The airport warned travelers to expect possible delays on Sunday.

An aircraft takes off in front of the control tower at London Gatwick Airport
Photo: Gatwick Airport

Passengers traveling through London Gatwick Airport experienced delays on Saturday after a problem with the self-check-in kiosks. The incident created long lines through the terminal as several passengers waited to check in for their flights.

Overnight, Gatwick Airport officials warned travelers that lines may be longer than usual on Sunday due to the technical issue still ongoing. The problem is reportedly only impacting self-check-in kiosks as the rest of the airport continues to operate normally.

A two-hour line

According to the BBC, one woman described the situation as a chaotic scene with hundreds of passengers lining up in a packed terminal on Saturday. The airport confirmed in a statement that the problem was a technical glitch with its systems that a separate company manages.

Sarah Leppard, a witness, said she was taking her sister to the airport to catch a British Airways flight to Australia when she noticed the chaos in the terminal.

“As soon as we entered the concourse, we hit a queue. It was absolutely packed,” Leppard told the BBC. “There were hundreds of people and nobody knew what was going on. We queued for two hours.”

London Gatwick Airport

Photo: Chris Loh | Simple Flying

In a statement, a Gatwick Airport spokesperson apologized for the delays and told passengers to notify their airline.

“Gatwick apologizes for any inconvenience and advises passengers to contact their airline,” the spokesperson said.

At 15:00 GMT on Saturday, a spokeswoman said the issue was ongoing, although queues were shorter as there were fewer flights in the afternoon, according to the BBC.

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Pack your patience

The technical problem did not seem to be fixed overnight, however. The airport informed travelers early Sunday morning to expect long lines again, explaining that the issue impacts the airport’s bag drop machines.

“If you are traveling from Gatwick today please be prepared for some delays at check-in due to a technical issue affecting our self-service bag drop machines,” the airport said. “We are working with the supplier to rectify this as soon as possible. Please contact your airline with any queries.”

Gatwick Airport also reiterated that the issue is only causing problems with the check-in process and not other systems. According to a tweet, the self-service kiosks are managed by a third-party company.

Other delays

This is not the first time the airport experienced delays this month. On March 8th, travelers were impacted by snowy weather, which disrupted the airport’s operations, according to My London News. Several flights were grounded, while some passengers were reportedly left on planes for upwards of three hours while their planes were de-iced.

A view of an easyJet aircraft from inside Gatwick Airport.

Photo: Gatwick Airport.

New figures show that more than a third of flights to and from UK airports were delayed last year. London’s business newspaper, City A.M., reported last week that 37% of flights were at least 15 minutes late in 2022.

“That bounceback in passenger numbers was at times overshadowed by the challenges that the aviation sector faced in the early summer of 2022, which saw an unacceptable level of flight cancellations and delays,” said Anna Bowles, Civil Aviation Authority’s Head of Consumers. “We expect to see increased resilience and continued improved performance by airlines in 2023, giving passengers the experience they expect and the confidence to continue to return to travel.”

Sources: BBC, My London News, City A.M.


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