‘Dangerous’ Heathrow Airport crowds with ‘no social distancing’ after Border Force delays

Travellers described the queues as "absurd" at Heathrow Airport Border Force (Image: Getty Images)

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Passengers at Heathrow Airport claim they have been forced to 'dangerously' crowd together in arrivals thanks to 'chaotic' UK Border Force procedures.

Travellers took to social media to share images of their experience in the west London airport, claiming there were only two gates open in customs – which led to hundreds of people gathering together with social distancing being made impossible.

The scenes were labelled “dangerous and absurd” , with one traveller, Bo Bradley saying she had waited 45 minutes after landing on a British Airways flight from JFK Airport in New York, reports MyLondon.

Responding to Bradley on Twitter the airport said waiting times at the border “have on occasion been unacceptable” and that it had “called on the UK Government to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”

Passengers complained of long and overcrowded queues at Heathrow Border Force
(Image: PA)

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The current delays, Heathrow said, were because Border Force was “currently experiencing some delays as they conduct additional spot checks to ensure passenger compliance with the UK Government’s latest entry requirements.”

It added that it was the UK government who operated immigration independently from the airport.

Heathrow said its “teams in the terminals are on hand to support where possible and we are working with Border Force to reduce delays as soon as possible.

Heathrow said at times queues at Border Force had been "unacceptable"
(Image: PA)

“We encourage passengers to maintain social distancing, however we appreciate this isn’t always possible at every point of the airport journey.

“This is why face coverings are mandatory at Heathrow, in line with Government guidance, as they reduce the risk of transmission.”

It comes after previous fears of travel chaos when leaked analysis warned there could be four-hour queues at London's Heathrow Airport this summer.

According to Playbook, Department for Transport modelling predicted families with young children will face the extreme wait on arrival back to the UK, due to health checks at the border.

It came as many travellers made a desperate scramble back to the UK as countries moved from the green to amber travel list
(Image: Getty Images)

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A government source told the Mirror they believed the analysis was produced in April.

They stressed the system has improved since then – including a dedicated Heathrow terminal for red list countries, and a pilot scheme that allows travellers to use electronic passport gates.

But the source added: "There are still going to be queues at the border.

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"We're hoping it's as smooth as possible, but we're not going to compromise the health of the public or the vaccine rollout.

"That's likely to cause queues where people haven't done the required paperwork and testing, or the carriers haven't done their work."

The Mirror has contacted Heathrow and the Home Office for comment.

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