A PREGNANT woman fainted as OAPs and families with babies were among those reportedly forced to queue for up to five hours at Heathrow Airport.
Furious holidaymakers faced a fifth day of chaos amid issues with eGates and staffing at Europe’s busiest airport – while a man was pictured collapsed on the floor today.
Brits claim they were crammed into hallways with no social distancing and made to walk long distances as shuttles weren’t available.
The Home Office, which has blamed understaffing, denied claims of five-hour queues. One official said the longest delay at Terminal 5 yesterday was an hour and 15 minutes.
But tourists returning home say the disruption at immigration has caused nightmare delays.
And the mayhem worsened because families with children under 12 can’t use eGates – causing havoc for people returning from their first holidays abroad since lockdown.
Passengers claim they were “stranded” in poorly-ventilated hallways with no access to water or toilets.
One holidaymaker, Sonny Singh, told Sky News he saw a pregnant woman pass out while in the queue on Friday night.
“There were thousands of families queuing and just two people in booths up front checking documents,” he claimed.
“Children were screaming and crying.”
A new photo has emerged today showing a male traveller lying face-down on the floor of the airport.
Travel firms have warned the queues are damaging the appeal of breaks in the UK, while Tory MPs have joined the backlash against continuing border chaos at the airport.
Photos show travellers with carry-on waiting in long lines with their masks on.
Some took to social media to air their frustrations, with one passenger writing on Twitter: “Families with children, pregnant ladies and old folks – everyone had to wait. Is that human?”
‘PREGNANT WOMAN COLLAPSED’
Another photo taken inside the airport shows a huge queue of people with children waiting to show their passports – while eGates nearby stand empty.
One passenger told MailOnline: “The queues have been three to five hours long for immigration.
“I landed in Terminal 5 and the transit train wasn’t working so we had to walk in a tunnel for about 20 minutes with no ventilation.
“We’ve been in a queue for two to three hours already, but some have been told the wait is up to five hours – with families and babies stuck in the queue.”
Another said “really young children and old people” were walking long distances as shuttle trains are out of service.
“There are no toilets between the gates and passport control. No water, no social distancing,” they said.
“Absolute incompetence from UK Border Force and Heathrow Airport.
“Run an airport? They don’t have enough competence and intelligence to run a bath.”
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith told the publication the situation was “madness”, adding: “If it carries on like this Heathrow will cease to be a hub airport and Britain will be left in the backwash as an irrelevant country.”
A Home Office spokesman said their priority is “protecting the safety and health of the public” – meaning they “will never compromise on security”.
“Passengers will need to accept an increase in the time taken to cross the border,” he said.
“The rollout of upgrades to our eGates to automate checks for health requirements is ongoing, with many eGates already in operation and more to be added over the coming months to increase automated checks on passengers at airports.
Run an airport? They couldn’t run a bath
“However, for safeguarding reasons families with children under the age of 12 are not permitted to use the eGates.”
Heathrow has laid all the blame for the chaos on the Government.
A spokesperson blamed “unacceptable queueing times in immigration” on “too few Border Force officers on duty”.
She claimed the Home Office “were aware of the extra demand” and said airport chiefs are “disappointed”.
Meanwhile, the situation will be little better for families enjoying a last-minute staycation.
The UK will see soaring temperatures tomorrow and into next week – with huge delays expected on roads across the south-west.
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