Heathrow may divert planes to deal with airport overcrowding

May 13, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Fears of massive overcrowding as travelers resume flying this summer has officials at London Heathrow Airport considering diverting airplanes to other airports as a last-resort measure.

With concerns that queues at Heathrow could be as long as six hours for border checks once the non-essential travel ban has lifted — including a social distancing nightmare — airport authorities are discussing sending aircraft to other U.K. airports and EU hubs to ease congestion. The news comes after a previous warning that backups at Heathrow could lead to passengers being forced to wait on planes for the crowds to ease up.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more travel news!

Officials at Heathrow say more staff are needed to process passengers at the border in an efficient manner and called on the Border Force to take more action.

“Instead of telling passengers to brace themselves for a long wait in immigration queues, Border Force should step up its efforts to automate checks for green list countries, and put in place additional resource for passengers where manual checks might be needed,” a Heathrow spokesperson said.

A Home Office representative told the BBC  that resuming e-Gate operations this summer remains on target and adding more officers for border checks is also planned.

“Protecting public health is our priority and as we reopen international travel safely we will maintain 100% health checks at the border to protect the wider public and our vaccine rollout,” the spokesperson added.

Another problem already causing delays that could get much worse once people resume traveling en masse? Travelers who don’t have their documentation in order. With COVID-19 restrictions still in effect, this is essential to minimize delays. We outlined steps for travelers to follow if they’re flying into Heathrow. Read them here.

Featured photo by Andrew Holt/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.