Brits in Bank Holiday chaos as e
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Brits in Bank Holiday chaos as e

May 12, 2023

Brits are facing hours-long delays at major UK airports after a nationwide Border Force system crash and grid-locked traffic at Dover.

An error in the crucial system has sparked chaos throughout border control e-gate machines while more tech issues have slowed things down at the major port.

Passengers are having to stand in lengthy queues as staff are forced to carry out manual passport checks, leaving three-hour waits at Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted.

The e-gate malfunctions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton first began experiencing problems on Friday night.

Meanwhile, long traffic jams have formed at Dover as "IT issues" and high demand have left border staff overwhelmed.

Pictures showed frustrated holidaymakers queuing in their cars as tailbacks grew, while a crowd of caravans was backed up at a service station in Taunton, Devon, as staycationers rushed to Cornwall.

Lines of luggage-laden Brits were seen snaking through Manchester and Heathrow airports as they waited for hours for flights.

One air passenger tweeted at British Airways, saying: "currently sat in the middle of Heathrow Terminal 5 with three crying children because you've cancelled our flight with a few hours notice.

"What an absolute s*** show.

"The alternative you've offered is 29 hours later to a different airport. Fuming."

Another disgruntled customer added: "Disgusting service.

"Three hour delay...only to flu to Gatwick not Heathrow (we were told this 20 minutes before landing) so a fine could be avoided then told to get your own way to Heathrow.

The captain even joked about it. Not what you want at 2am."

BA replied to the second passenger with a link to their complaints page and apologised for the delay.

Port authorities in Dover have said that a technical issue with French border control has been worsened by "high volumes of tourist and freight traffic".

Ferry company DFDS tweeted: "Please be prepared with refreshments & use facilities before arriving at the port."

There are reportedly around 420 lorries in the area around the port awaiting access as problems mount.

Rail passengers are also being advised not to travel at all on Chiltern Railways today as "unprecedented demand" for this afternoon's play-off final between Coventry City and Luton Town has left the line "above capacity."

The operator has "strongly advised" those travelling to the game to seek "alternative transport options" and has offered refunds to those who choose not to travel after all.

Additionally, there is disruption on a number of train services in the North after a signal fault closed the lines at Leeds station.

National Rail has warned that services "may be cancelled, delayed by up to 60 minutes or revised as services return to normal".

The issues come just ahead of a wave of strikes affecting lines across the country, which are set to begin on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "We are aware of a nationwide border system issue affecting arrivals into the UK.

"We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and are liaising with port operators and airlines to minimise disruption for travellers."

One traveller arriving into Gatwick posted on social media: "Three hour delay.

"Flown to Gatwick instead of Heathrow with no warning and now @Gatwick_Airport can't process anything."

Another fed-up passenger added: "Total chaos at Gatwick Passport control.

"Queues of over an hour due to computer gates all unserviceable. Whoever is responsible needs to be fired."

One woman who landed into Heathrow this morning at around wrote: "Returning from Dubai overnight to this mother of queues.

"Apparently national outage in border control machines so manual passport checks.

"My plane landed at 6am, there is still a sea of people in front of me, passport checks are being done manually."

A spokesperson for Gatwick airport said: "Some passengers may experience delays at immigration due to a nationwide issue with UK Border Force e-gates.

"Our staff are working with UK Border Force - who operate passport control including the e-gates - to provide assistance to passengers where necessary."