Travelers have complained of “total chaos” at airports with hundreds of thousands are flying away as schools close and summer vacation begins for millions.
Airports and airlines are expecting their busiest weekend of the year, with heathrow airport expecting to accommodate around 128,000 passengers on Saturday and Sunday, down from pre-pandemic daily volumes of around 230,000 to 260,000 in July 2019.
Its chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said additional staff would be available to ensure passengers a “smooth journey”.
But Fiona Brett, a violinist traveling to Frankfurt with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, said she had to wait in line for two hours to check in for her flight from London Heathrow on Saturday morning.
Ms Brett, from Watlington, Oxfordshire, said she checked in online but then had to show staff her Covid vaccination certificate, adding that ‘utter chaos’ resulted in her flight being delayed to 9:30 am.
“They were constantly calling people out of the line for the next flight that was closing,” she said.
“In fact, it would have been better to show up at 8:30 am and be called from the back of the line up front – total chaos.
“When I finally managed to check in (15 minutes after the flight closed), the security lines were non-existent and there was hardly anyone airside in the terminal.
“I think the queues were not caused by too many people, but by the airlines having to do all the extra checks before checking in properly. “
Other passengers have taken to social media to complain about the queues at London Stansted, with one calling the scenes ‘chaotic’.
Twitter user Dr Robert Baunsbak Coull said: “@Ryanair totally unacceptable scenes at Stanstead Airport with complete understaffing, lost passenger lines and chaotic scenes. #superspreader # covid19. “
Another Twitter user, Lily McMyn, posted pictures of crowds and added: “@STN_Airport shocking, chaos and heckling. “
Manchester Airports Group said it expected 958 flights at Manchester Airport from Friday to Monday, 224 from East Midlands Airport and 1,330 from London Stansted.
That’s up from 632, 177 and 735 respectively in the same weekend last year, but still well below 2,512 in Manchester, 503 in East Midlands and 2,139 at London Stansted in July 2019 .
Meanwhile, Gatwick Airport said it expects to see around 250 to 260 flights and between 25,000 to 27,000 passengers a day over the weekend, up from just 15 flights a day at the peak of the pandemic.
The airport said the number of flights was still well below 950 per day at this time of year before Covid.
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A spokesperson said: “Our passengers can now choose from flights to over 100 destinations in over 30 countries, so we are expecting our busiest weekend of the year so far.
“We will be processing over 250 each day, with locations in Spain and Greece particularly popular. “
Airline easyJet said it was preparing to carry more than 135,000 passengers this weekend from the UK on more than 80 routes to green and orange destinations across Europe.
A total of 251 easyJet flights will fly, with popular destinations including Malta, Madeira, Malaga in Spain, Faro and Lisbon in Portugal, and Corfu and Athens in Greece, the airline added.
Green list travel: what you need to know
What are the latest countries added to the UK’s green list?
Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Croatia and Taiwan are the latest countries to be added, on June 19 at 4 a.m.
What does it mean when a country is on the green list?
People traveling to Green List countries will still need to take a Covid test up to 72 hours before they return to the UK and a single PCR test no later than the second day of arrival in the UK – but you do not need it in quarantine unless the test result is positive.
Children aged four and under are exempt from the test.
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Do I have to quarantine or take a test when I arrive in Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta or Madeira?
Bulgaria has a green, orange and red travel system similar to that of the UK.
The UK is currently orange on Bulgaria’s list.
This means that if you are entering Bulgaria from the UK, you must present one of the three documents.
First, a vaccination certificate showing an approved vaccination schedule has been completed at least 14 days prior to arrival.
Second, a document showing a positive result of a PCR or rapid antigen test for people who have recovered from Covid-19.
Third, a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours before entry into Bulgaria or a rapid antigen test carried out up to 48 hours before entry. In addition, at least 5% of all arrivals from Amber countries will be subjected to a rapid random antigen test.
To avoid quarantine in Croatia, you must present a negative Covid-19 antigen or PCR test, or proof of vaccination, or a medical certificate of recovery following a positive test result between 11 and 180 days before.
To enter via proof of vaccination, you must have received either a two-dose vaccine course from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Gamaleya, or Sinopharm, or a certificate of receipt of a single-dose vaccine such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. .
Croatia will accept the NHS Covid pass as a letter or through the app. Children under 12 are exempt from the requirements.
If you have not obtained any of the accepted means of entry, a test may be taken upon arrival in Croatia, but you will need to self-isolate until you have the result.
No – the only reason you would need to quarantine in Malta is if you don’t have proof of a negative Covid test result.
The UK is on Malta’s Orange List, which means passengers (anyone aged 5 and over) arriving in the country will need to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate before boarding any flights to Malta. You will also need to show the physical copy of a negative Covid test when you land in Malta. The swab test should be done up to 72 hours (maximum) before arrival in Malta. If a negative PCR test is not presented, a swab test on arrival or a quarantine period of 14 days is mandatory on arrival. All passengers must complete a Public health travel declaration form and Passenger tracking form. You must show both forms to airline officials when you leave the UK and to health authorities when you arrive in Malta.Anyone arriving (and departing) from Malta has their temperature checked. If you have a high temperature, you will need to take a swab test. Madeira
To enter Madeira, you must have proof of a negative Covid-19 test or have received both doses of the Covid vaccine at least 15 days before travel.
Passengers must take a PCR test 72 hours before travel and download the test result – children aged 12 and under are exempt. If you have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, you will be exempt from presenting a PCR test on entry and Madeira will accept your letter from the NHS to demonstrate your vaccination status.
All passengers (except children 12 and under) will be required to complete and submit a traveler questionnaire.
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What other countries are already on the green list?
The addition of Malta, the Balearic Islands and Madeira will be a welcome addition for travelers returning to the UK, as the majority of countries previously on the green list are closed to international tourists, such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Here are the countries on the green list:
Caribbean Islands (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Barbados, Dominicana, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands)
the falkland islands
Israel and Jerusalem
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
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Tui said they have nearly double the number of passengers traveling Friday through Sunday compared to last weekend, with the Balearics and Greece being the “clear favorites” and Palma, Ibiza and Rhodes the most popular destinations.
Jet2 said it has 170 flights departing to more than 40 destinations over the weekend, up from around 70 at six seats the weekend before.
Since May, Quarantine and testing requirements have been determined based on whether a person enters the UK from a Green, Amber, or Red List location.
Travelers returning from a green destination are not required to self-isolate, but only a handful of major European summer hot spots can be found in this level.
Spain, Italy and Greece are among the countries on the orange list.
Those returning from an amber country must quarantine themselves at home for 10 days, unless they have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.