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Covid: Travellers complain of queues and ‘chaos’ at airports as thousands jet off for

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Travellers have complained about “total chaos” at airports with hundreds of thousands of people jetting off as schools close and summer holidays begin for millions.

Airports and airlines are expecting their busiest weekend of the year, with Heathrow Airport expecting to welcome about 128,000 passengers on Saturday and Sunday, down from pre-pandemic daily volumes of around 230,000 to 260,000 in July 2019.

Its chief executive John Holland-Kaye said additional staff would be on hand to ensure passengers have a “smooth journey”.

But Fiona Brett, a violinist travelling to Frankfurt with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, said she had to queue for two hours to check in to her flight from London Heathrow on Saturday morning.

Ms Brett, from Watlington, Oxfordshire, said she had checked in online but then had to show her Covid vaccination certificate to staff, adding that the “total chaos” resulted in her 9.30am flight being delayed.

“They were constantly calling people out of the queue for the next flight that was closing,” she said.

“Actually it would have been better to turn up at 8.30 and get called from the back of the queue to the front – total chaos.

“When I finally managed to check in (15 mins after the flight should have closed) the security queues were non existent and there was virtually no one airside in the terminal.

“I believe the queues were caused not by too many people but by the airlines having to do all the extra checks before properly checking in.”

Other passengers took to social media to complain about queues at London Stansted, with one describing the scenes as “chaotic”.

Twitter user Dr Robert Baunsbak Coull said: “@Ryanair totally unacceptable scenes at Stanstead Airport with total lack of staff on the ground, queues of lost passengers and chaotic scenes. #superspreader #covid19.”

Another Twitter user, Lily McMyn, posted images of crowds of people and added: “@STN_Airport shocking, chaos and bedlam.”

Manchester Airports Group said it is expecting 958 flights at Manchester Airport from Friday to Monday, 224 at East Midlands Airport and 1,330 at London Stansted.

This is up from the 632, 177 and 735 respectively during the same weekend last year, but still well below the 2,512 at Manchester, 503 at East Midlands and 2,139 at London Stansted in July 2019.

Meanwhile Gatwick Airport said it expects to see around 250 to 260 flights and between 25,000 to 27,000 passengers a day over the weekend, up from a low of just 15 flights a day at the height of the pandemic.

The airport said flight numbers are still far below the 950 per day at this time of year pre-Covid.


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A spokesman said: “Our passengers are now able to choose from flights to more than 100 destinations in over 30 countries so we’re expecting our busiest weekend of the year so far.

“We will handle over 250 each day, with locations in Spain and Greece particularly popular.”

Airline easyJet said it is preparing to carry more than 135,000 passengers this weekend from the UK on over 80 routes to green and amber-list destinations across Europe.

In total there will be 251 easyJet flights taking to the skies, with popular destinations including Malta, Madeira, Malaga in Spain, Faro and Lisbon in Portugal, and Corfu and Athens in Greece, the airline added.

Green list travel: What you need to know

What are the latest countries added to the UK’s green list?

Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Croatia and Taiwan are the latest countries to be added, as of 4am on 19 June.

What does it mean when a country is on the green list?

People who are travelling to countries on the green list will still need to take a Covid test up to 72 hours before they return to the UK and a single PCR test on or before day two of their arrival into the UK – but you do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

Children aged four and under are exempt from the test.

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Do I need to quarantine or take a test on arrival to Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta or Madeira?

Bulgaria

Bulgaria has a similar green, amber and red travel system to that of the UK.

The UK is currently amber on Bulgaria’s list.

This means if you are entering Bulgaria from the UK you must present one of three documents.

First, a vaccination certificate indicating an approved vaccine schedule has been completed at least 14 days before arrival.

Second, a document showing a positive result from a PCR or rapid antigen test for people who have recovered from Covid-19.

Third, a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours before entry into Bulgaria or a rapid antigen test performed up to 48 hours before entry.Additionally, at least 5% of all arrivals from amber countries will be subject to a rapid antigen test at random.

Croatia

To avoid quarantine in Croatia you must present a negative Covid-19 antigen or PCR test, or proof of vaccination, or a doctor’s certificate of recovery following a positive test result between 11 and 180 days prior.

To enter via proof of vaccination you must have had either a two-dose vaccine course from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Gamaleya or Sinopharm or a certificate of receipt of a one-dose vaccine such as the Johnson & Johnson jab.

Croatia will accept the NHS Covid pass both as a letter or via the app.Children under 12 are exempt from the requirements.

If you have not got any of the accepted ways of gaining entry, a test can be taken upon arrival in Croatia but you will have to self-isolate until you have the result.

Malta

No – the only reason you…



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2021-07-24 21:01:01

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