Furious holidaymakers branded the situation “ridiculous” after claiming they had been queuing for more than one hour for their flights. Photographs show lines of tourists waiting outside the airport, which is a base for easyJet and Ryanair.
One tourist said it was “the longest queue” he had seen in his life while another tweeted to call the situation “absolute chaos”.
“This is madness @BristolAirport something need to be done to minimise the impact of staff shortage as people having a hell of an experience when trying to catch their flight. At the airport since 4am and still haven’t passed security controls,” said one man after claiming he had already been waiting for one hour and 20 minutes.
Josh Newton, who left for to Dubrovnik, Croatia, told Bristol Live it was “organised chaos.”
He said: “People who had close flights were sent ahead. I wasn’t worried I would miss the flight, but I would have been if didn’t arrive very early.”
A Bristol Airport statement has warned travellers not to arrive “too early”.
It said: “We are sorry customers experienced an above average check-in and security queue this morning (Thursday 19 May). The maximum queue time at check-in did not exceed 43 minutes and security queue time did not exceed 90 mins, no delays were experienced at bag-drop desks.
“We work closely with all business partners and airline handling agents to ensure staffing levels are sufficient to provide a good service to passengers. We constantly review resourcing across all areas and adapt plans to meet demand and build in resilience where possible.
“We appreciate the frustration experienced by customers currently and please be reassured our teams are working exceptionally hard to assist customers throughout the airport journey.
“All business partners are continuing to recruit and train new colleagues, but this takes time. We advise all customers to check with the airline when their check-in/ bag drop desk opens and arrive in the terminal at this time – do not arrive too early as customers will not be able to check-in.”
The scenes comes amid severe delays at multiple airports across the UK, including Manchester and Birmingham.
People missed flights due to huge delays at hubs earlier this month.
A group of 30 people had hoped to go to Dublin from Birmingham Airport but missed the Ryanair plane.
One woman said: “I understand the staff were under pressure but it was difficult to ask them anything as they would say that they would call us, however they left it very late to call us.”