‘Absolutely awful’: Four-hour long queues at Manchester Airport lead to passengers missing flights

Passengers forced to queue outside terminal

Lucy Thackray
Saturday 19 March 2022 14:10 GMT

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Manchester Airport has apologised to passengers who have experienced huge queues over the past 24 hours.

Flyers travelling from the airport reported three-to-four-hour waits, missed flights and even having to queue outside of the terminal building, many of them taking to social media to criticise airport management.

“Huge queues once again at @manairport. This is for security at T1. It snakes for 200 metres outside the terminal,” tweeted magazine editor Andy Mitten on Wednesday afternoon.

“Surely Manchester airport is one of the most chaotic in the world - this place is never enjoyable,” tweeted Paul Keegan, sharing a photo of a packed terminal.

Mr Keegan later told the BBC that he had waited three hours to go through security, followed by two hours for his plane to leave as the pilot delayed departure to allow more people to get to the gate.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Harvey tweeted Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, saying: “What you doing about the queues at Manchester Airport?? Just taken me three hours to get through security. Only three security baggage check open. Staff doing their best but no managers to be seen. Loads of people missed flights.”

“We’re likely to experience longer security queues than we’d like this evening due to a number of factors and apologise to all affected,” read a tweet from the airport on Wednesday.

“If you are due to travel tonight, please arrive at the earliest time your airline allows and ensure you are prepared to pass through security.”

This morning, the chaos continued. BBC correspondent Kelly Foran shared video of queues snaking outside the terminal building; while Jordan Knowles tweeted: “It was absolutely awful. Spent longer waiting for my bag to be checked than I spent actually flying.”

A spokesperson told the The Independent that the delays were down to “a combination of factors”, including difficulty predicting passenger numbers and 60 per cent of bags being rejected at the security stage.

However, customers including Andy Mitten reported that very few of the security lanes had been open to customers during the delays, with some saying fewer than 50 per cent of lanes were available, while Mr Mitten said just three out of 14 were open.

“With the rapid recovery of international travel, it has been much more difficult to predict passenger volumes based on the flights that are due to depart,” said the airport’s spokesperson.

"Today, we saw more people than we were expecting, which put a considerable strain on our operation. This was compounded by up to 60 per cent of customer bags being rejected as they passed through security because they contained restricted items – a much higher rate than we typically experience.

We have deployed staff from other parts of the operation to assist in security and, wherever possible, we have prioritised customers within the queue in order to ensure they make their flights.

“We would like to apologise to those impacted by today’s challenges and assure them we are doing all we can to rectify the situation.”

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