Long Spanish airport queues the ‘new normal’ for Brits

British tourists heading out to catch some winter sun have been told to expect long Spanish airport queues as passengers have waited upwards of 45 minutes to get through controls at popular holiday destinations. Two national travel agency associations, FETAVE and UNAV, have said the long queues are now ‘normal’ when landing in the country. 

The associations have made multiple complaints to the Spanish Government but claim that their concerns have fallen on “deaf ears”. Airports popular with Brits are feeling the brunt of the UK passengers moving to the non-EU passport control queues, which were already loaded with non-Schengen tourists looking for some winter warmth. 

Alicante-Elche, Malaga, The Canary Island and the Balearics are said to be some of the worst-hit by the move. Twitter user, Sudifoodie, tweeted “So thrilled to be back in Andalusia though it has been quite a journey with epic passport queues at Malaga Airport.”

Tourist associations are begging for more staff and Policia Nacional officers to help things run smoother for their customers at border control. They warn that with Brits making up 25% of all international passengers at Spanish airports, the problem is only going to get worse. This comes even as Spain place a ban on all unvaccinated visitors from the UK, taking away some custom from the coming months. 

As the UK is no longer in the Schengen Zone, tourists need to get their passports stamped, leading to long Spanish airport queues. If they fail to get their stamps they can be accused of overstaying which can lead to a fine and a ban on returning for five years. The rules on time spent say that visits can be for as long as 90 days out of every 180 days, rolling and applicable across the entire zone.

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Written by

Claire Gordon