‘Human fog’: Massive queues as electronic gates break down at UK airports and people are stranded on planes | Scientific and technological news

A ‘human traffic jam’ has formed at Heathrow as crowds of people struggle to clear customs after electronic gates failed, with some getting stuck on their planes due to the number of people inside.

The unspecified technical issue has been confirmed to have affected other airports including Edinburgh and Manchester. Queues are growing as more and more planes continue to land at airports.

In a statement to Sky News, Heathrow said the issue had impacted Border Force “eGates”, which are operated by the Home Office, and affect a number of ports of entry.

One person complained at the airport on Twitter: “Please organize. We have been queuing in front of customs in a queue for over half an hour, far from the front and customs are full.

The long lines at Heathrow were caused by the drop in electronic gates

“Terrible service. We got through the Calgary airport in 10 minutes. You should be ashamed of yourself,” they added.

Others shared photos of long lines at other air and rail ports, including Manchester, where despite the crowds wearing face masks, there was no room to socially distance themselves.

“Shocking queues at Terminal 5 this morning! Why aren’t the e-gates open ?! Like arriving in a third world country!” said another.

Documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux called the line at Heathrow a “human traffic jam” and a passenger told Sky News it took them three hours between wheels and baggage claim.

A passenger told Sky News his plane was parked in the airport taxi lane, with its engines turned off.

Those on board that flight were told the plane could not approach the doors due to “a total system failure across the UK”.

The airport said on Twitter that “wait times are at unacceptable levels” and added that it called on the government “to resolve the problem urgently”, and told passengers “we appreciate your patience “.

Brigitte Fink complained: “The arriving passengers had to stand in the transit tunnel of Terminal 5, crowded together, without ventilation because border control had a queue of more than 160 minutes.

Even with the failure of the electronic system, the handling of the situation by Heathrow and border control went from bad to worse with passengers stuck in the transit tunnels. ‘water,’ Ms. Fink added.

In a statement to Sky News, an airport spokesperson said: “We are aware of a systems failure affecting the electronic gates, which are managed and operated by Border Force.

“This issue impacts a number of ports of entry and is not an isolated issue at Heathrow,” they added.

Sky News political correspondent Joe Pike said his flight was finally cleared to disembark an hour and 40 minutes after landing.

Edinburgh Airport has confirmed that it is among the affected airports.

A spokesperson for the Home Office told Sky News: “This afternoon a technical issue affected eGates in a number of ports. The problem was quickly identified and is now resolved.”

Despite the resolution of the technical issue, long queues remain, with a number of passengers complaining that they have been told to stay on their planes rather than disembark and experience the “hellish” conditions inside. airports.

“We have worked hard to minimize the disruption and apologize to all passengers for the inconvenience,” the Interior Ministry continued.

They declined to respond to how the department would seek to help deal with passengers trapped inside their planes and declined to identify the cause of the incident.

Passengers always land at Heathrow and are told the security lines are too long to allow people to disembark immediately.

Border Force has more than 270 eGates in 15 air and rail ports across the country “to enable faster travel to the UK,” he says.

The blackout follows further criticism of the Border Force at Heathrow Airport after delays earlier this month, this time believed to be caused by low numbers.

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