Airport chaos gripped the terminals again on Sunday, as images emerged of customers forced to sleep on the floor surrounded by lines of passengers and mountains of abandoned luggage.
Brits have been warned to brace for a summer of “massive disruption” after British Airways ground staff voted to strike at the airline’s Heathrow hub.
But despite warnings of a looming crisis, photos taken at UK airports on Sunday appear to show the country’s travel hubs already in the eye of the storm.
The images showed stacks of bags being cordoned off by ground staff at Heathrow Terminal 2 and passengers being forced to sleep on the floor at Manchester Airport.
More pictures in The sun showed people trying to sleep on the floor of London’s Stansted Airport with their luggage in tow.
Complaints about enormous queues at both airports flooded Twitter, with one user describing the former’s scenes as “chaotic”.
An estimated 700 workers will be involved in the forthcoming strike action, which the GMB union says will take place “probably during the main summer holiday season”.
“Holidaymakers are facing massive disruption thanks to British Airways’ stubbornness,” it said.
Meanwhile, No10 said further strikes would “only increase the misery of passengers at airports”. A spokesman promised to “investigate what emergency measures BA could take” to circumvent the action.
The current airport chaos with flight delays and cancellations is “entirely to do with Brexit,” Ryanair said earlier this week.
Michael O’Leary said Brexit was a “pathetic failure” and claimed labor shortages were behind the disruptions at UK 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 airlines of “seriously overselling” flights since the Covid pandemic.
Asked about the minister’s comments, the outspoken Ryanair chief said Sky news: “It has everything to do with Brexit. Many of these bottlenecks would be solved very quickly if we could involve European workers.
“We are bound and paralyzed by a government so desperate to show that Brexit was a success when it was a miserable failure. It will not allow us to hire EU workers to do these jobs.”
He added: “If we can’t get people to do these jobs, like baggage handling or airport security, we have to hire workers from Ireland or the continent to do them – and Brexit is one of the big bugbears in the system .”
Mr O’Leary warned delays and cancellations would continue “all summer” as airports suffered from staff shortages.
He pointed to a staff shortage in air traffic control, baggage handling and security.
The airline boss said passengers should prepare for a “less than satisfactory experience” as flight delays persist through the peak season and some airlines cancel between 5 and 10 per cent of flights.