British holidaymakers are having to wait hours in queues for passport control at European airports this summer due to tighter border controls.
There have been reports of people fainting at airports popular with British holidaymakers while waiting in long lines for up to 4 hours just to get through passport control.
The airline association, Airlines for Europe (A4E), which represents carriers including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair has warned that the problem is likely to worse over the coming weeks.
The new immigration checks designed to get tough following terror attacks across Europe are taking more time to process British travellers in the Schengen area and A4E blames the delays on the lack of staff provided by many countries to implement these new passport checks.
The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 and consists of 26 European states that have abolished passport control at their mutual borders. The UK and Republic of Ireland negotiated opt-outs from Schengen and continue to operate border controls with other EU members.
Previously, European passport officials have only given visual checks to British travellers, but now they must run checks against a number of databases to alert authorities on possible threats. These new tests are run on both entry and exit to the Schengen area and take approximately 2 minutes per passenger.
Palma airport in Majorca has been one of the worst hit with the new border controls. An Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) representative has warned independent travellers to check with their airlines and to factor in more time for passport control, in and out of the airport.
The UK Department of Transport were warned about the possible delays by Airline UK back in May. The EU regulation (EU 2017/458), which was implemented in March as a result of the Paris and Brussels terror attacks doesn’t come into full force until October but some airports are already doing so and others carrying out spot checks on flights.