Travel on Pentecost: Chaos threatens European airports

Status: 03/06/2022 14:23

If you use the long Pentecost weekend to travel by air, you should take plenty of time and patience with you. Because there are long lines at many airports in Europe. It is especially bad in Great Britain.

Author: Notker Blechner,

Have a nice trip: for some Brits a long-awaited sun trip last weekend has turned into a nightmare. Hundreds of flights were canceled across the country. Many departures were delayed. Huge queues are forming at British airports. In Manchester and London-Gatwick, travelers sometimes had to wait for hours in front of checks and counters. In Edinburgh, Scotland, the human chain at check-in even extended to the street in front of the airport building.

Chaos could reign again this weekend. Due to the Jubilee of the Queen’s throne and Pentecost, many Britons are likely to wander into the distance on a public holiday. Experts expect the first large wave of travel since the outbreak of the corona pandemic.

Ryanair’s boss calls for help at British airports

Michael O’Leary, head of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, suggested that the military should temporarily help to avoid long lines at airports again. O’Leary told ITV that this would significantly reduce the workload of airport security personnel, adding that the concept of military deployment also works at airports in other countries.

The government and the airline industry blame each other for the chaos of travel. “Suppliers overbooked,” said Transport Minister Grant Shapps. Airline managers dismiss the allegations. The reason for the long waiting times is the lack of staff. The government refuses to issue special visas to work in the tourism industry.

At Schiphol airport near Amsterdam, long lines re-formed on the day of Ascension.

Image: AFP

Long lines in Amsterdam too?

The lack of luggage handling and security personnel is also causing serious problems in the Netherlands. At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, passengers often have to wait hours for check-in. From time to time there were clashes with angry travelers.

To make room for rebooking, KLM has drastically reduced ticket sales. Until Sunday, flights from Amsterdam can be booked very infrequently, KLM said. Only the more expensive tickets are available.

The lack of staff causes bottlenecks in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt

There is also the risk of long lines for Whitsun at major German airports. Especially in Düsseldorf, Berlin and Frankfurt, passengers need a long time to pass the checks. The reason for this is an acute shortage of staff.

“At all locations, service providers involved in handling passengers are about 20 percent short of ground staff compared to the pre-crown period. This can lead to bottlenecks, especially when checking in, loading suitcases and during rush hour air security checks, ”warns Airport Association ADV CEO Ralph Beisel.

Fraport, the operator of Frankfurt airport, cut some 4,000 jobs during the crisis, and also unexpectedly lost ground staff who found better jobs elsewhere. Fraport is now looking for 1,000 new employees, but it’s not easy. More than 100 new people a month is almost impossible, says Fraport boss Stefan Schulte. The operator of the airport in Frankfurt has announced that it will dilute the flight schedule in order to relieve the system, i.e. cancel individual connections.

Chaotic Ascension Weekend in Tuifly

How quickly chaos can ensue is shown in Tuifly over the Ascension weekend. Several flights were delayed due to bad weather in Greece and the Canary Islands. As a result, a well-planned flight plan was mixed up. There were several flight delays, some of which were longer.

Replacement planes were not available as they were needed at short notice for fans traveling to Paris for the Champions League final. Some vacationers are stuck in the Canary Islands and other places for days.

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