Since Monday, many people arriving at some of the country’s biggest airports have complained of waiting times of up to five hours, as well as a lack of access to toilets and water. A combination of Covid checks and a shortage of Border Force officers is blamed for the delays.
One holidaymaker said he saw a woman pass out while waiting for immigration checks on Friday night.
Sonny Singh said: “There were thousands of families queuing and just two people in booths up front checking documents.
“Children were screaming and crying. The queue moved about five feet in the space of about 45 minutes.
“Then, when the pregnant woman fainted, it finally got through to someone somewhere ‑ the kids were then put on the side to sit while the adults waited in the queue and it began moving faster.”
The Home Office criticised Border Force, its own immigration agency, saying that officers will be reviewing capacity and deploying more staff to reduce waiting times.
A spokesperson said: “The very long wait times we saw at Heathrow last night are unacceptable.
“This is the busiest weekend of the year for returning passengers, with particularly high numbers of families with children under the age of 12 who cannot use e-gates.”