Hours-Long Waits at Heathrow Return With New Border Gate Outage
Passengers arriving at London Heathrow airport on Wednesday were caught in queues that stretched for as long as two hours after software issues caused automated entry gates to fail for the third time in less than two months.
A technical issue was affecting Border Force e-gates at a number of ports, according to a spokeswoman for the Home Office. “We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and apologise to all passengers for the inconvenience caused,” she said.
The border chaos threatens to mar a comeback for international travel after the U.S. lifted entry restrictions on visiting Brits and Europeans. Airlines have reported a surge in bookings and planes on transatlantic journeys are filling up.
In Terminal 5 on Wednesday, queues snaked around the arrivals halls and moved slowly as border officials were forced to check documents manually.
“The e-gate technology is quite fragile,” said Lucy Moreton, a spokeswoman for the Immigration Services Union. “You’ll find e-gates out at one location or another almost every day.”
Gatwick, London’s second-largest hub, wasn’t affected, a spokesman for the airport said Wednesday.
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