A Southport mum who took her two children on holiday to Benidorm last week has warned others thinking of going abroad to be wary of airport chaos.
Worker shortages mean airports and ports are facing a “very difficult summer”, a border staff union had warned, a sentiment echoed by Birkdale resident Gill Farley.
She wrote to OTS News to say “dear editor, please inform anyone of your readers planning a foreign holiday in the near future to be wary of the incredible delays faced at airports.
“I saw on tiktok the queues at Manchester and I took my children five hours early to the airport terminal and it was chaos.
“I have never seen anything like it in my forty years of travelling. Nobody had a clue what was happening. We were lucky to make our flight.”
“Coming back our flight was delayed by two hours because we were still waiting for it to take off from Manchester coming the other way.”
Lucy Moreton, from the Immigration Services Union, warned that Border Force was “catastrophically under-staffed” and that it took nearly a year to fully train new officers.
Some travellers have seen long queues and cancellations over Easter.
The travel industry cut thousands of jobs during the pandemic, but as demand for flights has returned, it has struggled to recruit, carry out security checks and train new staff quickly enough.
“For the first time in living memory, Border Force is no longer attracting enough candidates to fill the vacancies that they’ve got,” Ms Moreton told the BBC.
“Combined with the fact it takes nearly a year to fully train a Border Force officer, we’re going into not just this summer but this weekend catastrophically under-staffed, with people beginning to travel again.”