There was just one Border Force officer on duty to process thousands of passengers arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport on Saturday morning claimed tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail which cited some witnesses who had waited for over three hours to cross the border.
The newspaper called the scenes ‘Bedlam at the Border’ which are believed to have been caused in part by England’s ‘pingdemic’ in which more than 600,000 people in one week have been ordered to self-isolate through the NHS contact tracing app.
Fears of food shortages and fuel rationing have forced the government to release some essential workers from quarantine but surging infection rates have led to a high number of absences.
By Saturday afternoon the situation appeared to have improved with few complaints about lengthy wait times from arriving passengers.
The government previously tried to discourage travellers from going on international trips by saying they could face queue times of up to six hours to cross the border on their return as border officials would be manually checking COVID-19 travel documentation like test certificates and passenger locator forms.
In recent weeks, however, ministers have dropped that policy with the exception of arrivals from high-risk Red List countries. Some scientists are concerned the more relaxed approach could increase the risk of COVID-19 variants being imported.
Heathrow says it expects this weekend to be the busiest since the start of the pandemic as travel restrictions are rolled back for fully vaccinated travellers.
Passengers have previously complained about the lack of social distancing while waiting to cross the border. The British government has resolved that issue by dropping social distancing and face mask rules in England.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
Perhaps the minister responsible (Priti (awful) Patel) at the Home Office needs to consider properly resourcing borderforce and the other agencies responsible for law and order?
Just this week, the Police federation themselves gave a vote of no confidence in her leadership!
Frankly, another example of the incompetence and self interest of the current administration and an embarrassment to the UK, as the profiteering British division of the Spanish multinational which trades under a name implying that they’re a flag carrier, whilst their real world customer and employee actions demonstrate that they are anything but and have disdain for both groups, profit at *any* cost being their only objective.
* = any cost inc. acting unlawfully, intentionally making it difficult for customers to communicate with the organisation and actively publishing misleading information designed to trick people out of their legal rights as consumers.