Following chaos at Heathrow, Luton, and Stansted due to a national eGate disruption, Passengers reported experiencing ‘chaos’ at Bristol Airport’s border control.

Photographs and videos on social media showed crowds of passengers from multiple flights queuing up at Bristol to check their passports.  

‘Chaos at @BristolAirport passport control! You will need to wait for an hour. Why only three passport-checking personnel if there are multiple flights? One passenger commented, “Hey! You’re sorted!” One passenger wrote: “@BristolAirport Hour Wait to Get Halfway to Passport Control, Screaming Children All Around in a Poorly Ventilated Area. Is this acceptable?

A Bristol Airport spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘On behalf of UK Border Force, we apologise for the delay in passengers passing through immigration yesterday evening. This happened because of an error in the UK Border Force systems during busy arrivals periods. 

“We are sorry for the inconvenience caused by customers and the UK Border Force will conduct an investigation.”

Yesterday, the Home Office acknowledged that there had been an eGate failure at a number of ports’. Officials at Luton told frustrated passengers there was a ’national outage’. A traveler revealed that he waited for two hours to arrive from Amsterdam.

The eGates are managed by the £372million central UK-wide security database which was rushed into use in June when it was already more than three years overdue. You can access the gates with an adult passport that is biometrically or chipped.

The failure occurred for the third consecutive month at UK airports. The eGates are available at all 15 British air and rail stations.

This system has been expanded for nationals of Australia and South Korea to be able to access it from Canada, Japan (New Zealand), Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea. 

Also, the gates failed at ports and airports on October 24th and 6th this year. They were then closed for several weeks until foreign leisure travel resumed in May 17, after being unable to recognize passenger locator forms. 

People returning from the UK to travel have also faced staffing challenges. Heathrow estimates that 25% of Border Force workers were off duty in August because they had been in contact with someone with whom Covid was tested.

Passengers complained of 'chaos' at Bristol Airport's passport control last night after a nationwide eGate outage

After a widespread eGate failure, passengers complained about ‘chaos at Bristol Airport’s passport controls last night.

Photos and video on social media show crowds of travellers from 'multiple flights' forming 'hour-long' queues at Bristol amid claims there were just three staff checking passports

Photographs and videos on social media reveal crowds of travelers from multiple flights queuing up at Bristol to check their passports.

'Chaos at @BristolAirport passport control! Waiting an hour here. If you're going to have multiple flights arriving at once why only 3 personnel checking passports? Sort yourself out,' one passenger wrote

‘Chaos at @BristolAirport passport control! You will need to wait for an hour. Why not have 3 passport-checking personnel if there are multiple flights? One passenger said, “Stay organized.”

A Twitter user queueing at London Heathrow Airport said it was a 'complete shower' and 'b****y massive queue'

A Twitter user queueing at London Heathrow Airport said it was a ‘complete shower’ and ‘b****y massive queue’

How does eGate work? 

Closed eGates at Heathrow on October 6 as issues continue

Closed Heathrow eGates on October 6, as the issues continue

Today was the third failure of eGates at UK Airports in 3 months.

More than 270 electronic gates are available at 15 British rail and air ports. They have been open for use by UK and EU citizens since 2008.

The system has been expanded to allow citizens from Australia, Canada and Japan to use it. You can access the gates with an adult passport that is biometric, or “chipped” (preferred).

They are managed by the Home Office’s £372million central UK-wide security database – known as Border Crossing – which was rushed into use at the end of June when it was already more than three years overdue. 

Border Force uses eGates to match a passenger’s facial features with a digital picture in their passport. Every person who is rejected will have their passport and identity verified manually.

Border Crossing was urgently needed because the Warnings Index database that it replaced could not manage EU travelers who now have to go through the same checks as international travellers.

The eGates were also unsuccessful at UK airports on September 24, and October 6, this year. After they couldn’t recognize the passenger locator forms, it was closed down for several weeks. Foreign leisure travel began on May 17, when the eGates finally opened again.

EGates are used facial recognition technology to match a passenger’s image with a digital one. They are closely monitored by Border Force officers. Anybody who is refused is subject to a manual check of their passport and identity.

Border Crossing needed to be done quickly because the Warnings Index that replaced it, which was known as the Warnings Index had no way of handling EU travellers. They must now be checked in exactly the same manner as international passengers.  

Sid Philip from Bloomberg was one of those trapped in Heathrow chaos. He tweeted a photo of the huge queues and said shortly before 9am, ‘Another Day, Another Outage at Heathrow.

“Two hours to plane from outside the terminal, and I was fortunate!” Strangely, for just ten minutes no counter was manned. Agents laughed, got up and went!

Edward Grint from Britain, a bass baritone, said: “Stansted? Standstill?” Nearly an hour since landing. This means that it will take well over 2 hours to get my forms checked.

Another Twitter user queuing up at Heathrow stated: “A complete shower at #heathrow#heathrowairport as the #eGates are gone down. B****y massive queue, and no real additional staff to be seen.’

Paul Knights (56), who lives in Isle of Wight, and is a marketer and photographer, claimed that he got caught in the Luton queues after landing at Amsterdam Schipol on an easyJet flight at 9.40 am. 

MailOnline was informed by him that someone had come up to the front of the line and claimed it was a problem at Border Control. He was seen once or twice among the massive crowd. It’s possible that there is still an hour left.

It’s a place where people are patient. There’s no complaining or ranting. The atmosphere is generally calm. Although most have kept their masks on for the moment, some people took them off and got hotter. “Everybody has been patient.

According to one Heathrow employee, yesterday’s incident occurred while he was on his shift. He said that they were still working. They just gave up and they failed again. We’ve only been informed that there was a technical problem. It is now a serious problem.

One passenger, who was on an overnight flight with’red eyes’ from New York to London said that he had heard the same thing about Britain. It never works. I was able to enter the US in three minutes, and it is notoriously slow. “I’ve been here for an hour.” 

A border agent manually processing arrivals told the newspaper that it had happened several times in 2018. This is very annoying as they would have to work half the time. It is all part of the fun that technology brings.

MailOnline received a statement from the Home Office saying that the technical problem which affected eGates at several ports was known to them. We will work quickly to fix the problem and apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused to our passengers.

MailOnline was assured by a source from the Government that eGates are constantly being monitored in order to minimize disruption and that no impact on border security has been caused by this issue.

Border officials told The Times that they were unsure if the problems were linked to the Home Office’s £372million security database which has previously crashed and led to huge queues.

Passengers were stuck in huge queues at Stansted Airport yesterday (pictured) at immigration control due to the outage of electronic gates

Yesterday’s outage at electronic gates caused massive queues at Stansted Airport (pictured), and prevented passengers from getting through immigration.

Air passengers were forced to queue for up to two hours at London Luton Airport after an issue with the eGates

After an issue with eGates, passengers at London Luton Airport were made to wait up to 2 hours.

Paul Knights took this photograph of the huge queues faced by passengers after they arrived at Luton Airport

Paul Knights snapped this image of the massive queues that passengers faced after arriving at Luton Airport.

Bass baritone singer Edward Grint, stuck in a queue at Stansted, tweeted this picture and said: 'Stansted or Standstill?'

Edward Grint is a bass baritone and singer.

Just months after criticising the process and warning that it would not be able to handle more passengers, the Home Office was forced into the use of the system in a rush.

Border Crossing verifies names and addresses against terrorist records.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee published in March a report about the system. It stated that the Home Office did not have any proof it could handle passenger traffic that was present before Covid-19.

They also criticised government IT programs”stupid’ costs and blamed lack of leadership, management, and oversight.

They reported that Border Crossing had not been tested on a sufficient scale to meet passenger demand.

OCTOBER 6: Passengers queue for the arrivals hall at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 due to a problem with the eGates

OCTOBER 6, 2012: Due to problems with the eGates, passengers are lining up at the Terminal 5 arrivals Hall of London Heathrow Airport.

SEPTEMBER 24: Huge queues at Heathrow are caused by an IT failure leaving hundreds stuck in the underpass at Terminal 2

September 24, 2014: Heathrow’s huge queues are due to an IT problem that has left hundreds of people stuck under Terminal 2’s underpass.

AUGUST 29: Hundreds of holidaymakers are stuck in huge queues at Heathrow as they waited pass through Border Control

AUGUST 29, 2009: Heathrow is jammed with holidaymakers as hundreds wait to pass through Border Control.

Border Crossing was introduced quickly by the EU in June. The Warnings Index database that it replaced could not accommodate passengers from the EU. They must be assessed in the same manner as international travelers.

The development of the system’s IT component, part of a bigger scheme began in 2014. It was expected to be completed by 2017.

A previous IT project launched in 2003, eBorders, was ditched after eight years and cost at least £340million. A later contractual row cost the taxpayer another £185million.

It was reported that 25% of UK Border Force employees at Heathrow had been in contact with people who were positive for Covid. The result was that there were less people available for manual checks in case the IT system crashed.

Heathrow chaos for seven months

May 17The UK border was ‘bedlam’ for passengers, with many having to wait up to three hours at Heathrow passport gate. MailOnline received reports from travelers that they felt ‘terrified’ of getting Covid while being packed into the airport’s entry hall.

July 12,– Heathrow Terminal 5’s queues were compared to the ones seen at other airports. Officials blamed staff for having to isolate themselves. Passenger said that security was chaotic at Heathrow airport Terminal 5 this morning. It’s like nothing I have ever seen.

July 20,eGates rejected double-jabbed Britons because of the 90 minute wait at arrivals.

August 2,Terminal 5 became jammed with passenger lines. Officials blamed the staff for having to isolate themselves. According to a spokesperson, one out of four Border Force Guards was reported as being sick with Covid and self-isolating.

August 29Passport control reported three-hour waits. The Home Office threatened fury a day later when it declared that peak-time delays could be a possibility for passengers.

September 24,Heathrow passengers complain about Heathrow’s lack of respect for travellers, as ‘thousands’ are forced to queue up at UK Border Control waiting three hours.

October 6 – Hundreds of irate travellers at Heathrow re forced to wait up to four hours at arrivals in Terminals 3 and 5 or are being held on planes as eGates crash for the second time in less than two weeks.

November 10, 2010A nationwide eGate failure at Heathrow caused havoc at Luton and Stansted, resulting in long queues for passengers.