Passengers Left on Planes at Heathrow as Staff Watched World Cup Games

By Gary Cutlack on at

Pity anyone trying to land or get off an aeroplane in the UK this evening, as during one previous World Cup match travellers were left on aeroplanes as border staff took time off to watch the England team scrape through on penalties against Colombia.

Delays of up to three hours were recorded at Heathrow, as passport control staff allegedly took suspiciously long tea breaks to stream portions of the match. Heathrow's operator has complained to Border Force, manager of the passporting processes and the country's immigration and customs controls, saying such delays were at best a bit of an embarrassment and can everyone be ordered to properly man their battle stations during today's semi-final.

Heathrow exec John Holland-Kaye said in a letter to Border Force that: "The worst queuing occurred during the World Cup game when the number of desks manned dropped from typically 22 to 11 and the queue time increased to three hours. Given there were 28 officers on duty, this seems to be a failure of leadership."

Or maybe it's good leadership to give your team a bit of a break during a time of national togetherness? People coming home from holiday are never really in that much of a hurry anyway, are they? Besides, the Home Office says the build up of passengers on the day in question was due to late-arriving flights and computer problems. [The Times]