James Martin, 49, has taken to Twitter, where he has garnered more than 707,000 followers, to give his account of the current situation at Heathrow Airport. The Saturday Morning chef joined fellow travellers complaining of the long wait, describing it as “utter madness”.
He tweeted: “Wow never seen anything like Heathrow right now for passport control …
“Queues of 1000s probs 10,000 waiting for hours all stood together… utter madness …. (sic)”
Twitter users replied to James’ tweet sharing their own experiences.
One woman wrote: “I was in T2 a week ago.
“Stuffing everyone onto a tiny bus and refusing to leave until there’s 50 of us onboard.”
Another asked: “When int. arrivals (inc. elderly and children) spend five hours in the immigration queue in a poorly ventilated space, with no social distancing, food facilities or even seating, how does it affect the reputation of this airport and this country?”
Heathrow Airport addressed the issues via its official Twitter platform, in view of its 530,000 followers.
It explained that the border control area was run by Government officials, and the staff were not hired by the airport.
However, it stressed it had urged the UK Government to resolve the issue urgently.
It tweeted: “Waiting times at the border have on occasion been unacceptable and we have called on the UK Government to address the problem as a matter of urgency.
“Immigration desks/E-gates can only be operated by UK GOV officials – not airport staff.”
In response to a question on waiting times, it explained: “Unfortunately, we are unable to provide information in regards to immigration queue times on behalf of UK Border Force , who operate and manage our immigration halls.(sic)”