Passengers warned of minimum two-hour queues as passport staff strike over Christmas

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Passengers warned of minimum two-hour queues as passport staff strike over Christmas

EasyJet is warning passengers arriving in the UK over Christmas that they could be waiting more than two hours to have their passport checked.

In a travel update it said that long queues are expected at six UK airports due to passport staff walking out.

The Border Force strikes taking place from 23-25 December and 28-30 December will affect passengers arriving at London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester airports.

EasyJet said there could also be some disruption on 26 and 31 December.

It told passengers: “We’ve been advised that queues at passport control could be more than 2 hrs long, for all passengers arriving into the UK at Gatwick, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester Airport.

“If you’re due to fly with us over this period, we’ll work hard to keep you informed and make your trip as easy as possible this Christmas.”

It is advising passengers to make sure their phones are charged, they carry essential medication in their hand luggage and have ‘something enjoyable’ to read or watch while they wait.

Those who usually travel only with ID are advised to bring a passport if they have one so they can use eGates.

Passengers who’d like to change their travel plans to avoid strike dates are advised to contact easyJet asap.  

Our team will be happy to offer you some alternative options such as changing your flight dates fee-free 14 days either side of the strike dates or providing a flight voucher for the full value of your booking,” added easyJet.

Meanwhile, Manchester Airport has insisted to Travel Gossip today that it is now expecting to operate its full schedule during the strike days, despite previously warning that it was expecting cancellations.

A Manchester Airport spokesperson told Travel Gossip: “We now have an understanding from UKBF (Border Force) on how much resource they can provide and we no longer expect that any services will need to be cancelled.”

In an online statement, it said: “The industrial action will take place on 23, 24, 25, 26 and 28, 29, 30 and 31 December, during which time we will continue to operate our full flight schedule. We do not anticipate the need for cancellations and passengers do not need to change their travel plans, unless advised otherwise by their airline.

“There is a likelihood that waiting times at the Border will be – at times – longer than usual on these days, and we will provide whatever support we can to ensure passengers’ arrival back into Manchester is as smooth as possible.”

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