Airlines Tui and EasyJet have both had to cancel flights from the airport and queues as long as eight hours have been reported with ‘children in tears’ and stressed mums and dads tearing their hair out.
On Sunday, hundreds of TUI passengers were left stunned after receiving a text message informing them that their trips were cancelled.
Tui reported today (Tuesday) that they will cancel six flights a day until the end of June, which it blamed on staff shortages at Manchester Airport.
Around two million people are set to fly over the bank holiday in one of the busiest periods so far this year.
Bosses have explained previously that they are undergoing a recruitment drive to help cope with a spike in demand for travel, but that it takes time to get new staff trained and in place.
Lancashire travellers caught up in the nightmare took to social media to air their disgust at the situation.
Steven Keen said: “The situation at Manchester Airport is terrible. It took over an hour to clear security but that was only the start of the delays. The shelves are empty in the shops most food outlets closed. We have been sat on the Ryanair Flight FR9073 to Alicante for over two hours without taking off. This flight was due to take off at 20.30 and now 23.34 we are still sat in the plane on the ground. The captain says it is due to shortage of staff on the ground to remove luggage and put on our luggage. Children are crying. Every one is tired hungry and thirsty. We have not been offered any water. It’s a complete mess. I don’t know how many other flights are affected but judging by the crowds and lack of organization - a lot.”
James Rodger said: “Flew out of Manchester yesterday, the departure lounge was an absolute disgrace. Families with small children having to sit on the floor for 6/7/8 hours due to delayed flights. Absolutely massive queues maybe half the length of the terminal to get a drink at the bar or something to eat at one of the few food outlets that were open. It was appalling!”
Nicola Louise said: “Yes it is disgusting the way Manchester airport is running. We had a 36hr delay and finally got to Rhodes after lots of tears and stress and they have lost my suitcase! Nobody to speak to or give updates. Simply not enough staff at the airport.”
Thomas Connelly said: “Flights in and out of Manchester both delayed. And if you're traveling with wheelchair assistance, they're also massively understaffed. When we landed they had one member of staff to push five wheelchairs. I ended helping the poor lass out.”
Natasha Etherington said: “I thought (hoped) it was media hype but we had the worst and most stressful experience we’ve ever had! And our friends were due to fly on Sunday were delayed further and further until Tui cancelled it altogether yesterday afternoon. Awful.”
Kaylee Summers said: “Flight to Mexico on 2nd May was delayed for 24 Hours! With TUI… absolutely awful!”
Margaret McLaughlin said: “Haven't flown since 2019 and not planning to till next year at the earliest. A wise decision I think for many reasons.”
On Tuesday morning (31 May), passengers at Terminal One reported long queues from 4am but said they were generally moving and they had managed to clear security in time to make their flights.
At Terminal Two this morning, passengers reported getting through security checks within 30 minutes, but those who had to drop bags off first estimated the whole process had taken them about 90 minutes. However, there seems to be varying experiences between airlines, with Jet2 passengers saying bag-drop had been quieter than lines for TUI flights.
At Terminal Three this morning, travellers said it was extremely busy in Departures, with some reckoning it took them three hours in total to check-in, drop bags and clear security.
Meanwhile, Arrivals passengers said they had been waiting up to two hours for luggage to arrive on the belts.
Manchester Airport apologised for delays in a statement posted on Twitter.
"We are aware of challenge being faced by a number of airlines and handling agents, which is leading to delays at check-in and baggage reclaim for some passengers.
"Airlines and their ground handlers are responsible for their own check-in and baggage handling services.
"Passengers are advised to direct any questions or concerns about these issues, or anything relating to their flight, to their airline, who will be best placed to respond. However, this is not the experience we want passengers to have at Manchester Airport and we are sorry to hear customers have faced disruption.
"We are in contact with the senior management teams of the relevant airlines and ground handlers to understand the cause of these issues, and to support their efforts to resolve them as quickly as possible. Our colleagues are on hand in the terminal to provide assistance to customers and we are working hard to ensure security waiting times are as quick as possible.
"It remains our advice that passengers should arrive three hours before their flight and be as prepared as they can be for their journey through the airport."