A Heathrow Airport border area was thrown into chaos last night with e-gate closures sparking 90 minute-long queues.
It is believed just four Border Force officials were left manning Terminal 5 passport hall last night, when as many as 2,000 passengers arrived.
One person caught up in the border chaos said it was ‘totally unacceptable’, while another exasperated passenger described the situation as ‘ridiculous’.
MailOnline has approached the Border Force, who are in charge of the operation, and Heathrow Airport for comment.
Twitter users last night slammed the lack of border staff, saying they had spent up to an hour and 45 minutes queuing at Terminal 5’s passport hall.
They said: ‘Hi Heathrow. Is it because of the pingdemic that there’s thousands at border control and maybe 3 staff checking us in?!
It is believed just four Border Force officials were left manning Terminal 5 passport hall last night when as many as 2,000 passengers arrived. Picture: Passengers queue at Heathrow Airport last night
Passengers at the airport say the e-gates were closed last night, while there were ‘just four’ Border Force staff working
‘By my calculations I’m here until 2am. There’s babies toddlers & elderly in the queue.’
They said in a follow-up tweet: ‘There is a palette of water cans in the middle of the queue where people go help themselves as they go since we’re all here for hours.
‘Kids crying. The occasional shouts for opening more gates. People about to miss their connections. It’s such a s***show.
‘No e gates tonight of course. This is dumb,’ before saying: ‘MADE IT. Only 1h45 in a queue that could have been completely avoided with proper staffing.’
Another wrote: ‘So many people – including elderly and young children waiting for the border police to check their documents…. why there not more officers here?
‘Totally unacceptable for an airport like Heathrow. This is so late now, hope to catch the last train.’
It is not clear why the e-gates were shut last night. However, Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy last night tweeted that a Border Force officer had told him that the new gates had not been updated to reflect new travel rules brought in as part of ‘Freedom Day’.
MailOnline has contacted the Border Force, via the Home Office, and Heathrow Airport for comment.
Heathrow last night, responding to another Twitter user who had complained about the queues, said they were ‘working with Border Force to reduce queuing times’.
It comes as the Government yesterday eased travel restrictions by dropping the requirement for double-jabbed passengers arriving in the UK from amber-list countries.
As of 4am, passengers from Amber List countries will no longer have to undertake an up-to-day 10-day home quarantine.
The rule does not apply to Amber List France, which was put on what is being dubbed the ‘Amber Plus’ list due to rising cases of the Beta (South African) variant.