Stansted Airport has issued an apology after an equipment failure this morning led to long queues and hundreds of travellers missing their flights.
Passengers described the scenes in departures as “hell”, a “shambles” and a “zombie apocalypse”. Some people are reported to have passed out and wheelchair passengers were unable to make their way through the crowds.
A spokesperson for the airport said that a problem with X-ray machines at security started at 4.30am, and was resolved by 8.15am. Although some machines were still working, a backlog swiftly built up. Hundreds of travellers have missed their flights as a result.
Stansted is Britain’s fourth busiest airport. 67,000 passengers pass through every day.
One passenger compared it to a "zombie apocalypse". Another, Kate Platts, who was travelling to Ibiza, tweeted: "Welcome to hell – 2 hours waiting in a queue for @Ryanair missed flight."
Platts, an Executive Assistant from London who was booked on a 7am flight and was travelling with hand luggage only, had arrived at Stansted before 5.30am. She told The Independent:
"The queues were already massive at that point, literally at a standstill and after an hour of not knowing what was going on we were told that the scanners used to scan boarding passes had crashed.
"There was no information at all [before that] - someone fainted which brought ground staff into the crowd, so we questioned what on earth was happening - it was from that point that the ground staff finally started communicating with us.
"Their attitudes were awful and it wasn't until they realised the seriousness of the situation that they started being more helpful.
"Eventually I got through and went through baggage check - I made it to the gate along with half a dozen or so other passengers for my flight around one or two minutes after they had closed it, before 7am. Ryanair still wouldn't let us on - in fact they even delayed the plane a few minutes because they needed to get the luggage of the other passengers off the plane instead of just letting us on. It was madness."
Platts was booked on an early evening flight free of charge by Ryanair. She told The Independent: "I was lucky that they fly to Ibiza more than once a day - there were passengers flying to other places who can now not fly to their destination until tomorrow or Thursday. We were categorically told that if we weren't placed on a flight today then we would have to make our own way back - no hotels would be provided."
She says that passengers were not given any refreshments or meal tokens, either: "Being in a queue for that amount of time, particularly for the older passengers, without being offered anything is quite shocking"
A Ryanair spokesperson told The Independent: “While we regret any inconvenience caused by this power failure at London Stansted Airport, Ryanair is not responsible for airport security delays.”
Meanwhile, the official Stansted Airport Twitter account put the chaos down to an "IT issue in the main security area" and apologised "for any incovenience".
The airport added in a statement that situation has now been resolved.Reuse content