Queue chaos at Belfast International Airport as scanners left unmanned
Belfast International Airport has issued a grovelling apology after furious passengers described chaotic scenes as the queue through security became completely overwhelmed.
Irate flyers were left fuming after only one 14-strong security team was put on duty last night – while six scanners sat unmanned.
Frustrated passengers who arrived in plenty of time for boarding took to Twitter to express their frustration, some claiming they were being forced to pay extra for priority boarding cards to jump to the front of the queue in order to make their flight.
"The airport is basically ripping us off by charging us to get through security. It's an insult," said one caller to the Belfast Telegraph after an hour waiting.
"Security queue's a nightmare," Anthony Miller from Belfast wrote.
Neil Morrow added: "Belfast International Airport to be renamed Belfast Tinpot Airport. Only one security machine out of six in operation. Utter joke."
With tempers fraying, John Chamberlin said there were "crazy scenes here at security".
"Only one lane open – new airport policy we are told – and queues over an hour long," he said.
Mr Chamberlin and Twitter user Dan Dennison said people were buying up priority boarding tickets for £3 each as they feared being stuck in the airport overnight.
Mr Dennison wrote: "Pay £3 to skip the check-in queue at Belfast airport. They've closed all but one scanner so you have to pay if you want to make your plane."
Mr Chamberlin, who had been visiting Derry with his daughter, said people were losing their temper with security staff.
The 54-year-old Bristol man said the situation was "stupidity on the airport's part", as he had been told by airport staff that only one security lane was permitted after 6pm.
He said he could count eight flights on the departures board, with one security facility to deal with them all.
He said one family with a young child was taken out of the queue at one point as they were about to miss their flight, but this wasn't happening as a matter of course.
John Devlin emailed the Belfast Telegraph to say: "There is no one giving information to passengers."
A spokeswoman for the airport said: "We apologise for any inconvenience caused to those passengers who incurred delays as a result of congestion at the security search area. We are aware of the issue and are taking steps to resolve the situation. We have also initiated a review to ensure this does not occur again."