “staff shortage” for the delays.
EasyJet customers in the queue had already faced additional delays after their Saturday flights were cancelled due to “IT issues”.
Passengers said flights into the southwestern city were forced to leave without all passengers on board – meaning further delays of around half an hour as hold baggage was unloaded.
“Being stuck at Schiphol airport was really anxiety inducing – it was complete chaos,” said one EasyJet customer.
“There was no order to the queue system – people were pushing in.
“I have an anxiety disorder which I felt like I had to mention to staff to try and cut through the line.
“People were behaving like animals.”
Gatwick Airport has also struggled with long queues in recent days.
This morning, Caroline Sanders tweeted a picture of a huge line of passengers waiting at EasyJet’s bag drop in the airport’s north terminal.
Meanwhile, easyJet customer Alan Black said his flight was cancelled just as he was about to fly to Seville, Spain, this morning.
He tweeted: “At Gatwick. Just about to board flight to Seville for family wedding – Flight just cancelled. No alternative flights, in fact no support offered at all. Thanks a bunch @easyJet @easyJet_press
“Just spoken to @easyJet representative found hiding round corner in baggage reclaim. Claims delay due to @Gatwick_Airport currently only having one person on unloading baggage. All impending easyjet and Gatwick customers be warned.”
However, the airport replied to Mr Black’s tweet by informing him that baggage handlers were employed by the airline – not Gatwick.
Another passenger complained about her flight being delayed and then cancelled at Gatwick Airport on Friday.
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Sunita Ramjee, 50, of Swansea, Wales, was due to jet out to Nice for the Grand Prix in Monaco, however her plans were ruined by the cancellation.
EasyJet and Gatwick airport have been approached for comment.
EasyJet previously axed more than 200 half-term flights from Gatwick the day after it suffered IT problems.
Lengthy delays remain at Manchester Airport.
Holidaymaker Chris shared a photo on Twitter of his check-in queue, describing it as a “wonderful start to holidays”.
Tagging TUI, he added: “Be good to communicate with concerned passengers.”
Andy wrote this morning: “Absolute carnage at Manchester Airport this morning. When they say arrive 3hrs before the flight is set to leave, they mean it!”.
While Ric tweeted a picture of a huge queue for TUI bag-drop, and said: “The daily carnage has already commenced at Manchester Airport.”
Another said their flight was delayed by seven hours.
They added: “No staff, no information, no-one answering phone, no WiFi. With asthmatic elderly relative getting stressed here. Where can I get some help, please?”
Other passengers have also reported empty shelves in shops and cafes in the terminals this morning.
Photos show abandoned suitcases.
TUI customers yesterday received texts from the firm telling them their trips had been cancelled after an eight-hour airport wait at Manchester Airport, it is reported.
Holidaymakers endured multiple delays before they were finally told they would not be leaving the airport.
Some children even broke down in tears after discovering their vacations had been ruined.
It came after passengers endured a four-hour wait to get through check-in and security and another four-hour delay while “waiting for a pilot”.
The troubled flight to Kos, out of Terminal 2, was supposed to take off at 3.45pm, but angry ticketholders say they would have missed the flight – if it had been on time – due to queues “out of the building” to check-in.
A spokesperson for TUI said: “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience to our customers on flight TOM2680 from Manchester and Kos, on Saturday 28th May who were delayed to a combination of factors causing significant operational disruption.
“Unfortunately, we felt the impact to customers holiday was too great and took the difficult decision to cancel the flight.
“We contacted affected customers as soon as we became aware of the change and all customers will receive a full refund within 14 days.
“We understand how disappointing and frustrating this is and we do apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Over 1,000 passengers may have missed their flights thanks to the chaotic scenes at Dublin Airport over the weekend.
This morning surging queues have been snapped in Terminal 2.
Calls have been made for the management of Dublin Airport to resign after plans were thrown into chaos due to the lengthy queues, reports DublinLive.
Dublin Airport Authority spokesman Kevin Cullinane said: “We estimate over 1,000 passengers were impacted by the lengthy queues at Dublin Airport.
“We’ll be doing a further tally with our airline partners again this morning to ascertain the final number but at this stage, it’s well over 1,000 passengers for which we obviously unreservedly apologise.”
It comes after a teenager vowed to never step foot in the airport again following a terrible experience over the weekend.
It was Kerri Creed’s first time travelling alone and she was excited to visit her girlfriend in Kraków, Poland, after many months apart.
However, the massive queues outside the airport quickly caused the young woman great distress.
“My anxiety was through the roof to the point I almost passed out and a stranger asked was I okay as I went wax white on the face,” she said.
“The panicking started to set in.”