Chaos at Dover while BA customers slam 'pandemonium' at Heathrow

It’s the start of summer travel chaos season! Holidaymakers miss their ferries amid two hour queue chaos at Dover while BA customers slam ‘total pandemonium’ at Heathrow as systems failure stops passengers getting boarding passes

  • Complete gridlock at Dover airport resulted in passengers missing their sailings 
  • At Heathrow, passengers’ boarding passes were rejected after system crashed
  • Was YOUR summer travel affected? Email [email protected] 

Holidaymakers have been hit by severe delays at Dover while British Airways customers slammed ‘total pandemonium’ at Heathrow on Friday morning after a systems failure rejected their boarding passes.

The Port of Dover warned passengers of ‘strong volumes of tourist traffic’, adding that processing times at the French border are two hours for coaches and 90 minutes for cars. 

Pictures show complete gridlock at the port, with passengers resorting to getting out of their vehicles amid the chaotic scenes. One frustrated man was pictured standing on his car roof, glaring across a sea of cars in front. 

Furious holidaymakers vented on social media with one user posting: ‘Heads up for all folk using Dover Port today; there are delays!!!!! We’ve queued for over an hour now and still not gone through passport control!!!!! Not good enough @PoD_travelnews’. A second tweet said: ‘Now missed our 09.55 sailing!!’

Another warned that they had experienced a 90 minute delay which caused them to miss their ferry. ‘Dismal get your act in order port of Dover passport control, they added.’ 

The start of summer travel chaos comes amid fears that up to three in ten European flights this summer may be at risk of being delayed or cancelled after air traffic controllers warned they would strike. 

Holidaymakers are facing the start of summer travel chaos amid queues of up to two hours at Dover

The Port of Dover has warned passengers of ‘strong volumes of tourist traffic’ amid travel chaos

One frustrated man was pictured standing on his car roof, glaring across a sea of cars in front


Furious holidaymakers complained that the long queues forced them to miss their sailings, while the Port of Dover warned of major delays

Today, Heathrow Airport admitted that passengers who were affected by a systems failure were forced to leave security to go back and get new boarding passes, but that it didn’t stop them travelling as normal. 

British Airways, which flies passengers to over 115 destinations from Terminal 5 and 19 destinations from Terminal 3, confirmed that its passengers had been affected but that all companies using the crashed system were also impacted. 

SITA, whose system is used to check more than 700 million passengers’ travel documents each year, went down this morning and caused disruption to holidaymakers.

Their IATA Timatic application allows airlines and airport staff to accurately provide travel rules when booking a trip and to check if passengers meet the entry requirements at departure by checking documents such as visas.

In response to the system failure at Heathrow Airport, Dr Steve Fawkes said: ‘Total pandemonium @HeathrowT5 @British_Airways systems down, people eventually getting boarding passes & then security not recognising them. 

‘Son got through but not 13 year old with him. Been waiting 10-15 mins with them on opposite sides of security. Total farce.’

Meanwhile, Phil Dobbie said: ‘Big computer problems for @britishairways at Heathrow. Lots of boarding passes being rejected, checking not working, massive queues, only a couple of people dealing with it.’

British Airways passengers were among several holidaymakers affected by a third-party systems failure this morning

Heathrow Airport admitted that some passengers were forced to leave security to go back and get new boarding passes, but that it didn’t stop them travelling as normal. (File image of Heathrow)

A third, Joanne Harris, said: ‘Heathrow T5 is chaos again – check-in kiosks not working and huge long queues for bag drop.’

And a fourth, Amy, said: ‘@British_Airways what is going on at Heathrow?? Are the systems down? Got 2 family members waiting in the departure lounge and another in the long queue trying to drop bags and meet the other 2 in time for their flights at 11.30am.’

SITA, Heathrow and British Airways all insisted that only a small number of passengers were impacted.

A spokesman for SITA said: ‘Early this morning a disruption impacted customers of the IATA Timatic application used to check travel documents. By 07:00 GMT the service was restored.’

Meanwhile, British Airways said that a ‘third-party issue affecting a number of airlines was resolved earlier this morning and we used back-up processes during this period, with no impact to our flights.’

Heathrow insisted that the airport is ‘flowing as normal today’, adding that there were ‘no security queues and plenty of passengers getting ready for their summer getaway’.

It comes after fears holidaymakers would be hit by delays at Heathrow across summer were eased amid threatened strike action. 

Holidaymakers slammed ‘total pandemonium’ at Heathrow Airport this morning after a systems failure stopped them from getting through security as their boarding passes were rejected

Heathrow security staff last month called off their 29 strike days over summer after voting to accept a pay offer. 

The union said that workers had voted to accept a pay increase worth between 15.5 per cent and 17.5 per cent.

However, there is still a threat that hundreds of thousands of flights across Europe this summer could be in jeopardy as air traffic controllers vowed to take strike action.

Up to 12,600 flights each day could be delayed or cancelled as a result of the action from Eurocontrol – which manages European airspace.

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