HEATHROW pleaded with holidaymakers not to arrive more than three hours early for their flight – despite huge queues and ‘panic’ when a luggage drop broke.
Britons traveling through the UK’s busiest airport have faced chaotic scenes in recent weeks, with British Airways and easyJet canceling thousands of flights and luggage piling up at reclaim.
But with many plotting to arrive very 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 European and long-haul flights.
“We ask passengers not to arrive earlier than this as this may cause unnecessary congestion in the airport.”
Furious customers shared photos of the disruption on Saturday.
A traveler took a photo of huge queues at Terminal 3 and called the delays a “joke”. They added: “Waiting in line for a queue.”
Another blasted: “Baggage drop is now on hold so the mass queues have turned into a panic.
“People are being asked to leave their suitcases and travel with hand luggage only and they will be dispatched in two days. Really stressful.”
A third posted a photo of hundreds of discarded bags.
Some said the security desks were unstaffed, “despite the lines snaking up to the door”.
A client says she hasn’t had her suitcase for nearly three weeks.
“It’s now been 19 days since we’ve seen our luggage,” she said.
The situation at the airport, already disastrous, is likely to worsen in the coming weeks.
But it wasn’t just Heathrow that experienced travel chaos, as passengers at Birmingham airport also faced a long wait.
Furious TUI customers tried to force open a door to retrieve their suitcases after they were made to drag on for FOUR hours.
Travelers had been diverted to the Midlands before finally landing and facing another delay while collecting their luggage in a hell of a 12 hour spree.
A series of strikes are planned over the summer holidays, with staff at supply company Aviation Fuel Services (AFS) threatening a three-day strike between July 21 and 24.
More than 70 airlines including Virgin, Delta and KLM are set to be hit as the union fights to end its three-year wage freeze with a double-digit pay rise.
EasyJet has already gone on strike this month, with more scheduled between the 15th and 17th, and the 29th and 31st.
But in rare good news, a planned strike by British Airways at the airport has been called off.
Hundreds of Heathrow-based BA workers prepared to crush tools. However, a new salary agreement has been reached.
Just in case travelers are hopeful, anyone hoping to fly with BA might be in for a shock.
The airline is to cut an additional 10,300 short-haul flights between August and the end of October.
This means almost 30,000 flights will have been cut from BA’s program 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 cut 10,000 flights between July and September, affecting 1.5 million people.
Between May 1 and July 4, 1,144 airline flights were canceled within 72 hours of departure.
The Sun has contacted Heathrow for comment.