Heathrow begs travellers not to arrive more than 3 hours early despite huge queues as ‘broken bag drop’ sparks ‘panic’

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HEATHROW has begged holiday-makers not to arrive more than three hours early for their flight – despite whopping queues and “panic” as a bag drop broke.

Brits travelling through the UK’s busiest airport have faced chaotic scenes in recent weeks, with British Airways and easyJet cancelling thousands of flights and baggage piling up at reclaim.

But with many plotting to arrive extra-early to avoid missing their trip altogether, Heathrow bosses have urged customers to stay away for as long as possible.

A spokesperson said: “Passengers are reminded to arrive at the airport three hours before both a European and long haul flight.

“We ask passengers not to arrive earlier than this as this may cause unnecessary congestion in the airport.”

Furious customers shared photos of disruption on Saturday.

One traveller snapped a pic of huge queues at Terminal 3 and branded the delays a “joke”. They added: “Queuing for a queue.”

Another blasted: “Bag drop now broken so mass queues have turned to panic.

“People are being asked to leave suitcases and travel with only carry-on baggage and they will be sent on in two days’ time. Really stressful.”

A third posted a photo of hundreds of dumped bags.

Some said security desks were unmanned, “despite lines snaking all the way out the door”.

One customer says she’s been without her suitcase for almost three weeks.

“It’s been 19 days now since we’ve last seen our luggage,” she said.

The situation at the airport, which is already dire, is likely to worsen in the weeks to come.

But it’s not just Heathrow that has been experiencing travel chaos, as passengers at Birmingham Airport also faced a lengthy wait.

Furious TUI customers tried to force open a door to collect their suitcases after being forced to hang around for FOUR hours.

Travellers had been diverted to the Midlands before finally landing and facing yet another delay when collecting their luggage in a 12 hour hell.

A series of strikes are planned over the summer holidays, with staff at refuelling company Aviation Fuel Services (AFS) threatening a three-day walkout between July 21 and 24.

More than 70 airlines including Virgin, Delta and KLM are expected to be affected as the union fights for an end to their three year pay freeze with a double-digit pay rise.

EasyJet has already gone on strike this month, with more planned between the 15th and 17th, and the 29th and 31st.

But in a rare bit of good news, a planned British Airways strike at the airport has been called off.

Hundreds of BA employees based at Heathrow were preparing to down tools. However, a new pay deal has been struck.

AIRPORT MISERY

Just in case travellers were getting their hopes up, anyone hoping to fly BA may be in for a shock.

The airline is to cut 10,300 more short-haul flights between August and the end of October.

It means nearly 30,000 flights will have been removed from BA’s schedule between April and October this year.

The cancellations affect London Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports.

Overall, however, easyJet is the worst offender for flight cancellations.

It axed 10,000 flights between July and September, affecting 1.5 million people.

Between May 1 and July 4, 1,144 of the airline’s flights were cancelled within 72 hours of departure.

The Southamptonjournal has contacted Heathrow for comment.

A total of 61 flights have been called off this morning, including 48 departures.

British Airways is the airline most affected by the cancellations, with some short-haul services to Ireland and Scotland grounded, as well as some long-haul departures to America.

A Heathrow spokesperson told Southamptonjournal Online Travel: “We are expecting higher passenger numbers in Terminals 3 and 5 today than the airport currently has capacity to serve, and so to maintain a safe operation we have asked some airlines in Terminals 3 and 5 to remove a combined total of 61 flights from the schedule.

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