A nationwide outage of the UK’s Border Force eGate system is causing lengthy and frustrating delays at immigration control posts at Heathrow and other airports across the country at the start of a busy Bank Holiday weekend.
The eGate system crashed on Friday night but had still not been fixed by Saturday morning, according to a Heathrow spokesperson, creating chaotic scenes as the first bank of international flights landed at the West London airport on Saturday.
The Border Force has deployed more than 270 eGates at around 15 air and rail ports, the majority of which are at Heathrow, to process British citizens, as well as citizens from across the European Union, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United States.
Frustrated passengers took to Twitter to complain about the long lines to get through the Border, claiming it was taking more than two hours to have their passports checked.
Photos shared by Twitter users showed passengers packed into corridors leading to crowded immigration halls at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Heathrow says it is offering water and snacks to affected passengers but the airport didn’t know when the UK’s beleaguered Border Force to have the eGate system back up and running.
The disruption comes just days after British Airways suffered its own IT outage on Thursday, which affected online check-in and several other systems. The airline said the majority of scheduled flights managed to depart despite the computer failure but around 200 flights were cancelled on Thursday and Friday,
A spokesperson for BA said the carrier had offered assistance to passengers who had to be rebooked onto alternative services.
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.