Technical issue shuts down e-gates at UK airports causing massive queues

A technical issue hit airports across the UK on Friday, September 24, causing e-gates to stop functioning, creating enormous queues of passengers, with others being kept inside aircraft that had landed on the runways, told that they could not leave the plane until there was sufficient space cleared inside the terminal building, as more and more flights arrived to add to the chaos.

Heathrow was badly affected by this unspecified ‘technical problem’ along with Manchester and Edinburgh, with many aggravated passengers taking to social networks to vent their anger as they sat on aircraft waiting to be allowed off, while others shared photos from the terminal, showing long queues of static passengers.

Louis Theroux, the acclaimed documentary maker was one of those stuck at Heathrow, and he described the situation as a “human logjam”, while another claimed to Sky News that from landing to actually reaching the baggage reclaim took them three hours.

One passenger said they were told their aircraft was unable to approach the gates because of “a total system failure across the UK”, as the airport took to Twitter to complain that, “queue times are at unacceptable levels”, telling passengers, “we do appreciate your patience”, while adding that it had urged the government, “to address the problem as a matter of urgency”.

A spokesperson for the airport, in a statement sent to told passengers “we do appreciate your patience”. reportedly told them, “We are aware of a systems failure impacting the e-gates, which are staffed and operated by Border Force. This issue is impacting a number of ports of entry, and is not an isolated issue at Heathrow”.

“The UK Border Force (UKBF) IT issue is nationwide and UKBF teams are working to resolve this. All available UKBF staff are in the arrivals hall to carry out necessary checks and allow passengers to pass through the border as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience”, stated a spokesperson for Edinburgh airport.

A Home Office spokesperson informed Sky News, “This afternoon a technical issue affected eGates at a number of ports. The issue was quickly identified and has now been resolved”, but the problem of long queues remained an issue, even after the fault had been rectified, much to the disdain of passengers.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at