UK to face more travel disruption as travellers return from Easter getaways
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Some 3.96 million drivers are predicted to make their journeys on Monday, causing delays on many major routes, the RAC warned.
Lucie Spencer, 25, a salon owner from Lancashire, said her flight from Manchester Airport was held for over an hour due to apparent staff shortages.
She said: “Queues were very long, we were in Terminal 2. They moved consistently but slowly. The mood of the airport was generally calm but you could hear people moaning, of course, as it’s not fun standing in queues for so long.
“It’s definitely due to major staff shortage, TUI had basically no check-in desks open, just self check-in, which seemed to cause the huge queue. Security was then huge queues as there were only three of eight security lanes open.
“Queues to get in all bars and restaurants, meaning we had to give up on it so as to not miss our flight.
“Still sat on the plane, should have taken off at 8.30am but the luggage wasn’t loaded in time.”
A Tui spokesperson said: “We can confirm that unfortunately due to staff shortages at Manchester Airport today, some customers are experiencing longer-than-usual queue times at check-in. Please be assured that our teams are working as quickly as they can.
“We have contacted all customers due to depart in the next two weeks with advice on travelling with potential wait times in airports and have more information available on our website.”
Eurostar customers at Gare Du Nord in Paris also faced “nightmare” queues after a border control IT failure meant passengers could not board trains.
One passenger, Charlie Daffern, 36, from Cheltenham, said all trains had been delayed for at least an hour.
He told the PA news agency: “It’s a nightmare here. We have been standing in the queue for check-in/security for over an hour and a half. Probably another hour to go.
“People are becoming very restless and some people are panicking as they have flights to catch from Heathrow this afternoon. I take it all with a pinch of salt. The main problem is lack of communication.”
Planned engineering works on the UK rail network were also set to cause more delays for travellers.
Network Rail has been carrying out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83 million, which have meant the closure of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes for four days since Good Friday due to upgrades of the existing line and HS2 work.
Parts of the railway between Birmingham International station and Coventry have also been closed, along with lines around Crewe station.
The suspension of Dover-Calais sailings by P&O Ferries has led to a shortage of capacity on the key route and contributed to large queues of lorries on the roads approaching the Port of Dover in recent days.
To add further worry, supplies of petrol and diesel at filling stations in some areas of the country have been running at around half their usual level.