Passengers flying from Manchester Airport to Spain had to wait in crowded queues for more than three hours without “social distancing or air conditioning”.
Ian Gould was due to travel with his wife and two daughters but their flight was delayed due to the “outrageous” situation at the airport.
He said that seven out of the ten security gates were closed, and only one boarding pass was opened, resulting in “more and more” queues to reach more than 1,000 people.
Mr Gold blamed the problems on a “lack of staff” and said people on the waiting list were talking about cuts being made at the airport.
Manchester Airport has lost nearly 500 personnel of its workforce due to redundancy over the past 12 months due to reduced passenger numbers as a result of the pandemic and associated travel restrictions.
An airport spokesperson told MailOnline that the longer security queues were due to “larger-than-expected passenger numbers and a higher-than-normal employee absenteeism rate”.
Passengers traveling to Spain from the UK are currently required to fill out and sign an online health monitoring form, and must show the QR code, generated from the form, upon arrival at a Spanish airport.
Tourists in Spain must show proof that they have received at least two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, while EU citizens or accompanying EU citizens can provide alternative documentation for the vaccine certification.
Ian Gould said he and his family were forced to queue for more than three hours at Manchester Airport on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Gold, his wife and two daughters started lining up at Manchester Airport at 12pm today and arrived at the front three hours and 45 minutes later.
Calling it a “real shame,” Mr Gold said: “There are old people with canes and no place to sit, no ventilation, no social distancing.
“Seven of the 10 security gates are closed. That’s infuriating, it really is.
Everyone is next to each other. There is no air conditioning. It is burning. I’m angry about it. There are people in their 70s and 80s who are literally trying to run into their planes.
“The line kept growing and growing.”
Gould said only one gate was working, while all the others were closed.
He said his flight was scheduled to take off at 4.10pm, but had to be postponed until 5.45pm due to queues.
He added: ‘There was a man who had traveled to Saudi Arabia in a state of great panic because the flight had either gone or was about to leave.
A woman with two small children was trying to cross. It was just a disaster area.
‘this is important. We are talking about social distancing. It should run properly.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Mr Gold’s daughter, who asked not to be named, said immigration officials at the airport told her that “a significant number of staff” had been laid off and not replaced as the number of visitors increased.
She said, “The queues were crazy.
There are literally three hour wait times, no social distancing, no air conditioning, literally everyone smashed together.
They keep pulling people off queues whose flight queues are late.
“I was finally off the waiting list, but we were in it for more than three hours.”
Mr Gold said there was no possibility of social distancing in the waiting list and there was a lack of air conditioning. A Manchester Airport spokesman said the longer security queues were “due to more passengers than expected, and a higher-than-normal staff absenteeism rate”.
A Manchester Airport spokesperson today told MailOnline: “We have experienced, at times this weekend, longer security queues than we would like. This is due to a higher number of passengers than expected, and a higher than normal employee absenteeism rate.
Our customer service staff continues to do everything in their power to assist passengers.
Wherever possible, waiting list passengers are prioritized, but we understand that some people unfortunately miss their flights and we, along with their airlines, are working to support their subsequent flights as best we can.
Due to additional pre-departure checks, as countries update travel advisories, it is very important that passengers arrive at least three hours before the scheduled flight time if they have to check-in and drop bags. They can arrive 2 hours earlier if they are only traveling with hand luggage. Passengers should also familiarize themselves with the security rules, especially if they have not traveled for some time.
“We apologize to all those affected for any inconvenience they caused and are working to rectify the situation as soon as possible.”