Chaos at airports as tourism surges after COVID
Airports around the world are experiencing extreme crowding, delays, and lines of travelers due to the sudden and high increase of traffic after the pandemic restrictions were lifted in most countries.
This uptick in tourist numbers has caused some problems for airports around the world. Dublin airport, in particular, has hit the headlines internationally because of the delays and chaos caused by more travellers passing through Dublin's two terminals.
Unfortunate passengers in Dublin (photo) have had to experience long delays, with people queueing in Dublin's dark early mornings for flights leaving in the early afternoon. In the first weekend of the problem, 1,000 people missed their flights altogether.
Due to the pandemic, 1,000 staff at Dublin airport accepted voluntary redundancies, which has contributed greatly to this travel chaos.
Representatives for the airport are adamant that the situation is improving, but industry experts believe it will take 2-3 months for the airport to return to normal.
This regrettable situation is not just happening in Ireland. The UK, mainland Europe and elsewhere are also grappling with a greater influx of passengers.
Manchester may be more famous for its football and its music legends, but its airport is now in the news for all the wrong reasons: delays, cancellations, and passenger frustration.
The root cause is the same as in Dublin, but Manchester airport has hired 800 new staff - with 340 already working and the rest undergoing training and background checks. The situation should slowly improve.
The reasons for the delays at London's Gatwick are familiar. This has resulted in people trying to get home for the Jubilee being disappointed, while the airport and the airlines are pointing fingers at each other.
Passengers have complained about the lack of warning over cancellations, and in one notorious case, a plane left Gatwick - destined for Florence - without a single passenger on board.
Hundreds of delays and cancellations in Amsterdam's airport have been compounded by the threat of bad weather and the Pentecost weekend. In the hopes of salvaging some routes and easing the passenger burden at Schiphol, KLM took the drastic decision - on Saturday, June 5th - of flying empty planes to the airport.
KLM staff have earned praise for handing out blankets and pillows to stranded passengers, while people on social media have been sharing tips on the best places to sleep in the airport. One Instagrammer said that the airport's mini-museum - replete with works from the Rijksmuseum - was the best place to get some shuteye.
In the long term, the situation in Amsterdam should improve. A planned strike in the summer by airport staff has now been called off, with the airport agreeing to increase wages.
The problem of delays and cancelled flights seems particularly pronounced in Europe, but it has affected other airports around the world. The New York Times has even commented that 'chaos' was the price we would have to pay for being able to travel again.
Canada's Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra summed up the problems at Canadian airports by saying: "What we're seeing is a significant surge in demand and supply is catching up to it". This has affected everybody from airport workers to taxi drivers.
In order to ease the situation, the Canadian government has pledged to fast-track the training of new staff, remove some COVID tests, and to generally speed up the processing time of passengers.
Travel has increased greatly as COVID restrictions have started to ease. Many people are packing their bags and booking tickets to exotic locations. After periods of confinement and isolation, a holiday seems like a perfect way to celebrate the return to something approaching normality.
According to a report from the World Economic Forum, tourism increased a lot in 2021, and even though it never reached pre-pandemic levels, it is a positive sign and this growth is expected to continue throughout 2o22.
Greece (pictured), Croatia, and Spain were some of the most popular destinations. On the flip side, countries such as Latvia and Hungary were still struggling in 2021 to reach pre-pandemic levels.
Perhaps the recent delays on the airports were inevitable after the disruption of the COVID pandemic. But it seems as if the affected airports are doing their utmost to improve it. Hopefully, travelling to the best tourist destinations will be hassle-free in the near future.