Frustrated travellers have slammed the “inhumane” queues at Heathrow Airport for a sixth day in a row.
The delays, which have been caused by a shortage of Border Force staff and stringent checks on coronavirus travel documents, have led to waiting times of up to five hours throughout the week.
Heathrow, which is the UK’s busiest airport, apologised over the weekend following the shocking images of long queues with little social distancing.
A spokesperson from the airport said Border Force, which is run by the Home Office, were aware of the extra demand and Heathrow was “disappointed” that they did not supply sufficient resources.
Earlier this week, the Mail Online reported that a man had ‘fainted’ while many passengers, including pregnant women and children, were forced to wait in line for hours.
And today travellers were reportedly still stuck in long queues.
One passenger wrote on Twitter: “Still horrific queues at Heathrow’s T3 this morning. It’s inhumane to force the disabled and children especially to stand for hours! Where’s the promised improvement?”
The same user added: “Border queues are still horrific in T3. It’s inhumane and a breach of our human rights to force people, especially children, to stand for more than an hour while shuffling along a never-ending queue!”
Another traveller wrote: “Welcome to the UK T3 arrivals, now join the Long Long wait #Heathrow.”
The Home Office admitted yesterday that the long queues at Heathrow Airport were “unacceptable” after previously saying travellers “needed to accept” delays.
A Home Office spokesman told the Mirror on Friday September, 3, that travellers “needed to accept” delays as a result of summer holiday demand and the need to check Covid documents.
However, the Home Office today admitted that the queues were “unacceptable” on the “busiest weekend of the year for returning passengers”.
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A Home Office spokesperson told My London: “Throughout the pandemic we have been clear that queue times may be longer as we ensure all passengers are compliant with the health measures put in place to keep the UK public safe.
“However, the very long wait times we saw at Heathrow last night [Friday] are unacceptable.
“This is the busiest weekend of the year for returning passengers, with particularly high numbers of families with children under the age of 12 who cannot use e-gates.”
The spokesperson added: “Border Force is rapidly reviewing its rosters and capacity and flexibly deploying our staff across the airport to improve waiting times.
“We are working very closely with Heathrow Airport and its airlines and we are all committed to making sure all passengers can have a safe and hassle-free journey.”
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan-Smith criticised the situation at the Airport earlier this week, describing it as “chaotic.”
Speaking to the Mail Online, the MP said: “We are going to achieve the worst of all worlds by having people close together who may have Covid.
“The whole thing is chaotic and we still haven’t fully opened up yet. We don’t seem to have a plan for how we are going to manage that.
“If it carries on like this Heathrow will cease to be a hub airport and Britain will be left in the backwash as an irrelevant country.”
Following the criticism across social media, Heathrow Airport apologised to passengers having to face the long queues.
On Saturday afternoon, a Heathrow spokeswoman informed PA: “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.”
The spokesperson added: “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.”
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