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There is no doubt that technological advances have made travel easier, from virtual boarding passes to check in online. One of the places new technology has made the most positive effect is at passport or border control, where electronic chips in passports and facial recognition software have sped up long queues.
However, when we become reliant on technology we do leave ourselves vulnerable to a whole host of breakdowns, system glitches and IT bugs, which is unfortunately exactly what happened in the UK very recently.
According to news coverage, a fault on the UK Border Force computer systems meant that travellers were stranded in some very long queues as they waited to have their passport checked. Passengers at major UK airports such as Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Birmingham were affected last week, plus people docking at Dover and Southampton.
The issues meant that passport chips and facial recognition software were not functioning, so staff were forced to manually input the passport details of every person travelling through the UK, which was especially time consuming for non-European travellers.
As we all know, the section of the airport reserved for border control is usually quite boring, with little in the way of seating, food or water to help the waiting passengers. However, some reported queues of up to 90 minutes in one UK airport, and over two hours in others, with staff unable to reassure passengers as to when the technology would work again.
The problems have now been fixed, and UK airports and ports have returned to business as usual, but officials are still investigating the incident to ensure it can be prevented in the future.
Unfortunately Holidaysafe.co.uk can’t protect you against IT bugs, but our cover can step in to protect you against most holiday disasters, including airport delays, cancellation, travel abandonment, medical emergencies plus much more. For more information visit Holidaysafe.co.uk.
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