Stansted airport power cut caused 'chaos', passengers say

Crowd of people in terminal building at London Stansted Airport. Signs above directing to "departures"
Passengers said they had experienced long queues in the terminal building [Paul Duggan]

Passengers have described scenes of "utter chaos" at London Stansted Airport following a power cut.

Some said they missed flights because of delays caused by the outage at the Essex facility.

Others reported spending four hours waiting for baggage to be returned after missing their flights.

Stansted Airport apologised to customers and advised them to leave plenty of time for travel.

The outage hit early in the morning and the airport said it affected a number of systems, including check-in, security and baggage.

Flights were said to be operating as normal later in the day, but many customers missed their flights because they were queuing for check-in services.

The power was restored during the morning but the knock-on effects continued for several hours.

Stansted Airport sign
London Stansted Airport warned passengers to leave extra time for their travel [BBC]

Andy Sheppard was trying to get to Positano in Italy with his partner.

He told the BBC there was "complete and utter chaos" in the terminal, "with virtually no guidance or assistance".

The couple finally made it through "miles of queues" and arrived at the departure gate just four minutes after the scheduled flight time to find that the Ryanair plane had departed on time.

'Lack of preparedness'

Mr Sheppard said: "We then had to wait four hours for our bags to be returned - I don't think they even made it on the plane.

"We'll lose two days of our holiday as we have to get a much later flight tomorrow from Luton, and, as this arrives after the buses to Positano have ceased, we've had to book a €150 taxi, along with hotel accommodation and transport costs."

He added that he found a Stansted Airport helpdesk was closed and there were no staff to help.

He concluded: "It all makes one ashamed at our complete lack of preparedness and for the appalling sight it gives to our friends from overseas."

Stansted Airport, showing control tower and roof of terminal building
Passengers reported long delays at the terminal [PA Media]

Posting on social media, one passenger said there were no contingency plans for moving luggage around when the conveyor belts were not working.

Another who had been waiting in baggage reclaim for three hours pleaded: "Will someone please come and help all the passengers stuck in this area of the airport?"

A spokesperson for Stansted Airport said: "Regular Tannoy announcements were made throughout the period of disruption, and additional staff were deployed to the terminal to support passengers and the recovery operation.

"The info desk colleagues may at times also have been deployed to help support recovery in support of the customer service teams.

"All airline helpdesks were open, and that's where passengers were advised to go if rebooking or seeking specific advice."

The spokesperson added that flights operate to schedule where possible so they do not miss their slots and the airlines confirmed the overwhelming majority of passengers had made their flights.

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