Staff at Manchester Airport have been asked to volunteer their time to help support colleagues after days of huge queues and delays for hundreds of passengers.
A letter, which has been seen by the Manchester Evening News, was sent out yesterday (March 17) asking staff to assist with passengers in Terminal One today. The email was sent out after a number of passengers have been faced with long queues through security on a number of occasions.
Passengers also complained of similar wait times with checking in and collecting baggage, with queues even stretching back to the car parks earlier this week. In the email, titled ‘volunteer support on Friday 18th March’, staff working in non-operational roles were asked to volunteer to be redeployed to the check-in area to help manage queues and passenger queries.
READ MORE: Manchester Airport apologises over passenger queues so long they end in the car park
The message, sent out by a terminal duty manager, said: “Due to a higher than expected volume of passengers, we require additional support in the terminals tomorrow Friday 18th. Help is required front-of-house in the check-in area helping to manage queues and provide information to passengers. “
It added: “We’re expecting a challenging day so any assistance between the hours of 0400 and 1800 would be invaluable.” Manchester Airport has confirmed the letter was sent out, with volunteers able to offer as much or as little time as they wished .
In a statement, a Manchester Airport spokesperson said: “Our operations have come under significant pressure in recent days and, as part of our response to this, we have given those working in a number of departments the opportunity to support their colleagues and help provide the best possible service to customers.
“There was no obligation to do so, but we are grateful to everyone who offered their support to frontline teams.”
Over the last month, the Manchester Evening News has reported on queues for either Passport Control or security after receiving complaints from readers, amid ‘unpredictable’ passenger levels as the industry makes a rapid recovery from Covid. The airport said that it has recently experienced up to 60 per cent of customer bags being rejected as they pass through security due to restricted items.
Some customers called the queues ‘chaotic’ and ‘unpredictable’. Others mentioned how they had to wait for around two hours before getting through security to board their flights.
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One passenger, Paul Keegan, said it took him two hours to get through security, despite having paid for ‘fast-track’. He tweeted: “Surely Manchester airport is one of the most chaotic in the world. This place is never enjoyable.”
Addressing the concerns, Manchester Airport yesterday apologized to those affected. The airport said that it was currently experiencing a ‘considerable strain’ on operations, and had ‘deployed staff from other parts of the operation to assist in security’.
“Our colleagues have been working tirelessly to safely process passengers as quickly as they can and we would like to thank them for their dedication,” the airport added. “We would like to apologise to those impacted by these challenges and assure them we are doing all we can to rectify the situation.”