22 holidaymakers stranded in Spain amid border check chaos

A group of 22 British holidaymakers - including a family with an autistic son - were left stranded in Spain this week after nightmare delays at border checks meant they missed their plane home.

New regulations enforced by the EU have led to massive queues at airports around Europe - but the problem was made worse at Barcelona's El Prat airport where security staff went on a go-slow to protest at overwork.

Kate Meek was one of 22 passengers left stranded at the airport on Monday after delays getting through passport checks meant they missed their Ryanair flight back to Birmingham at the end of a family holiday.

A group of 22 holidaymakers were left stranded in Barcelona this week after the long delays blighting passport checks around Europe led to them missing their flight home. The picture was taken after they arrived at the gate, with the plane they were due to board still visible (left)

A group of 22 holidaymakers were left stranded in Barcelona this week after the long delays blighting passport checks around Europe led to them missing their flight home. The picture was taken after they arrived at the gate, with the plane they were due to board still visible (left)

Barcelona's El Prat airport was hit by a double whammy of red tape as new EU passport checks led to staff staging a go-slow in protest at overwork. Huge queues at the border are pictured on Tuesday

Barcelona's El Prat airport was hit by a double whammy of red tape as new EU passport checks led to staff staging a go-slow in protest at overwork. Huge queues at the border are pictured on Tuesday

Ms Meek, 53, her husband Bruce, 18-year-old daughter Emily and autistic son Sam, 11, then had to find a hotel for the night and re-book on the Ryanair flight the following day.

The mother-of-two, from Coventry, insists they went to their gate as soon as it was called but had to join around 1,000 people from four different flights at outgoing passport control.

They managed to get through to their plane before it took off - and saw the ramp joining it to the terminal was still in place - but staff refused to let them and a number of other families board.

To add insult to injury, they then had to stand and watch their luggage be removed from the hold, taking far longer than it would have to allowed them to get on the aircraft.

She told MailOnline: 'We got to the airport around three and a quarter hours before take off and were waiting for them to call the gate. 

'When they did, we went to our section, but there were flights to Moscow, LA and two Ryanair flights taking off at the same time and there was about 1,000 people waiting at the extra passport check.'

Passengers flying to European airports have suffered long waits at passport checks since the EU brought in more stringent passport checks on entering and leaving the Schengen area

Passengers flying to European airports have suffered long waits at passport checks since the EU brought in more stringent passport checks on entering and leaving the Schengen area

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary yesterday told of his frustration at new outgoing passport checks

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary yesterday told of his frustration at new outgoing passport checks

Ms Meek added: 'We waited for some time but we could see we were going to miss our flight. One guy from our flight went up and asked them to let him through, but they refused and even threatened to

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