Chaos at the airport took hold of the terminals again on Sunday when pictures appeared of customers who were forced to sleep on the floors, surrounded by meandering passenger queues and mountains with abandoned luggage.
The British have been warned to prepare for a summer of “massive disruption” after British Airways ground staff voted for strikes at the airline’s Heathrow hub.
But despite warnings of an impending crisis, it appears that photos taken on Sunday at British airports show the country’s travel hubs already in the eye of the storm.
The photos showed piles of bags blocked by ground staff at Heathrow terminal 2, and passengers forced to sleep on the floor at Manchester Airport.
More pictures in The sun showed people trying to sleep on the floor at London’s Stansted airport with their luggage in tow.
Complaints about huge queues at both airports flooded Twitter, with one user describing the scenes at the former as “chaotic”.
The incoming strike will involve an estimated 700 workers, which GMB Union said was “likely during the high summer holiday period”.
“Holidaymakers are facing massive disruption thanks to British Airways’ atrocities,” it said.
Meanwhile, No. 10 said that further strikes “will only increase the misery that passengers encounter at airports”. A spokesman promised “to look at what emergency measures BA could implement” to circumvent the action.
The current airport chaos, which has seen flight delays and cancellations, is “completely to do with Brexit”, the chief executive of the Ryanair airline said earlier this week.
Michael O’Leary said Brexit had been an “absorbing failure” and claimed labor shortages were behind the disruption at British airports – adding: “This government could not run a candy store.”
It came in response to comments from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who denied that Brexit was to blame for ongoing travel problems, and instead accused the airlines of “seriously overselling” flights since the Covid pandemic.
Asked about the minister’s comments, the outspoken Ryanair boss said Sky News: “It simply came to our notice then. Many of these key issues would be resolved very quickly if we could bring in European workers.
“We are hidden and disguised by a government that is so desperate to show that Brexit has been a success, when it has been an unimaginable failure. It will not allow us to bring in EU workers to do these jobs. “
He added: “If we can not attract people to do these jobs, such as baggage handling and airport security, we need to bring in workers from Ireland or the continent to do them – and Brexit is one of the big bugbears in the system.”
O’Leary warned that delays and cancellations will continue “all summer” as airports suffer from staff shortages.
He pointed to a lack of staff across air traffic control, baggage handling and security.
The airline chief said passengers should prepare for a “less than satisfactory experience”, with flight delays due to high season and some airlines canceling between 5 percent and 10 percent of flights.