Home » Easter holiday airport chaos: Brits warned to brace for disruption on Good Friday and Easter Monday

Easter holiday airport chaos: Brits warned to brace for disruption on Good Friday and Easter Monday

by Press room

Airline passengers are today being warned to brace for more travel disruption this Easter weekend, as sunseeking Britons prepare to jet off on a four-day weekend getaway.

Millions of holidaymakers are expect to pass through UK airports across this coming Easter weekend – the first four-day weekend since all remaining Covid travel restrictions were lifted in England.

But after 10 days of travel chaos at airports up and down the country, travel experts are warning things could get worse for airline passengers.

Good Friday, when many are expected to fly out of the country, and Easter Monday, when people return from their weekends away and others fly back from longer breaks, are set to be among the busiest days for air travel, experts predict.

Away from airports, Britons also face delays on the roads and motorways. As many as 21.5million drivers are set to take to the roads across the four day weekend, while rail passengers also face delays due to engineering works.

It comes as passengers today experienced yet more delays and long queues at Manchester and Birmingham airports, following more than a week of disruptions and delays at UK travel hubs.

Travelers also faced long lines at check-in at Heathrow earlier today, while arrivals at Gatwick claimed they were forced to wait up to 90 minutes for their bags last night.

At Stansted people touched-down to find a ‘full’ queue at passport control. Meanwhile, BA and easyJet have cancelled more than 100 flights today – the vast majority of which were announced in advance. 

Travel chiefs have blamed a sudden influx of passengers flying abroad on the first Easter holidays with all UK travel restrictions lifted in more than two years for the recent spate of delays and disruption. 

Covid-enforced sickness added to a lack of staff following downsizing of many travel operations during the pandemic has also been blamed.

But industry insiders have today warned the delays, which have plagued a number of airports since last Friday, could hit confidence in the travel industry at a vital time for its post-pandemic recovery.

Others have warned the disruption could continue for ‘several weeks’ and may get worse at peak times like this coming Easter weekend. 

Paul Charles, founder of leading travel PR firm, The PC Agency, told MailOnline: ‘There are still some tough days to come at several of our airports. 

‘There are usually long queues and flight cancellations around the Easter period every year, but this year will be compounded by continuing Covid illness and staff shortages. 

‘It will take several weeks yet before airports can hire the desired number of staff and before Covid illnesses disappear with warmer weather.

‘So I’d expect long queues both going into the Easter weekend, especially this Thursday and Friday, as well as on Easter Monday and Tuesday.’

Pictures from Terminal 2 this morning show large groups of people queuing for the lifts outside the terminal and queues at check-in desks

Airline passengers have complained of 'shambolic' crowd control at 'chaotic' Manchester Airport this morning, following on from major disruption last week - at the start of the Easter school holidays

Airline passengers have complained of ‘shambolic’ crowd control at ‘chaotic’ Manchester Airport this morning, following on from major disruption last week – at the start of the Easter school holidays

At Gatwick, passengers took to sitting on the floor of the airport after waiting more than an hour and a half for their luggage

At Gatwick, passengers took to sitting on the floor of the airport after waiting more than an hour and a half for their luggage

However he said passengers choosing to travel at peak times would have to stomach some of the disruption, adding: ‘When you travel during peak periods, I’m afraid you have to expect some delays due to the sheer volume of people travelling and trying to get through security at the same time.

‘The good news is that hiring will increase so these issues will get better later in April and into May.’

Meanwhile, travel expert Tom Bourlet, who has more than a decade of experience in the industry, also said Easter weekend could be a ‘pinch point’ for UK airports.

Motorists face travel chaos with 21.5million preparing to take to the road across four-day Easter weekend

Motorists face a week of travel chaos with the Easter weekend getaway predicted to be the busiest in eight years.

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014. 

It also urged drivers to try and and travel after 7.30pm to avoid congestion.  

RAC research showed Good Friday is set to be the busiest, with 4.62 million trips planned, followed by Easter Monday, when just under 4 million drivers are expected to be out and about.

A further 7.2 million will travel on Saturday and Sunday, with another 5.6 million not yet decided on which day they will set off.   

Inrix, the traffic information supplier, highlighted several likely congestion hotspots. 

The congestion hotspots include: The M6 north between Junction 26 (Orrell Interchange, Greater Manchester) and Junction 36 (the Lake District), The M25 clockwise from Junction 8 (Reigate Hill Interchange, Surrey) to Junction 16 (Denham Interchange, Buckinghamshire) and The A303 near Stonehenge, Wiltshire.

Motorists wanting to avoid as much congestion as possible are advised to start their journeys before 9am or delay their journeys until after 7.30pm.  

More than 500 engineering works are taking place amid strikes on vast swathes of northern rail routes. It will create mayhem for the thousands of football fans travelling to London for the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.

It comes as severe disruption on roads in Kent leading to cross-Channel services looks set to continue for days.

The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services. 

P&O Ferries ships will not sail from Dover to Calais until at least Thursday, with rival carriers struggling to soak up the extra demand.

To make matters worse, getaways will be the most expensive on record due to sky-high fuel prices. 

Latest Government figures show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on April 4 was 161.9p, with diesel at 176.0p.

There could also be diesel or petrol shortages due to protesting eco-warriors blocking off fuel terminals, slowing down deliveries.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads, our research suggests a return to traffic levels that are much more typical of this time of year.

‘It’s very possible this weekend could turn out to be one of the busiest for leisure journeys for many years.

‘Add in the impact of disruption on the rail network and one of the biggest fixtures of the sporting calendar taking place this weekend, and you have all the ingredients needed for problems on the roads.

‘Traffic volumes will likely be even higher if some warm spring sunshine makes an appearance.’

Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips.

‘This is even more important for anyone travelling longer distances than they have for several months,’ he said.

‘A breakdown is much less likely if a car’s oil and coolant levels, as well as tyre pressure and tread depth, have all been checked before setting out.’ 

Mr Bourlet, who runs the travel blog SpaghettiTraveller.com, said: ‘The number of staff now absent due to Covid is incredibly high and this is expected to remain high throughout April, with plenty of flights being grounded and unfortunately this will most likely be the case during the Easter weekend. 

‘The travel industry does bulge over Easter weekend, being the first major holiday point since Christmas, with many people looking to get away on Good Friday, or returning on the Easter Sunday. 

‘With depleted staff levels and an increase in people looking for a vacation, it inevitably looks like we might reach another pinch point this weekend. 

‘There is also expected to be planned engineering work on the Underground and on a number of train lines, which will further cause disruptions and delays.’

He urged customers to arrive at least three hours early for their flights to allow plenty of time for possible delays. 

It comes as travel industry bosses warned that, alongside disruption flying out on Good Friday, passengers also faced possible return delays on Easter Monday.

One industry insider told MailOnline there were concerns about the possibility of large queues at Passport Control halls on Easter Monday, as millions of Britons return to the UK.

‘Border Force, similarly, are suffering from staffing issues, so there could be queues there as people come back to the UK,’ they said.

‘Baggage could also be an issue, but unlike last Friday, when there were lots of people arriving and departing, it will mostly be arrivals, so the workflow can be concentrated. 

A Home Office spokesperson said Border Force would ‘not compromise’ on the security of the UK border, but that it was ‘constantly monitoring and reviewing’ staffing numbers to passengers are ‘managed efficiiently’ through the borders.

A spokesperson said: ‘Those travelling in and out of the UK over the busy Easter period may face longer wait time than usual due a high number of passengers and as we ensure all passengers are compliant with the security and immigration measures put in place to keep us safe.

‘Border Force’s number one priority is to maintain a secure border, and we will not compromise on this. We are working closely with all UK ports and airports to ensure passengers have the smoothest possible journey, and we will continue to deploy our staff flexibly to manage this demand.’

It comes as Britons today faced another manic Monday at UK airports, with passengers complaining of delayed flights, 90 minute waits for luggage and ‘full’ queues at Passport Control. 

Airline passengers today slammed ‘shambolic’ crowd control at ‘chaotic’ Manchester Airport. British Airways passengers fared little better at Heathrow. One passenger at the west London airport complained their BA flight was delayed by three hours last night, only to face an hour long wait for luggage after touching down at Terminal 5. 

Heathrow officials say airlines are responsible for baggage and there are currently no delays at check-in or security. Bosses are urging passengers to arrive as normal at the airport this week. 

However pictures from Terminal 2 this morning show large groups of people queuing for the lifts outside the terminal and queues at check-in desks.

BA say there are ‘no delays outside of normal business as usual operations’ this morning. The airline has axed at least 64 domestic or European flights to or from Heathrow today, though BA says passengers were all given advanced warning of the cancellations. EasyJet is said to have cancelled 25 flights.

Meanwhile, at Gatwick, passengers took to sitting on the floor of the airport after waiting more than an hour and a half for their luggage. 

Travellers have also complained of long check-in line at Birmingham airport, while at Stansted arrivals have shared pictures of a ‘full’ queue of people at Passport Control.

It comes after passengers faced disruption at airports across last week. Travel chiefs blamed a sudden influx of passengers flying abroad on the first Easter holidays with all UK travel restrictions lifted in more than two years. 

A lack of staff due to Covid sickness and firms attempting to quickly restaff following a downsizing of operations during the pandemic have also been blamed.

But the delays, which have plagued a number of airports since Friday last week, could hit confidence in the travel industry at a vital time for its post-pandemic recovery, experts have today warned.

Meanwhile, one flyer has revealed how he went to the airport a staggering 13-hours before his flight to ensure he got through the ‘madness’ at Manchester Airport and to his flight on time. 

There were long queues at check-in desks at Birmingham Airport today, with hundreds of passengers queueing for Jet2 flights this morning

There were long queues at check-in desks at Birmingham Airport today, with hundreds of passengers queueing for Jet2 flights this morning

Airline passengers have also complained of long check-in line at Birmingham airport, while at Stansted (pictured) arrivals have shared pictures of a 'full' queue of people at Passport Control

Airline passengers have also complained of long check-in line at Birmingham airport, while at Stansted (pictured) arrivals have shared pictures of a ‘full’ queue of people at Passport Control

Travellers have fared little better at Heathrow today. One passenger at the west London airport complained their British Airways flight was delayed by three hours, only to face an hour long wait for luggage after touching down at Terminal 5

Travellers have fared little better at Heathrow today. One passenger at the west London airport complained their British Airways flight was delayed by three hours, only to face an hour long wait for luggage after touching down at Terminal 5

Passengers at Gatwick Airport this morning faced delays at baggage reclaim. One arrival today shared an image of passengers sitting on the floor of the Sussex airport while waiting for their luggage.

One wrote: ‘At Gatwick Airport, waiting for over an hour and a half for my luggage. DHL at Gatwick just keep apologising without action. Just get it done. This is not effective or efficient service.’

Airline passenger arrives 13-hours early for flight to avoid ‘queueing madness’ 

A father-of-two says he arrived more than 13-hours early for his flight at Manchester Airport to avoid the queueing ‘madness’.

Tim Samunyai, from Coventry, arrived at the airport at around 5:40am for his 6:55pm flight yesterday [April 10].

One airline passenger revealed how he had arrived 13-hours early for his flight in a bid to avoid the queuing 'madness' at Manchester airport. Tim Samunyai from Coventry arrived at the airport at around 5.40am for his 6.55pm flight to Zimbabwe yesterday

One airline passenger revealed how he had arrived 13-hours early for his flight in a bid to avoid the queuing ‘madness’ at Manchester airport. Tim Samunyai from Coventry arrived at the airport at around 5.40am for his 6.55pm flight to Zimbabwe yesterday

The 56-year-old, whose final destination was Zimbabwe, said he came to the airport so early because of the recent reports of chaos which caused him to ‘panic’.

Despite having to wait a very long time, Mr Samunyai said he was glad he came early and used it as an opportunity to ‘de-stress’ and prepare himself for a journey he described as a ‘spiritual timeout’.

Mr Samunyai said: ‘I was thinking if I come here nice and early then I won’t have to deal with all that madness over there.

‘I don’t know if I was panicking because of the news just highlighting the negativity or whatever.

‘But there was no differentiation in the reporting, you saw queues for check-ins at TUI, EasyJet or Jet2 and it was choc-a-block.

‘My problem was not realising that, it’s a panic if you’re going to Corfu, Greece or Tenerife because everybody wants to go there, and it’s half-term.

‘But if you’re going Africa, then there’s no issue.’ 

Mr Samunyai said that he brought a chuckle out of a member of staff who told him he ‘broke the record’ for the person who has arrived earliest for their flight.

For the long wait bought himself four books to read as well as a tablet to keep him entertained and had some sandwiches and pastries to keep himself fed.

He found himself a small corner at the bottom floor of Terminal 2 where he had a nap before checking in at around 3:30pm.

Mr Samunyai said: ‘I’ve got some sausages rolls and I had two steak beaks,

‘I’ve got my motivational books to read and a tablet too.

’13 hours is a bit much, fair enough, but I’d rather be early.’

Another, Theo Kyriacou, sharing an image of people waiting at the baggage carousel, wrote on Twitter today: ‘Four hour flight and seems longer waiting for the luggage carousel to start! #Gatwick the worst airport? Certainly seems so to me.’

He later added: ‘An hour and a half since we landed and still no luggage to been seen anywhere.’ At Manchester, one passenger described the crowd control as ‘shambolic’.  

Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh, who runs a coaching business, wrote: ‘Seriously Manchester Airport?!? Chaos and shambolic crowd control at Manchester Airport.’ He later added a photograph of a departures queue under the caption: ‘Ryanair chaos at Manchester Airport.’

Others criticised the airport for continuing to display outdated information on their message boards. Sharing a picture of screen urging passengers to ready their passenger locator forms and Covid test results – measures which were dropped in the UK last month –  one Twitter user wrote: ‘Another example of how poor Manchester Airport is. Please can you update your information for passengers?’ 

Manchester Airport said that, due to staff shortages, that they will be advising passengers it will take up to 10 minutes to clear security, on average, and most within 30 to 40 minutes. However they are warning that queues will on occasion extend to up to an hour and a half. They are advising passengers to arrive when check-in opens for their flight – normally three hours before take-off. 

‘If they do that, we are confident we will get them on their way,’ a spokesperson told MailOnline.

At Birmingham Airport, passengers complained of long queues at check-in. One Twitter user, wrote: ‘If you think security is bad, this is check-in! We’ve already checked in online but they still make you queue in this rather than bag drop.’ 

A spokesperson said the airport experienced ‘another busy start on Monday’ as ‘thousands more people flew off for their Easter breaks’.

The spokesperson added: ‘Once people cleared boarding card checks, average wait times for security were 15 to 25 minutes as queues ebbed and flowed.

‘We’d ask all customers travelling to ‘help us help you’ to keep queues moving by presenting compliant baggage – removing liquids and electrical items – at the security scanners.’

Airport bosses said more than 85 percent of departing customers got through security in under 20 minutes over the weekend. 

At Stansted, passengers complained of ‘full passport queues’ at Border Control. One arrival said on Twitter: ‘Full passport hall at Stansted… great welcome after a delay.’

Stansted chiefs said Sunday evenings are one of the airport’s busiest points of the week and that the site was running as usual today.

At Heathrow, one BA passenger complained of facing a three hour delay to their flight, only to be met with delays at Terminal 5 baggage reclaim.

Taking to Twitter, Lewis Feilder wrote last night: ‘More than an hour waiting for baggage from flight 2785 at Heathrow T5, after a flight delayed by 3 hours… No announcement. No explanation. No staff explaining what is going on.’

Another told MailOnline: ‘We landed last night at 9.50 pm from Cyprus and didn’t get our bags until 11.21 pm. It was a nightmare at baggage control with huge delays for everyone.  Even BA staff were upset by the situation and said they had no response to how awful things were.’

It comes as the airline axed at least 64 domestic or European flights to or from Heathrow. Affected UK routes were between the west London airport and Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle.

Among the international routes affected were services to and from Berlin, Dublin, Geneva, Paris and Stockholm.

British Airways said passengers were given advanced warning of the cancellations. The airline decided last month it would reduce its schedule until the end of May to limit the need to cancel flights at short notice due to staff shortages.

One passenger arriving at Terminal 5 at Heathrow (pictured) last night, told MailOnline: 'We landed last night at 9.50 pm from Cyprus and didn’t get our bags until 11.21 pm. It was a nightmare at baggage control with huge delays for everyone. Even BA staff were upset by the situation and said they had no response to how awful things were.'

One passenger arriving at Terminal 5 at Heathrow (pictured) last night, told MailOnline: ‘We landed last night at 9.50 pm from Cyprus and didn’t get our bags until 11.21 pm. It was a nightmare at baggage control with huge delays for everyone. Even BA staff were upset by the situation and said they had no response to how awful things were.’

Heathrow officials say airlines are responsible for baggage and there are currently no delays at check-in or security. Bosses are urging passengers to arrive as normal at the airport this week. Pictured. There were large queues for the lifts down from the terminal building at Heathrow Terminal 2 today

Heathrow officials say airlines are responsible for baggage and there are currently no delays at check-in or security. Bosses are urging passengers to arrive as normal at the airport this week. Pictured. There were large queues for the lifts down from the terminal building at Heathrow Terminal 2 today

A very busy terminal 2 at London's Heathrow Airport as people head off for Easter holiday. It follows disruption at the start of the Easter holiday last week

A very busy terminal 2 at London’s Heathrow Airport as people head off for Easter holiday. It follows disruption at the start of the Easter holiday last week

Heathrow Airport has recorded its busiest month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The west London airport said it was used by 4.2 million passengers in March. This represents nearly an eight-fold increase on the total during the same month in 2021

Heathrow Airport has recorded its busiest month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The west London airport said it was used by 4.2 million passengers in March. This represents nearly an eight-fold increase on the total during the same month in 2021

The rise was attributed to the Government's removal of all coronavirus travel restrictions. Demand was driven by outbound leisure travel at weekends and during school holidays, the airport said

The rise was attributed to the Government’s removal of all coronavirus travel restrictions. Demand was driven by outbound leisure travel at weekends and during school holidays, the airport said

At Birmingham Airport, passengers complained of long queues at check-in. One Twitter user, wrote: 'If you think security is bad, this is check-in! 'We’ve already checked in online but they still make you queue in this rather than bag drop.'

Others criticised the airport for continuing to display outdated information on their message boards. Sharing a picture of screen urging passengers to ready their passenger locator forms and Covid test results - measures which were dropped in the UK last month - one Twitter user wrote: 'Another example of how poor Manchester Airport is. Please can you update your information for passengers?'

At Birmingham Airport (pictured left), passengers complained of long queues at check-in. One Twitter user, wrote: ‘If you think security is bad, this is check-in! ‘We’ve already checked in online but they still make you queue in this rather than bag drop.’ Others criticised the airport for continuing to display outdated information on their message boards. Sharing a picture of screen urging passengers to ready their passenger locator forms and Covid test results – measures which were dropped in the UK last month – one Twitter user wrote: ‘Another example of how poor Manchester Airport (pictured right) is. Please can you update your information for passengers?’

Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh, who runs a coaching business, wrote: 'Seriously Manchester Airport?!? Chaos and shambolic crowd control at Manchester Airport.' He later added a photograph of a departures queue under the caption: 'Ryanair chaos at Manchester Airport.'

Taking to Twitter, Lewis Feilder wrote last night: 'More than an hour waiting for baggage from flight 2785 at Heathrow T5, after a flight delayed by 3 hours... No announcement. No explanation. No staff explaining what is going on.' BA have been approached for a comment.

Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh, who runs a coaching business, wrote (pictured left): ‘Seriously Manchester Airport?!? Chaos and shambolic crowd control at Manchester Airport.’ He later added a photograph of a departures queue under the caption: ‘Ryanair chaos at Manchester Airport.’ Taking to Twitter, Lewis Feilder wrote last night: ‘More than an hour waiting for baggage from flight 2785 at Heathrow T5 (pictured right), after a flight delayed by 3 hours… No announcement. No explanation. No staff explaining what is going on.’ BA have been approached for a comment.

It has focused on routes with multiple daily flights, meaning passengers can be offered alternative departures on the same day they booked. EasyJet cancelled at least 25 flights to or from Gatwick, affecting routes between the West Sussex airport and Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Glasgow and Milan.

The low-cost carrier said cancellations are being made ‘in advance to give customers the ability to rebook on to alternative flights’. 

Airport delays could hit confidence in the travel industry, experts warn 

Experts have today warned that the airport delays could put potential customers off from flying, at a time when the travel industry is desperately trying to take-off following two years of Covid enforced disruption.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline: ‘If long queues at airports and flight cancellations by airlines continue for too much longer then some consumers will be put off from travelling abroad.

‘Ongoing staff shortages add more risk to a trip because consumers won’t want to be potentially out of pocket from last-minute cancellations and having to fork out for new flights or an extra night in an hotel.

‘With the potential for an overseas trip to be badly affected, more consumers, especially families, are already booking to stay in a UK cottage, house or hotel by the coast or in the countryside.

‘Staycations will be highly popular again this year and airport and flight chaos will be a bonus for the staycation economy. We just have to hope for continuing great weather.’

Meanwhile, Richard Moriarty, Civil Aviation Authority chief executive, also said the disruption could impact on customer confidence levels.

He said:  ‘As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic and consumers take advantage of the freedom to travel, instances of late notice cancellations and excessive delays at airports are not just distressing for affected consumers but have the potential to impact confidence levels across the industry, at just the point when passengers are returning to flying.’

It comes as Heathrow Airport recorded its busiest month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The west London airport said it was used by 4.2 million passengers in March.

This represents nearly an eight-fold increase on the total during the same month in 2021. The rise was attributed to the Government’s removal of all coronavirus travel restrictions.

Demand was driven by outbound leisure travel at weekends and during school holidays, the airport said. A Heathrow spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The Easter holiday is the first time where UK travel restrictions have been fully removed since the start of the pandemic and we are expecting passenger numbers, not seen since early March 2020. 

‘We have been preparing for this for many months, but like most airports we do anticipate that the travel experience may take slightly longer during peak periods. 

‘We are deploying extra colleagues across Heathrow, and we continue to work closely with all our airport partners to help ensure passengers get away as efficiently as possible.’

Experts have today warned that the airport delays could put potential customers off from flying, at a time when the travel industry is desperately trying to take-off following two years of Covid enforced disruption.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline: ‘If long queues at airports and flight cancellations by airlines continue for too much longer then some consumers will be put off from travelling abroad.

‘Ongoing staff shortages add more risk to a trip because consumers won’t want to be potentially out of pocket from last-minute cancellations and having to fork out for new flights or an extra night in an hotel.

‘With the potential for an overseas trip to be badly affected, more consumers, especially families, are already booking to stay in a UK cottage, house or hotel by the coast or in the countryside.

‘Staycations will be highly popular again this year and airport and flight chaos will be a bonus for the staycation economy. We just have to hope for continuing great weather.’

Meanwhile, Richard Moriarty, Civil Aviation Authority chief executive, also said the disruption could impact on customer confidence levels.

He said:  ‘As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic and consumers take advantage of the freedom to travel, instances of late notice cancellations and excessive delays at airports are not just distressing for affected consumers but have the potential to impact confidence levels across the industry, at just the point when passengers are returning to flying.’

Their comments come as one airline passenger revealed how he had arrived 13-hours early for his flight in a bid to avoid the queuing ‘madness’ at Manchester airport.

Tim Samunyai from Coventry arrived at the airport at around 5.40am for his 6.55pm flight to Zimbabwe yesterday.

Despite having to wait a very long time, Mr Samunyai said he was glad he came early and used it as an opportunity to 'de-stress' and prepare himself for a journey he described as a 'spiritual timeout'. Pictured: Queues at Manchester Airport yesterday

Despite having to wait a very long time, Mr Samunyai said he was glad he came early and used it as an opportunity to ‘de-stress’ and prepare himself for a journey he described as a ‘spiritual timeout’. Pictured: Queues at Manchester Airport yesterday

Mr Samunyai said that he brought a chuckle out of a member of staff who told him he 'broke the record' for the person who has arrived earliest for their flight. Pictured: A sign telling passengers to avoid delays at the airport

Mr Samunyai said that he brought a chuckle out of a member of staff who told him he ‘broke the record’ for the person who has arrived earliest for their flight. Pictured: A sign telling passengers to avoid delays at the airport

Despite having to wait a very long time, Mr Samunyai said he was glad he came early and used it as an opportunity to ‘de-stress’ and prepare himself for a journey he described as a ‘spiritual timeout’.

Mr Samunyai said: ‘I was thinking if I come here nice and early then I won’t have to deal with all that madness over there. I don’t know if I was panicking because of the news just highlighting the negativity or whatever.

‘But there was no differentiation in the reporting, you saw queues for check-ins at TUI, EasyJet or Jet2 and it was choc-a-block.

Heathrow Airport records busiest month since start of Covid pandemic 

Heathrow Airport has recorded its busiest month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The west London airport said it was used by 4.2 million passengers in March.

This represents nearly an eight-fold increase on the total during the same month in 2021.

The rise was attributed to the Government’s removal of all coronavirus travel restrictions.

Demand was driven by outbound leisure travel at weekends and during school holidays, the airport said.

‘My problem was not realising that, it’s a panic if you’re going to Corfu, Greece or Tenerife because everybody wants to go there, and it’s half-term.

‘But if you’re going Africa, then there’s no issue.’

Mr Samunyai said that he brought a chuckle out of a member of staff who told him he ‘broke the record’ for the person who has arrived earliest for their flight.

For the long wait bought himself four books to read as well as a tablet to keep him entertained and had some sandwiches and pastries to keep himself fed.

He found himself a small corner at the bottom floor of Terminal 2 where he had a nap before checking in at around 3:30pm.

Mr Samunyai said: ‘I’ve got some sausages rolls and I had two steak beaks,

‘I’ve got my motivational books to read and a tablet too.

’13 hours is a bit much, fair enough, but I’d rather be early.’

It comes as motorists have been warned that they face a week of travel chaos with the Easter weekend getaway predicted to be the busiest in eight years.

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014. 

It also urged drivers to try and and travel after 7.30pm to avoid congestion.  

RAC research showed Good Friday is set to be the busiest, with 4.62 million trips planned, followed by Easter Monday, when just under 4 million drivers are expected to be out and about.

A further 7.2 million will travel on Saturday and Sunday, with another 5.6 million not yet decided on which day they will set off.   

Inrix, the traffic information supplier, highlighted several likely congestion hotspots. 

The congestion hotspots include: The M6 north between Junction 26 (Orrell Interchange, Greater Manchester) and Junction 36 (the Lake District), The M25 clockwise from Junction 8 (Reigate Hill Interchange, Surrey) to Junction 16 (Denham Interchange, Buckinghamshire) and The A303 near Stonehenge, Wiltshire.

Pictured: Travel information for this year's Easter weekend

Pictured: Travel information for this year’s Easter weekend 

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists' Easter plans in 2014. Pictured: Heavy traffic on the M25 between Junction 9 and 10, Surrey, on Sunday

The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014. Pictured: Heavy traffic on the M25 between Junction 9 and 10, Surrey, on Sunday

Motorists wanting to avoid as much congestion as possible are advised to start their journeys before 9am or delay their journeys until after 7.30pm.  

Good timing! Hottest day of year on way 

After hard frosts, sleet and snow showers, sunny and warm weather will return over Easter weekend – and could bring the hottest day of the year.

Temperatures could reach 21C (70F) in eastern and south-east England by Thursday, as warm as Nice in the south of France. And highs of up to 20C (68F) are possible into Good Friday and Easter Saturday, with the rest of the Easter weekend likely to remain fine and dry in most areas.

Sleet and snow spread as far south as the Peak District on Friday, and a hard frost on Saturday night saw lows of -6C (21F) at Sennybridge in South Wales, -4.5C (23.9F) at South Newington, Oxfordshire, and -4.1C (24.6F) at Santon Downham, Suffolk.

Today and tomorrow will see sunny spells and showers, but temperatures are set to build, with highs of 17C (63F) in southern England today rising as high as 20-21C (68-70F) in London, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia by Thursday. The warmest day so far was March 23, at 20.8C (69.4F) in St James’s Park in London.

 

More than 500 engineering works are taking place amid strikes on vast swathes of northern rail routes. It will create mayhem for the thousands of football fans travelling to London for the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.

It comes as severe disruption on roads in Kent leading to cross-Channel services looks set to continue for days.

The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services. 

P&O Ferries ships will not sail from Dover to Calais until at least Thursday, with rival carriers struggling to soak up the extra demand.

Europe-bound motorists have reported being stuck in traffic for six hours on Kent roads, and a 20-mile stretch of the M20 has been closed to store more than 4,000 lorries.

To make matters worse, getaways will be the most expensive on record due to sky-high fuel prices. 

Latest Government figures show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on April 4 was 161.9p, with diesel at 176.0p.

There could also be diesel or petrol shortages due to protesting eco-warriors blocking off fuel terminals, slowing down deliveries.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads, our research suggests a return to traffic levels that are much more typical of this time of year.

‘It’s very possible this weekend could turn out to be one of the busiest for leisure journeys for many years.

‘Add in the impact of disruption on the rail network and one of the biggest fixtures of the sporting calendar taking place this weekend, and you have all the ingredients needed for problems on the roads.

‘Traffic volumes will likely be even higher if some warm spring sunshine makes an appearance.’

The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services. Pictured: A view of lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent on April 9

The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services. Pictured: A view of lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent on April 9

Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips. Pictured: Traffic beginning to build up on April 8. Drivers have been warned to expect long delays this Easter weekend

Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips. Pictured: Traffic beginning to build up on April 8. Drivers have been warned to expect long delays this Easter weekend 

Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips.

‘This is even more important for anyone travelling longer distances than they have for several months,’ he said.

‘A breakdown is much less likely if a car’s oil and coolant levels, as well as tyre pressure and tread depth, have all been checked before setting out.’ 

There was more misery for travellers yesterday as British Airways cancelled 82 flights and easyJet slashed 38.

Cancellations are expected to continue amid staff shortages, but last week’s chaos at airports appears to have eased.

Operation Brock Zero: M20 on the approach to Port of Dover is ‘clear’ but motorway ‘unlikely to reopen this afternoon’

Operation Brock Zero – the emergency measure brought in last Wednesday to help ease delays at The Port of Dover – is unlikely to reopen this afternoon, despite the M20 being ‘clear’, MailOnline understands.

Highways authorities launched the emergency plan, which sees a large chunk of the M20 in Kent, closed to all non-freight traffic on Wednesday.

According to National Highways, there are currently 0 pieces of freight in the Brock queue between Junction 8 and Junction 9.

The Brock extension queue between Junction 9 and Junction 11 is also currently clear and both Eurotunnel and Port of Dover are free flowing through Brock, according to the authority.

P&O Ferries has suspended all services to Calais until Good Friday with thousands of lorries stuck at Dover causing yet more mayhem for those trying to cross the channel - as the meat industry is demanding hauliers carrying fresh food are given priority. (Kent's M20 yesterday)

P&O Ferries has suspended all services to Calais until Good Friday with thousands of lorries stuck at Dover causing yet more mayhem for those trying to cross the channel – as the meat industry is demanding hauliers carrying fresh food are given priority. (Kent’s M20 yesterday)

However MailOnline understands the M20 is unlikely to ‘reopen this afternoon’. Freight traffic usually picks up on Friday and Saturday before slowing on Sunday and picking back up again on Monday. It is thought the closure may be to mitigate against any potential Monday rush.

Operation Brock Zero was launched last Wednesday after a build up of traffic at the Port of Dover. The suspension of P&O Ferry services, bad weather, a rush of Easter traffic and IT issues with the Government’s post-Brexit border system have been blamed.

P&O Ferries came under fire after sacking 800 workers around the UK with no notice last month, before replacing them with agency labour. 

They have  suspended all services to Calais until Good Friday – though it is thought that services could restart by Thursday at the earliest.

Some of the British Meat Processors Association’s members have claimed it is taking more than a day to get across the channel and there are concerns that customers in Europe could take their business elsewhere. 

On Saturday a 23-mile lorry queue, including more than 2,000 lorries, built up on the M20 as part of Operation Brock Zero. 

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said the delay was a blow for the industry. He told the BBC: ‘We are told to expect disruption well into next week. With Easter weekend approaching and a very busy time for exporting fresh meat, this is really bad timing.’

Lockerbie-based Eardley International said this is putting huge pressure on their fresh meat business, and can mean he loses out on £800 per truck.

Graham Eardley, company director at Eardley said: ‘Now we are seeing delays of 20 to 25 hours to cross the Channel, and the quality and the sale value of that product falls by every hour it is delayed.’ 

Experts urged the Government to consider a priority system for haulage vehicles containing fresh foods. But Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC Breakfast such a system would be difficult to stand up at short notice and on a large scale. 

‘My understanding is that things are now moving in the right direction so this was a temporary problem caused by a surge of traffic around the commencement of the Easter period,’ he said.

The controversial ferry service P&O has suspended the route from Calais to Dover until Thursday at least, it said.

The controversial ferry service P&O has suspended the route from Calais to Dover until Thursday at least, it said.

Meanwhile, Nicky Potts, head of operational integration at National Highways said: ‘Ensuring the smooth flow of traffic through Kent is a top priority and we are keeping the deployment of Operation Brock under continual review.

‘Any decision to remove the barrier will be taken jointly, and we are in constant contact with the Government and our partners in Kent.’

The Great Easter getaway GAMBLE: Budget holiday parks enjoy bookings boom as families weigh-up traffic hell at home over queue chaos at the airports

By Mark Duell for MailOnline 

Budget holiday operators are preparing for a bumper summer as Britain’s families weigh up whether to risk airport and flight chaos going abroad or remain in the UK for a staycation in the coming months.

Haven, which has 41 holiday parks in the UK, is already more than 90 per cent booked for Easter with nearly half of its 2.5million visitors this year booking for the first time – while Parkdean Resorts, which has 66 parks, is having to hire 7,000 seasonal workers across sales, food, drink and housekeeping to keep up with record-breaking demand.

Travel experts told MailOnline that the ongoing flight chaos amid staff shortages will be a ‘bonus for the staycation economy’ with families already considering whether to risk last-minute flight cancellations or stay in Britain.

But the staycation boom is not being seen across all parts of the industry, with bookings for Airbnb properties in the South West down by 15 per cent compared to 2021 – and demand appearing to have returned to 2019 levels.  

And UK resorts could also face issues attracting families who are still trying to use booking vouchers for foreign holidays because of cancelled flights or trips in the past few years, which makes them less likely to stay in Britain.

Others will have had their holiday budget squeezed or wiped out completely by cost-of-living pressures which are set to leave £900 British households worse off this year in a ‘historic fall’ in living standards according to PwC. 

It comes after a week of chaotic scenes across UK airports – with passengers facing long queues for security, lengthy waits at baggage reclaim and hundreds of flights cancelled every day amid a lack of staff due to Covid sickness and airlines attempting to quickly restaff following a downsizing of operations during the pandemic. 

But those staying in the UK also face travel chaos as record numbers plan an Easter trip and disruption at Dover continues. The RAC said 21.5million drivers are preparing to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend.

Haven, Haggerston Castle

Haven, Haggerston Castle

The cheapest seven-day holiday available from Haven for a family-of-four in the first week of August (Friday, August 5 to Friday, August 12, 2022) is at its Haggerston Castle site in Northumberland, where a stay in a caravan will cost £655

Parkdean, Crimdon Dene

Parkdean, Crimdon Dene

The cheapest option on Parkdean Resorts for a family on the same dates is a caravan for £699 at Crimdon Dene in Durham

Butlins, Minehead

Butlins, Minehead

The cheapest rate with Butlins for a family on the same dates is at Minehead where a standard room is £950 for the week

Haven, which is Britain’s largest domestic holiday business, said it is expecting more newcomers to its 41 resorts than ever before this year – and recent travel disruption is also making more people consider staying in the UK.

The company’s managing director Simon Palethorpe told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘I think it [the travel disruption] has made people think a bit more about holidaying at home. 

What are the cheapest summer holiday options available in August? 

HAVEN 

Haggerston Castle, Northumberland  Caravan £655

PARKDEAN RESORTS 

Crimdon Dene, Durham  Caravan £699

BUTLINS

Minehead, Somerset  Standard room £950

TUI

Domus Sessoriana, Rome Bed and breakfast – £998 (with Gatwick return flights)

ON THE BEACH

Ionian Sea View Hotel, Corfu £1,129 (with Teesside return flights)

JET2 HOLIDAYS

Eleana Studios, Kefalonia £1,332 (with Manchester return flights)

‘More generally things are looking pretty positive for our industry at the moment. This Easter for example, Haven – which is actually the UK’s largest domestic holiday business – is over 90 per cent booked, and more generally this year we’re going to be welcoming 2.5million holidaymakers to our 41 parks. 

‘And we’re seeing more newcomers to Haven, which is I think pretty interesting, more newcomers than ever. This year we’re going to see somewhere north of one million new holidaymakers trying us out. So we’re very excited about that.’

Asked whether cost pressures are affecting Haven, and whether the company is having to put up prices, Mr Palethorpe continued: ‘We’re definitely seeing some inflation coming through in some of our costs, but we still represent great value for money.’

He added: ‘I’d say there’s a few things that are happening at the moment. In terms of where are the costs for someone wanting a three-night break are concerned, we’re at levels still that are comparable to 2019. What you will see is a bit less discounting in the market because the demand is so strong. 

‘So it’s not a simple case of prices rising – it is actually more complex than that. So you see a bit less discounting – but there’s still absolutely fabulous value for money to be had out there. Where else could you get a 2022 three-night break for £69?’

Mr Palethorpe also said that concerns over congestion on the roads are not affecting demand at Haven, because the majority of customers visit from within two hours’ drive of the parks. 

He added that there are currently about 10,500 members of its team on parks at the moment, but the company will peak at about 12,500 in the summer. Almost 80 per cent of the staff are seasonal – such as lifeguards, chefs, kitchen managers, bar staff and accommodation teams. 

On wages, Mr Palethorpe said:  ‘We are paying a little bit more, and that’s just us adjusting to where the market is.’ 

Ionian Sea View Hotel in Corfu

Ionian Sea View Hotel in Corfu

The cheapest family holiday on the same dates via OnTheBeach is at the Ionian Sea View Hotel in Corfu for £1,129, including return flights from Teesside Airport

Eleana Studios in Kefalonia, Greece

Eleana Studios in Kefalonia, Greece

The cheapest holiday on Jet 2 is at the Eleana Studios in Kefalonia, Greece, for £1,332 with return flights from Manchester 

Tui, Domus Sessoriana in Rome

Tui, Domus Sessoriana in Rome

Tui is offering seven nights at the Domus Sessoriana in Rome with return flights from Gatwick for £998 for a family in August

Another major UK holiday park operator, Parkdean Resorts, is also enjoying the results of a staycation boom and plans to invest £140million on its accommodation and facilities across its 66 UK parks this year.

The investment includes more than 850 new caravans and lodges, new developments at 16 parks and refubuishm chalets and lodges. It has said advance bookings are at record levels and it is also launching a recruitment drive for 7,000 seasonal jobs.

Parkdean chief executive Steve Richards said: ‘This investment is great news for our customers, staff and the local economies in which we operate.’

He added: ‘2021 was a huge year for staycations, and our teams will continue to go above and beyond to deliver phenomenal service for our guests, making sure that 2022 is even better.’ 

But it comes as cancellations for air passengers are expected to continue amid staff shortages and workers being absent with Covid.

There was more misery for fliers yesterday after British Airways cancelled another 82 flights and easyJet slashed 38. 

Richard Moriarty, the Civil Aviation Authority chief executive, warned in recent days: ‘As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic and consumers take advantage of the freedom to travel, instances of late notice cancellations and excessive delays at airports are not just distressing for affected consumers but have the potential to impact confidence levels across the industry, at just the point when passengers are returning to flying.’ 

And Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline today: ‘If long queues at airports and flight cancellations by airlines continue for too much longer then some consumers will be put off from travelling abroad.

‘Ongoing staff shortages add more risk to a trip because consumers won’t want to be potentially out of pocket from last-minute cancellations and having to fork out for new flights or an extra night in an hotel.

‘With the potential for an overseas trip to be badly affected, more consumers, especially families, are already booking to stay in a UK cottage, house or hotel by the coast or in the countryside.

‘Staycations will be highly popular again this year and airport and flight chaos will be a bonus for the staycation economy. We just have to hope for continuing great weather.’ 

Temperatures could reach 21C (70F) in eastern and South East England by Thursday, as warm as Nice in the south of France. 

And highs of up to 20C (68F) are possible into Good Friday and Easter Saturday, with the rest of the Easter weekend likely to remain fine and dry in most areas. 

However, booking numbers at Airbnbs in the UK compiled by AirDNA for the Daily Telegraph showed that demand in April 2022 was down on last year.

It had fallen 15 per cent for properties in Penzance, 10 per cent in Plymouth and 8 per cent in Falmouth.

VisitEngland says up to 7.4 million people are planning an overnight holiday in Britain for the Easter weekend, which brings levels back in line with those of 2019, before the pandemic began. 

Figures for Easter 2019 were the highest on record – and up from 4.8million in 2018 and 6.6million in 2017.

The organisation’s chief executive Patricia Yates told the Daily Telegraph that the UK tourism industry is concerned that Britons are now very keen to go abroad now travel restrictions have been lifted, but added that international travellers ‘are not quite coming back at the pace we need them to’.

Talking about 2022 demand matching 2019 levels, Ms Yates added: ‘That’s good in that it gets us on the road to recovery, but it’s not brilliant.’

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