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‘Perfect storm’ of airline and ferry chaos may cause holiday misery until summer

Brits trying to get away on their Easter holidays face travel chaos at the UK's airports and ferry terminals – and the bad news is that experts think it might last for months.

Travel bosses have now warned that the misery could drag on until this summer as operators continue to struggle with staff shortages and Covid absences.

The disruption has come as a huge blow to families heading for overseas Easter breaks for the first time since pandemic restrictions ended.

And the chaos has only been made worse by the continued suspension of P&O Ferries, after the firm sacked 800 workers without notice last month, reports the Mirror.

Richard Ballantyne, from the British Port Authority, warned it may take­ ­several days to clear the backlog of delayed journeys, and that ferry-going passengers should even "bring food and water and prepare for long waits".

Airlines have also been hit by staff absences, many Covid-related, with a total of more than 100 flights cancelled in the past week.

Manchester Airport has even gone so far as to tell passengers to arrive three hours before departure to avoid missing their flights.

Airport bosses said long waiting times at security could remain a feature for months – with some passengers forced to queue for 90 minutes.

British Airways says the majority of its flights are going ahead – but in a precautionary move it had slightly reduced its operating schedule until the end of May.

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The airline recommended long-haul passengers also arrive three hours before their flight and short-haul passengers two hours ahead of take-off.

Budget carrier EasyJet said it was ­continuing to operate most of its 1,500 daily flights over the weekend.

But Which? travel editor Rory Boland claims some airlines had been caught out by the huge surge in travel and left themselves “woefully understaffed” to cope with the rebound after two years of Covid.

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He said: “It’s unfair that individuals and families are made to pay the price with lost holidays and money wasted on travel and other expenses at airports.”

Unions, meanwhile, say soaring sickness among border officials mean Britons returning from Easter breaks will face long delays when they reach these shores.

Lucy Moreton of the Immigration Services Union, which represents Border Force staff, said: “The increased rate of absence and other operational pressures we’re facing mean it’s a perfect storm.”

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