Popular destination airports are seeing long delays as entry rules are tightened
BRITS on holiday are being forced to wait for up to four hours at European airports in sweltering temperatures due to tougher border controls.
Popular destination airports are seeing long delays as entry rules are tightened, reports the Times.
People have been reportedly told to expect queues for hundreds of metres in popular airports such as Paris and Madrid.
The checks are for people entering and leaving – meaning those coming from the UK and then returning to Britain will struggle for a quick airport experience.
The problem is being caused by time-consuming border checks on travellers – which were introduced after European terror attacks – and is being made worse by a shortage of border officials, according to airline insiders.
Tourists heading to major airports such as Paris, Madrid, Palma, Lisbon, Milan and Brussels are urged to prepare for lengthy waits upon arrival and again at departure.
One unlucky traveller was Nicki Gillon from Manchester, who witnessed people fainting at Majorca’s Palma Airport because of a long wait in stifling temperatures.
The 36-year-old stylist said: “It was insane.
“There were around 2,000 people waiting to go through immigration.
“People were collapsing, there was no air conditioning in the tunnel.
“It was just crazy.”
Airport sources told The Times the chaos has been sparked by the introduction of new EU rules tightening-up controls in the Schengen area – the border free zone within Europe.
The UK is outside the zone, so Brits face extra entry and exit checks alongside travellers from other non-Schengen countries, and each passenger must wait for their details to be checked against a series of databases to check for any security concerns.
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The Association of British Travel Agents said that it was “aware that new, stricter passport checks are resulting in longer queues at some airports”.
In a statement, it added: “Tour operators will ensure that customers get to the airport in plenty of time so that they are not in danger of missing their flights.
“However, independent travellers will need to check the situation with their airlines and, where necessary, ensure they factor these longer queuing times into their travel plans when flying in and out of the airport.”
But many travellers said they were unaware of the long queues and the extra time needed to get through some airports.
Some even said they had missed their flights due to being in line for more than 90 minutes to simply get through border control.
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