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I investigated UK’s most chaotic airports – cancelled flights and endless queues are just the tip of what I discovered

In the summer of unprecedented travel turmoil, distraught vacationers were helpless when lines meandered into the airport parking lot and the flight was cancelled.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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In the summer of unprecedented travel turmoil, distraught vacationers stood helplessCredit: LNP
The queue meandered to the airport parking lot and the flight was cancelled

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The queue meandered to the airport parking lot and the flight was cancelledCredit: LNP

For the past few weeks, I’ve been investigating what’s wrong with the airport.

As a result, Airport Chaos Undercover: Dispatches should be seen by anyone planning to fly abroad.

Whistleblowers say pilots are under pressure to fly when they are tired.

We directly witness the frustration of overworked baggage handlers to buckle under pressure.

Passengers board the plane too early, resulting in a long line at the airport at 4:30 am
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You can see the despair of passengers whose long-awaited holidays are ruined by delays and cancellations.

We also hear claims that some airlines are ignoring customer calls to avoid paying compensation.

Since January, 1.7 million people entering and leaving the UK have been affected by cancellations within 48 hours of their flight, according to a study conducted by air travel data provider OAG on dispatch.

Melissa Robinson from Leeds was one of her family and friends when she canceled a TUI flight from Manchester after spending two years planning a dream wedding in Cyprus.

They rebooked a flight from Doncaster to Wizz Air, but it was also cancelled. Others had to travel to Gatwick and Bristol for exchange flights.

Luggage mountain

“My mother-in-law was little by little,” says Melissa, 39. “I was crying.”

The wedding went on, but not before paying nearly £ 4,000 to take everyone there.

The TUI said the flight was delayed due to a “baggage handling issue”, apologized and refunded the alternative flight.

Baggage handling is an important factor in whether a flight arrives at the scheduled departure slot, and as we saw at Heathrow, when passengers fly or return home without a case, a pile of baggage You may not be charged.

Manchester Airport is the third busiest airport in the UK and typically handles about 27 million passengers annually.

However, it was virtually suspended during the pandemic, and when the travel ban was lifted in March, it was clearly unprepared.

Swissport also loaded luggage to several airlines across the country, but cut more than half of its 6,000 ground handling staff when Covid struck.

Undercover investigator dispatch reporters worked with them at Manchester Airport. Hidden camera footage shows the frustration of an overwork handler who starts at 3am and receives a payment of £ 9.67 per hour. This is only 17p higher than the national living wage.

“It’s causing confusion here … literally no staff,” says someone who’s struggling to carry a large suitcase on their own.

Since January, 1.7 million people entering and leaving the UK have been affected by cancellations within 48 hours of their flight, according to a study conducted by air travel data provider OAG on dispatch.

Another told him: .. .. When the pandemic occurred, they removed most of them. “

Flight was delayed due to baggage jam, bag including cabin crew bag was not in time, priority bag was thrown into a general box, desperate passengers poked their heads from the conveyor belt hatch in search of suitcases I saw the video. A baggage handler at Manchester Airport said: People try to get through and start fighting. “

At the end of his two-week mission, our reporter concluded: It’s absolutely brutal and no one gives them a lot of credit. “

Swissport said it has employed more than 4,100 people nationwide since January.

On July 2nd, I flew from Manchester Airport to Corfu and filmed the experience.

The easyJet bag drop queue started in the parking lot and took an hour and a half to get out. The queue for passing security was even worse.

Recent passenger footage of pilots helping to load bags on planes at Manchester and Edinburgh airports shows that they are just as frustrated by the turmoil this summer as anyone else, and Some say they are under pressure to fly when they feel tired.

The Civil Aviation Authority regulates pilots’ working hours and is personally responsible for not flying if suspected of being dangerously tired.

But when talking to Dispatch, one Wizz Air pilot tells us:

“They really don’t care”

“We are under pressure to help by flying on holidays .. Also, a summer bonus scheme that encourages pilots to fly more time.

“If you are tired, you can report your illness, but doing so will cost you financially.

It causes confusion here. .. ..Literally no staff

Manchester Airport Baggage Handler

“There is no culture of thinking that you can say.”

Wizz Air disagrees with this as “hearsay.”

And what about the shortage of flight attendants?

Olivia Kerr has been working as a BA flight attendant for 22 years and was told to accept or be fired at a 40% wage cut to £ 17,000 a year during a pandemic, so one in 50. A person is taking me to court. ..

“It was a major reduction,” says Olivia, who is now out of the industry.

The BA said most of the redundancy was voluntary, despite the £ 4 billion loss that was rebuilt to survive. I will not comment on Olivia’s ongoing proceedings.

And then there is passport management. It explained that Home Secretary Priti Patel recently operated in a “unsustainable and highly inefficient way.”

An employee of the Heathrow border unit said: “There are no staff, no resources, no IT … If the electronic gate collapses, it will have a big impact.”

He added that with the return of pre-pandemic summer traffic levels, “current staffing would result in significantly longer queues than three hours.”

And, as we’ve learned, getting compensation for delays and cancellations isn’t as easy as it sounds.

which? Rory Boland, editor of the company, said:

“They care about whipping you cheap tickets. You can’t be in a situation where passengers say these are your rights, but passengers force them because the airlines can’t contact you. Can’t be. “

So when and how will air travel return to normal?

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Obviously, that means paying more to bring people back into the sector, which can result in more expensive airfares.

But if it’s a way to avoid queues, delays, and cancellations, it’s probably a price worth paying.

  • Airport Chaos Undercover: Dispatch, 8 pm tonight, Channel 4.
On July 2nd, I flew from Manchester Airport to Corfu and filmed the experience.

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On July 2nd, I flew from Manchester Airport to Corfu and filmed the experience.Credit: Quicksilver Media
The easyJet bag drop queue started in the parking lot and took an hour and a half to get out.

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The easyJet bag drop queue started in the parking lot and took an hour and a half to get out.Credit: Reuters
Melissa Robinson from Leeds planned a dream wedding in Cyprus for two years so that only family and friends could cancel the TUI flight from Manchester.

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Melissa Robinson from Leeds planned a dream wedding in Cyprus for two years so that only family and friends could cancel the TUI flight from Manchester.Credits: Channel 4

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