Seventeen people missed their flight to Manchester because they didn’t get through security at Ronaldsway airport in time.
Monday ’s incident sparked anger from passengers and a warning from airport bosses to arrive early.
One of the people who missed an Easyjet flight says that the airport needs to warn people about the issue of lengthy queues in security.
Patsy Bull, who lives in Manchester, was visiting the island to reunite with her brother for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
She said that having just one x-ray scanner operating was not enough to deal with the volume of people in the queue.
And another passenger who missed a flight, and arrived one hour and 10 minutes before it, claimed that staff told her the airport was still dealing with the effects of the pandemic and did not have enough security staff to process passengers quickly enough.
Having checked in online, Ms Bull thought that arriving 50 minutes before her 1pm flight would be enough time - though she acknowledged that the guidance she thought she had been given was to arrive between two hours and 40 minutes before the flight. The airport officially advises people to arrive two hours before departure time.
Forty minutes prior to departure is the time which Easyjet advises people to have cleared security and be waiting at the gate by.
It took Ms Bull 25 minutes to get through security, but she said that some passengers she spoke to in the queue said that they had been waiting there for between 45 minutes to an hour for the later Bristol flight.
The ’snaking’ queue was backed up right out of the security area, to near the top of the stairs, she explained.
Ms Bull said that among the group of passengers at the closed gate were European tourists worried about catching a connection, and a young local woman who was in tears pleading with staff because she was travelling to make a hospital appointment.
’Not only was it distressing for her, it was distressing for us to experience that,’ Ms Bull said.
’And the staff at the gate could only repeat "It’s nothing to do with us, the gate has been closed, we’ve told the captain and everything’s going to have to be offloaded" - even though there were a number of us who didn’t have any luggage.’
She said she had to ’do what the security staff should have done’ - gather other passengers on the flight to ask those on the later one to Bristol if they would allow them to skip ahead.
By contrast, Ms Bull pointed out that in major UK airports like Manchester it was standard procedure for staff to help passengers through queues if they were at risk of missing their flight.
She said that for a government that wants to encourage tourism, ’it needs to get the message out’ about waiting times ’until security services are increased’. ’It is not just a matter of checking in two hours before, because that time is already being used [in security queues],’ she said.
’The staff told me "Something like this happened the other week as well" and I told them: "It’s going to happen next week as well then, isn’t it?"’.
Ms Bull had to book another flight for the next day at a cost of £50, though she was able to claim £13 tax back from the missed flight.
A government spokesman said: ’Some passengers unfortunately missed their flight to Manchester on Monday after arriving too late to allow sufficient time to get through security.
’Isle of Man Airport has two security lines, one of which is fully operational and the other which has recently undergone repair and is awaiting sign off from the firm which undertook the work.
’Once signed off this will give some additional capacity, but there is a need for those travelling to be prepared.
’Passengers should aim to arrive at the airport two hours ahead of the flight departure time to ensure that there is sufficient time to pass through the process. ’Easyjet requires passengers to be through security and at the gate 40 minutes before the scheduled departure time, and Loganair 30 minutes.
’Monday was a peak for passengers moving through the security area and staff were deployed to ensure that this process was managed as efficiently as possible.’
’It was apparent that it is taking time for travellers to re-familiarise themselves with the requirements for flying.’