- Angry travellers complain of lack of staff on hand to limit huge queues at airport
- Shocking images show extent of disruption, with social distancing impossible
- One said: ‘No one knows where they are going or what they are supposed to do’
Huge crowds of tourists were crushed together at Rhodes airport today as passengers described scenes of ‘chaos’ as they tried to leave the Greek island.
Reports on social media suggested fights broke out as angry travellers complained of a lack of staff on hand to limit huge queues, where social distancing was impossible to achieve.
Witnesses said the crowds were stuck in sweltering heat with no windows or air conditioning for several hours, where tensions are said to have quickly boiled over.
Video footage shows the frustrated passengers standing in bunches, not moving, while one man fans himself to stay cool.
One flier claimed the disruption was sparked after five different flights were announced for departure at the same time.
Holiday company TUI has apologised for the chaos, and said travellers were warned the airport was going to be busy due to the increased volume of flights and that they should proceed to passport control as soon as they had checked in.
Lauren Rammell, from British girl group Four of Diamonds, appeared to have been caught up in the disruption as she tweeted: ‘I actually have no words for the scenes at Rhodes airport this evening…’
One passenger wrote: ‘Absolute chaos at #Rhodes airport. Fights and arguments breaking out.
‘No one knows where they are going or what they are supposed to do. No staff, no control.’
Another said: ‘Chaos at Rhodes airport, 5 flights leaving in the same 30 minutes & everyone is told to go to gate at same time creating bottle neck in awful heat, no staff or announcements to let ppl know what they were to do or where to go, all flights delayed to terrible service!’
A third added: ‘Huge queues from start to finish. No social distancing. No control from staff. The airport is too small for the extra flights put on by @TUIUK and @jet2tweets. It’s unsafe and can’t continue.’
A fourth wrote: ‘Right now 10 flights crammed into 1 room for 3 hours, no windows, no air con, kids crying.
‘Is this what it has come too? @MattHancock @BorisJohnson you have some explain to do?’
Another added: ‘If someone isn’t injured in the thousands queueing then it will be a miracle.’
Others said: ‘Whoever the hell designed rhodes airport deserves to get fired from any job. I’ve spent near enough 30 mins in the line for passport control and at this rate everyone in the airport is going to miss their flights.’
While many Greek islands have been on the Government’s quarantine list during the pandemic, passengers have been able to travel to and from Rhodes without needing to self-isolate.
Quarantine rules come into effect for those arriving in Myknos at 4am on Sunday, Crete was added to the list last weekend, while Lesvos, Santorini airport, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos were included on October 10.
Holiday firms even increased the number of flights to Rhodes earlier this month as other hotspots such as Turkey and Poland lost their travel corridors with the UK and demand for trips to the popular destination surged.
A spokesperson for TUI said: ‘We’re sorry for the disruption that our customers have experienced at Rhodes airport today.
‘We did inform customers in advance that the airport was going to be busy due to the increased volume of flights by a number of airlines, and they were to proceed to passport control as soon as they had checked in.
‘We would like to thank them for their patience and understanding.’
Jet2 has also been approached for comment.