Chaos has once again descended on Bristol Airport, with one exhausted passenger even ‘passing out’ amid delayed flights, mammoth queues, ‘screaming kids’ and three-hour-long waits for luggage.
Complaints flooded social media this morning (Monday, May 16) after customers were left waiting for take off on ‘sweltering’ planes and people slept on the floor while waiting hours for their bags to emerge.
Bristol Airport has apologised to customers for the ‘above average’ queue and baggage delays, adding that passenger numbers had spiked since the end of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
It follows a similar spate of problems throughout the month, sparking fears about how the airport will cope with the upcoming summer rush.
Passenger ‘passes out’ on ‘sweltering’ plane
Among those affected this morning was Katie Harris, who said she was stuck in a check in queue for two and a half hours with ‘zero communications’ after her flight with TUI was delayed by four hours.
Ms Harris told BristolWorld that when she finally made it onto the plane, it was ‘sweltering’ and a fellow passenger even ‘passed out’ from the heat as the plane stood in situ for an extra hour.
She said: “No air conditioning. All sweating, been offered a dribble of water.”
Arriving at the airport this morning, Paul Read said he had been left ‘disgusted’ and would ‘avoid’ the airport in future after waiting for 30 minutes to be let off the plane and then waiting over an hour for his luggage.
Elderly couple wait for bags ‘for over three hours’
Another woman also branded operations at the baggage claim ‘an absolute shambles’ after her elderly parents landed an hour late at 6am only to be left waiting for over three hours for their suitcases.
Customers reported that staff appeared to be in ‘short supply’, despite over 30 flights scheduled to leave the airport this morning.
Christopher Chattwood said he had arrived on a flight from Lanarca at 5.40am to be told that was ‘no one was available’ to remove luggage from the plane.
“No communication, kids screaming and people asleep on the floor. Absolute shambles in here. How can you get it so wrong?” he tweeted.
What Bristol Airport said
A spokesperson for Bristol Airport said: “We apologise to customers impacted by above average queue and baggage delays experienced [this morning].
“We work closely with all business partners and airline handling agents to ensure staffing levels are sufficient to provide a good service to passengers.
“However, aircraft arriving off-schedule and staff shortages can impact on waiting times and service standards.
“We constantly review resourcing across all areas and adapt plans to meet demand and build in resilience where possible.”
The spokesperson added that the airport had seen a ‘strong increase’ in passenger numbers since Covid-19 restrictions came to an end.
They added: “There is a huge pent-up demand for travel which has built up over the past two years during the pandemic and we are expecting a busy summer.
“We appreciate the frustration experienced by customers currently and please be reassured our teams are working exceptionally hard to assist customers throughout the airport journey.
“All business partners are continuing to recruit and train new colleagues, but this takes time.”
Advice for passengers
Staff are currently advising customers to check with the airline when their check-in/ bag drop desk opens and arrive in the terminal to allow sufficient time to complete all the necessary check-in, bag-drop, security, and boarding processes ahead of their flight.
To help with queues, the airport is also urging people to come prepared for security by having their belt removed and liquids and laptops in separate bags.