After visiting some classmates in Amsterdam, Jostein Liland was going back to Sandefjord today.
But he is unsure if he will get on the plane at all.
– I was fortunately well prepared, but I do not know if it holds.
The heart rate monitor shows that he has walked more than one kilometer. And he’s far from halfway there.
– There is a queue over one kilometer long out in the sun. People apply sunscreen, sit on their bags or on the ground. Water and some food will be distributed, says Liland.
– Even though I had priority, I had to wait for over an hour to get in.
And this is how the situation has been at many of Europe’s airports lately.
– Basically, we are talking about the major airports in Europe, such as Amsterdam Schiphol, London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Copenhagen Kastrup, Stockholm Arlanda, Dublin, Manchester, Brussels and Barcelona, says flight analyst Hans Jørgen Elnæs in Winair.
The reason is lack of enough people.
– The airports were affected in the same way as the airlines during the pandemic. Many had to lay off employees, and not all countries have as good redundancy schemes as in Norway, Elnæs continues.
Among other things, SAS has canceled 4000 flights this summer to remedy the capacity challenges.
Record day in Oslo
At Oslo Airport, the Friday before Pentecost will set a record number of passengers after the pandemic. At the same time, the day will give a good indication of how the summer will be at the airport.
– Today is a test day for how summer can be. We have prepared very well and have good plans for how it will be completed. This is about as high as it will be this summer, so when this day is over we know more about how it will be this summer, says airport director Stine Ramstad Westby.
A total of 96,000 passengers and 750 aircraft are expected this Friday alone.
– It is a big day for us and the passengers, says the airport director.
However, these are lower traffic numbers than before the pandemic.
Must be security cleared
Elnæs says that the airports lack people for everything from check-in to security control and baggage handling, says Elnæs.
The aviation analyst says that these jobs are typical low-wage occupations, and if new people are to be hired, they must receive training and security clearance.
– There have been stricter rules in the EU, so that these clearances can in the worst case take up to ten weeks.
In less than a month, the joint holiday in Europe will also start.
– July is probably the most comprehensive month, says Elnæs.
Has implemented measures
But measures have been taken to reduce the chaos.
I Amsterdam Schiphol, you are now not allowed into the departure hall if it is more than four hours until the flight departs.
In the UK, airlines Tui and Ryanair have asked travelers to do not arrive more than three hours before departure.
– We must probably count on such measures, although it is difficult to say how it will be at each airport. That there will be chaos this summer, you have to reckon with that, says Elnæs.
May be increased transit times
Another measure could be that airports increase the time passengers have from one flight to another when they stop over.
– The challenge that can arise is if you book different tickets, through different airlines on the trip.
An example is if you fly with one company from Bodø to Oslo, and another company from Oslo and out into the world.
– Then you are responsible for catching the plane. If you fly consistently with one company, you are to a greater extent in the company’s control. So you should keep that in mind when booking your trip.
Stay tuned for messages
Even though Oslo Airport has been spared from the really long queues, Ramstad Westby says that delays on the continent can spread to Norway.
– This is an aviation system that is connected, and if there are delays in one place, there will be delays in Norway as well.
And for travelers who are going to fly during the Whitsun weekend or this summer, the airport director has the following advice:
– Get in line with what they have been told by their airlines, they should choose automated solutions if they can, check in at the vending machine or online, drop their suitcase themselves, travel with only hand luggage if possible, be prepared for security checks and breathe with your stomach – it goes well, she says.