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What you need to know about the tourist chaos at Europe’s airports

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At London’s Heathrow Airport, some passengers said they were arriving in hours-long immigration queues. In Dublin, piles of delayed luggage lined the walls of the terminal, some of which had been sent by flights that had arrived a week earlier, according to the Irish Independent. At Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Dutch carrier KLM temporarily canceled all incoming European flights, later apologizing for passengers being stranded there over the weekend.

As summer travel kicks in and the United States lifts coronavirus testing requirements for arriving international passengers, many European airports experience major disruptions.

“Most people who travel within the UK or the European Union will fly without interruption,” said Rory Boland, travel editor for Which magazine. “That said, this is the biggest crash we’ve ever seen, and it’s significant.”

Here’s what you need to know about problems at European airports.

There were indications that British airports were having trouble delivering luggage as early as March and April, said Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group. But the problems have grown in scope and scope.

Passengers in May reported that the check-in and security lines at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol were so long that they waited outside for hours before even entering the terminal. It’s happening this month in Stockholm and Dublin.

A shortage of security agents in the UK has left passengers stuck in queues at airports in London, Manchester and elsewhere. Airlines have canceled dozens of flights. The CEO of Ryanair, a low-cost carrier, proposes to “bring in the army” to ease congestion; The idea was quickly dismissed by the British authorities, according to the Guardian.

Similar long queues have been reported by passengers arriving at immigration checkpoints in London, Amsterdam and elsewhere. And once they’ve passed, there’s no guarantee their bags will be waiting for them – luggage agents are also in short supply, meaning days of delays in delivering luggage to customers in some cases.

Like many other industries, airlines and airports are laying off employees during the pandemic and are struggling to get back to previous staffing levels, Boland said. The airline industry faces additional hurdles because new hires often have to wait for security certifications or special training.

Low wages at many European airports and airlines make it difficult for other industries to compete for workers, Boland said.

Those working conditions have also led to strikes among airport workers in Paris and air traffic controllers in Italy in recent weeks, Bloomberg and Reuters reported, each resulting in hundreds of flight cancellations.

Is it a summer of tourist chaos? 7 questions, answers.

This all coincided with “pent-up demand” for travel – a surge in passengers who “caught [the industry] by surprise,” said Peter Vlitas, EVP of Partnerships…

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