Avoid being stuck in airport queues ahead of holiday flights with these top tips

Up to two thirds of Europe’s airports expect an increase in flight delays this summer adding to the usual travel stresses for holidaymakers. According to research by airports association ACI Europe, most passengers expect disruption, owning to a combination of high demand and staff shortages.

Already this week, passengers were forced to queue for hours at Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol airports, with some even missing their flights. It’s a situation that’s likely to be mirrored across the UK and Ireland in coming months.

But while some airports have advised passengers to arrive hours ahead of their scheduled departure, others have warned against overcrowding. sparked by early-bird travellers hanging around terminals awaiting check-ins to open.

Here are the advantages and setbacks of arriving early.

Will anyone be available to check you in?

Anxious flyers have always been advocates of early airport arrival. Having a few hours to spare certainly eases stress levels and allows for mishaps along the way.

However, most airline desks won’t be open until three hours before flight departure at the earliest – although each carrier operates a different policy, so it’s worth checking. Passengers could end up sitting – or standing – around for a very long time, which may result in more stress before even reaching security.

Do you have hold luggage?

Anyone dropping baggage should be prepared for additional queues, so this needs to be factored into travel schedules. Virgin Atlantic says the quietest check-in times at London’s Heathrow are between 3pm and 5pm. At Birmingham Airport, the biggest queues are early in the morning with thousands of travellers hustling to board flights that take-off before breakfast time.

However, if you opt for cabin bags only, it’s possible to head straight through to security and beat the queues. To avoid delays, just make sure all liquids are under 100ml, pockets are empty and all laptops and iPads can be easily removed.

Remember to check in online before reaching the airport, and have boarding passes either printed or easily accessible on a phone.

What type of ticket have you booked?

Those who pay more will always be front of the line. British Airways, for example, allows passengers travelling in First or Business to check in luggage from 5am on the day of departure.

However, unless passengers have forked out extra for VIP lounge access, they could be left with a lot of spare time to spend in expensive airport restaurants.

Most airlines and airports recommend arriving three hours in advance of a flight. Go too early and there’s a risk of a log-jam with passengers who have not yet departed on earlier flights.

So, for those only travelling with hand luggage, should keep to the usual two hours. If you’re putting cases in the hold, arrive with three hours to spare.

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How to avoid airport queues – five tips to minimise holiday chaos

Holidaymakers are being faced with up to 90-minute delays going through security at airports, as Border Force officer staff shortages begin to bite in post-pandemic-measure air-travel.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today Programme, Kully Sandhu, the managing director of the Aviation Recruitment Network, said that it will take ” at least the next 12 months for the industry, vacancy wise, to settle down”.

It comes at the worst possible time, as terminals, such as Birmingham Airport, see consecutive months of record passengers for the first time in two years, an eight-fold increase from this time last year. Travellers have been left gobsmacked by the scenes at security, with many missing flights or just narrowly making them.

Lucy Moreton, General Secretary of the Immigration Services Union, has rejected calls for the recruitment process to be sped up, saying: “This is a law-enforcement role. You don’t expect your police officer to be incompletely trained or not security cleared and we certainly wouldn’t want anything else for Border Force”

Read more:Passport expiry rules after Brexit as tourists are turned away

“More resources would enable those checks to get through quicker, but we can’t cut corners on the training so we are looking at a very difficult summer”. With this in mind, it is down to passengers to help minimise delays at airports with these five tips.

Early baggage drop-off

A little known hack that may make all the difference, is night before baggage drop-off. For example, Jet2 allows luggage drop-off from 15:00-20:00 the night before at Manchester and Birmingham, while British Airways has a 18:00-21:00 bag drop at Heathrow T5 for morning flights the next day.

Take only hand luggage

By not taking any checked-in luggage, your time at the airport will be greatly minimised, cutting out one of the two notoriously long airport queues. You should also check-in online if you can.

Know airport layout

At some airports, particularly abroad, there will be another security check after your hand luggage and body gets scanned at Border Security. When you head to your departure gate, you may be greeted with another long queue, but this time it is to check your passport.

This is separate to the queue you join when boarding the plane, where they again check your boarding pass and passport. With this in mind, do not wait until the last minute to head to your gate, as the post-baggage scan passport check can take up to 30 minutes.


Before arriving in the security queue, make sure you already have your liquids in a clear, sealable sandwich bag, take jewellery off, belts or anything likely to set off an alarm.

This tip relies on everyone else doing the same, as just one unprepared individual can cause deadlock.


For a small fee, passengers can get a speedier journey through security thanks to fast-track schemes. Some of these have dedicated check-in desks, will allow you to get through security faster and are normally available for as little as £4. However, there have been complaints that during the Easter holiday chaos, these ‘fast-lanes’ were equally as slow.

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Florida theme parks: Theme park tester shares top tips and advice to avoid queues | Travel News | Travel

The theme park tester added: “As part of planning ahead, book reservations at the restaurants you’re keen to try.

“Theme parks can get crowded and busy, meaning it can be really difficult to secure a table at the best restaurants.

“If you’re eating on the go, make the most of mobile ordering if possible to save time for enjoying the attractions!”

Theme parks might not be known for their dining options, but tourists might be surprised by the range of restaurants on offer.

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Motorists urged to travel today to beat bank holiday queues

The AA has advised motorists to avoid travelling on Good Friday if possible, saying motorists would be better off leaving today or early on Saturday morning.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “All our polling suggests that Good Friday will be the busiest getaway day for Easter trips and staycations. If some drivers can leave on Thursday or early Saturday, they may miss some of the jams.”

The motoring organisation also estimated that, with higher fuel prices, a 500-mile round trip will see drivers paying £20 more at the pumps than they did last Easter.

Some 27.6 million car journeys are expected to take place over the Bank Holiday weekend, the motoring organisation has forecast.

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Busiest roads to avoid this weekend and expert travel tips to dodge frustrating queues

DRIVERS have been warned of mega queues this weekend, as 21million journeys will be made for Easter.

The RAC announced the first bank holiday of 2022 will be the busiest Easter on its records, which began in 2014.

The RAC has advised motorists which roads to avoid on Easter weekend


The RAC has advised motorists which roads to avoid on Easter weekendCredit: Getty – Contributor

The exodus comes as temperatures are set to soar to 21C, which will be even hotter than Barcelona. The holiday heat will also beat March 23 to become the hottest day of the year so far.  

The motoring experts advised drivers to avoid peak travel times if they want to escape for weekend breaks or day trips.

Good Friday will be the busiest day of the weekend, with drivers planning around 4.62m separate leisure trips. Motorists should travel before 9am or after 1930 to beat the worst of the traffic.

Over the rest of the weekend, drivers should set off after 3pm on Saturday and Sunday to avoid queues. While on Monday, the second busiest day to travel, roads will be clearer before 10.30am and after 6.30pm.

The worst congestion is expected on the M6 north between Liverpool and the Lake District, south towards Stoke-on-Trent, the M25 between Surrey and the M40 exit, and the A303 near Stonehenge.

Drivers seeking the sea can also expect jams on major beach-ward roads like the M26 and M6 this weekend.

As well as planning a journey outside peak travel times, there’s another important thing drivers can do. To reduce queues on busy roads, motorists should ensure their vehicle is fully prepared before driving.

Breakdowns can be avoided if you check your oil and coolant levels in advance. Likewise, inflating a tyre properly could save you puncture and the traffic behind you stress.

Shockingly, only a fifth of drivers always check their cars are road-ready before a long journey, whereas over a third never do, according to the RAC’s research.

RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “The key to avoiding the worst of any jams is planning. Put simply, the earlier you leave in the morning the more likely you are to miss the worst of the queues, especially if you are travelling a longer distance.

“Although a fifth of drivers we polled said they were planning on driving shorter distances this Easter, specifically because of the extremely high cost of petrol and diesel at the moment.”

Ben Aldous from the Manchester-based RAC patrol said: “Put simply, a well-maintained car is much less likely to break down than one that hasn’t been looked after.

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“So, if you have a big drive coming up and suspect something on your car’s not quite right then get it into a good garage as soon as you can this week.”

Railway closures could also put stress on the UK’s motorways. Engineering work between London and Birmingham might push more train travellers onto the roads.

Those making their way from Manchester and Liverpool to Wembley to watch the semi-final of the FA Cup on Saturday could be affected.

Rail strikes in Scotland and the north of England might worsen the weekend traffic as well.

To add to the chaos, Just Stop Oil has been protesting outside fuel stations.

Hundreds of petrol stations across the country are reportedly closed due to the shortages, with the worst-hit areas in the south of England.

However, retailers have reassured drivers to continue buying fuel as usual as there is no need to panic buy.

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Dublin Airport advice that could help passengers avoid long queues

If you are planning to fly from Dublin Airport over Easter, this tip could save you a lot of time standing in a long queue.

Dublin Airport’s official Twitter account has confirmed that passengers could potentially avoid the long security queues at Terminal 1, as long as certain requirements are met.

Answering questions on Twitter from concerned passengers, @DublinAirport confirmed that security queues in Terminal 1 can be avoided by going through Terminal 2 instead.

Read More: Dublin Airport passengers praise staff for ‘very well managed’ queues

One person asked: “Can you use T2 if T1 is busy?”

Dublin Airport responded and confirmed that: “you may process security screening in either terminal.”

However there are certain requirements in place that passengers have to fulfil in order to join the shorter security queue at Terminal 2.

Passengers will need to have a valid boarding card and should not need to check in any baggage

If you do have a bag to check-in, you must first check it in with your chosen “airline in its respective terminal,” Dublin Airport confirmed. So if you are flying from Terminal 1 and want to check in your bag, you need to go to T1.

Once your bag has been checked in you can proceed to security screening in T1 or T2.

The mayhem at Dublin Airport continued on Monday morning as passengers from across the country arrived at their terminals hours before departure.

Despite arriving well ahead of their scheduled take-off, hundreds of people were stuck in queues, with some reporting two-hour delays, with the knock-on effect then seen across duty-free.

The latest advice from the daa is to arrive no less than 3-and-a-half hours before your boarding time, and so queues are beginning to form before 3am for those headed out on early morning flights.

Read More: The unusual Dublin Airport rules you may not know – and can get fined for breaking

Read More: Dublin Airport bosses blame latest queue chaos on passengers turning up too early

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Easter getaway: Beat those airport queues with Belfast International Airport’s ‘Five Top Travel Tips’ for passengers

Many people are planning to travel over the coming weeks for the first time in over two years.

The airport will be offering over 50 destinations as well as a number of new routes, with TUI to Kos, easyJet to Menorca and Jet2 to Verona, along with the return of the Virgin Atlantic service to Orlando.

To help meet the expected strong demand, the airport has been working hard with an ongoing campaign to recruit over 200 roles at all levels.

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Belfast international Airport has released ‘5 Travel Tips’ passengers should follow to help operations resume seamlessly.

The airport is advising all customers to follow five simple tips that will help speed up the check-in process and ensure they get through security in good time.

Graham Keddie, managing director, Belfast International Airport, said: “Belfast International Airport is expecting an increase in passenger numbers in the coming weeks as everyone is excited to travel again.

“As we manage this return to normality, we would ask for patience and understanding. We are confident that, if passengers plan their trip carefully and follow our five tips, they can relax and enjoy a well-deserved break.”

Belfast International Airport’s five top travel tips are:

1. Check Travel Requirements

Always double-check travel requirements to and from your chosen destination before you leave for the airport and make sure you have the correct documentation ready at check-in.

Check with your airline for the latest information on your flight and arrive when your airline advises. We recommend you arrive at the Airport at least two hours before your flight departs.

3. Keep Travel Essentials Handy

Make sure your tickets and boarding pass, travel insurance, driving licence, currency and credit cards are safe but easily accessible. It’s also mindful to carry a charger for your smartphone and have your airline information ready.

Remember, you can only take liquids in individual containers with a maximum capacity of 100ml on the plane. Each item should be removed from hand luggage and placed in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag of not more than one litre capacity per passenger. 

Before reaching security, it’s a good idea to remove your laptop, tablet or similar electronic devices from your hand luggage to be inspected separately. Coats, jackets and belts should also be removed.

Belfast International Airport has been member of the VINCI Airports network since 2018.

VINCI Airports operates 53 airports in 12 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

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Airport security expert lists simple tips for passengers to ease lengthy queues

The scenes from some of the UK’s biggest airports in recent days have been described as chaotic, with delays and huge queues. Problems have been blamed on staff shortages following the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in security.

British Airways also already cancelled another 74 flights scheduled for Thursday, while easyJet has grounded 52. Airports, especially Manchester, Heathrow and Birmingham are expected to remain busy, especially for check-in and pre-departure security clearance.

Shahzad Ali, chief executive at security training experts Get Licensed, said the industry was failing to keep pace with needs for experienced personnel increasing all all sectors. He said: “The airport queues are down to a number of factors, but the main one is due to lack of security personnel.

“Staffing and recruitment issues have affected every sector as we see a return to normality following the pandemic, but one industry still catching up is security. This causes major issues, especially when security is vital in almost every sector – from supermarkets to travel. The rate the industry is recruiting is not keeping pace with business demand.”

Get Licensed has listed its top tips on making the airport experience smoother and less stressful with essential advice for passengers planning to jet away in the coming weeks.

  • Don’t arrive too early – One strategy is to turn up well ahead of a flight. However, this adds to the pressure of the earlier departures, which can cause extra delays.
  • Prepare – It makes it so much easier and quicker for security to prepare carry-on luggage and remove any restricted items. Wear sensible shoes, slip on are the easiest, and remove any jewellery, belts and glasses. Make sure liquids are contained in a clear plastic bag. Take an extra 10 minutes to prepare and make everything quicker for yourself and security.
  • Clear tray and belongings – Make sure the clear plastic bag isn’t covered up by anything in the tray as it goes through the scanner. If it’s seen to be covered or looks like it is hidden inside a bag, you are more likely to be stopped and checked. Make sure your clear plastic bag and belongings are separate in a tray.
  • Fast-track security – You can often pay for fast-track security which is around £4. Check the departure airport’s website for the most recent prices. Keep in mind that airports often cap the number so it doesn’t always accelerate the process.

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  • Speak up – If you have a valid excuse and are in need of getting through quicker, just ask as you may be allowed to jump the queue. You might not, however, get sympathy from the others in the queue.
  • One security guard – Often if there is more than one security officer at an x-ray machine chances are one is a trainee, so the line may go a little slower.
  • Spot the right queue – Believe it or not, business travellers usually get through security quicker as they have less baggage. When picking a queue try to keep an eye out for business flyers.
  • Hold back the yawns – Excessive yawning, whistling or even too much laughter has been reported as just a few reasons why you could be questioned by security, but of course it depends on the officer.

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.

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UK travel news: Huge queues at Manchester Airport, Heathrow and Dover as chaos continues | UK | News

Thousands of holidaymakers were left deeply frustrated for a third day, as they were yet again confronted with huge queues at their points of departure. Travellers said on Sunday they had to wait three hours to check in their luggage at both Manchester and Heathrow airports this morning. The delays are being partly blamed on staff shortages, as some tourists were forced to sit for up to one hour on planes before taking off.

One person wrote on Twitter: “#manchesterairport 3+ hrs queues at check-in and security with no toilets or ventilation.

“Queuing lanes too dense and close together. A young girl passed out in the queue.

“We are not cattle!! @manairport take responsibility and sort it out!”

The holiday exodus began on Friday, as people headed to the borders in search of some well-earned relaxation.

However, travellers were confronted by hellish scenes of chaos and disorganisation.

A video posted to social media on Friday showed a packed-out security hall at Manchester airport with people desperately trying to get through.

Staff looked overwhelmed by the tidal wave of tourists attempting to board their planes.

Jane Gilham posted a video of the chaotic scenes to her Twitter account.

She wrote: “@manairport you are an absolute disgrace! It was dangerous today, people will get hurt if you do not improve things.”

June van Hecke called on Manchester’s mayor to get involved and sort the problem out.

She said: “@ManchesterAirp my son has queued for 5 hours at Manchester airport he has an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old.

READ MORE: British expats in Spain share advice for moving overseas

One of the worst-hit places has been Dover, with gridlocked roads near the port caused by disruption to cross-Channel ferries and bad weather.

The Chief Executive of the British Ports Association warned that things were unlikely to get better in the coming days.

Richard Ballantyne told BBC Breakfast on Sunday: “It is a bit better today, we understand. Yesterday we were up to nine-hour queues outside the port.”

However, he added: “East Kent and the Kent police services… and the very well established operations team at the Port of Dover are predicting this is going to continue for another couple of days.

“But it is something we just don’t know how long it’s going to go on for.”

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