Large queues were seen at the Eurostar terminal in Paris and at Manchester Airport this morning as ‘Manic Monday’ got underway – with 14million cars set to hit the roads later for the rush to get home ahead of the working week.
At least 20 flights between Scotland and London have been cancelled by British Airways and easyJet. There have also been cancellations to Heathrow-bound flights from cities including Paris, Amsterdam and Geneva.
The AA expects the roads to be particularly busy today because all the traffic will be condensed into one day, unlike in the lead-up to Easter when it was staggered over several days.
Adding to the misery, more train passengers will push on the road with 530 rail upgrades – costing £83m – taking place tomorrow, experts say.
Passengers queueing for check-in at 4.22am this morning at Manchester Airport
Queues for the underground car park at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1 this morning
Continued chaos at airports over recent weeks has seen ministers come up with a plan to relax counterrorism checks for new staff so they can be deployed faster.
Staff are set to be trained in airports without security vetting but they will not be allowed to work with airside access to the planes and runways.
Airlines and airports have been hit by a shortfall in the industry post-Covid due to a combination of sickness, staff shortages and more demand from the public which led to more delays at Heathrow, Birmingham, Gatwick and Manchester.
Currently, security vetting can reportedly take twice as long as the 14 and 15 weeks it is supposed to be completed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and industry.
In a leaked letter, obtained by the Telegraph, Aviation minister Robert Courts said he will make these security changes in the coming weeks.
Warning of further disruption, Immigration Services Union general secretary Lucy Moreton said: ‘This weekend, catastrophically understaffed, with people travelling again, we anticipate queues will move from security-based queues going outward to Border Force queues coming back in.’
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘Rail engineering works lead to more road congestion as some people travel by car instead.’
And there is no respite on rail as around 500 replacement bus journeys over Easter turn usually rapid train trips into multi-change nightmares.
Eurostar passengers waiting in a long line at the Gare du Nord in Paris this morning as they prepared to return to the UK
Millions of people hit roads, airports and the railways during the Easter getaway, with today expected to be particularly busy
There is expected to be widespread travel chaos today as Brits return from their Easter getaways
A large line of passengers waiting to go through security at Manchester Airport early this morning
West Coast Line works are seeing coaches used as almost 50 miles of the route is shut between London Euston and Milton Keynes.
And every Stansted Express rail traveller is being ferried by bus to and from the airport.
Richard Freeston-Clough, spokesman for passenger watchdog London TravelWatch, said: ‘More leisure rail journeys are taking place as it is Easter – but engineering projects mean disruption.’
A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘The vast majority of the network is open for business as usual. Where our projects are hitting services, we aim to keep disruption to a minimum by using alternative routes and using of buses as the last resort.’
Transport chiefs blamed the Easter travel surge on the public’s desire to make up for missing out on family visits and trips out during the pandemic.