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    Saturday, May 11, 2024

    Gatwick Airport Terminal Evacuated as Passengers Miss Flights Amid ‘Absolute Carnage’

    Travellers at Gatwick Airport have reported missing their flights after the South Terminal was evacuated following a fire alarm on Thursday.

    People were evacuated from the departure lounge after the alarm was activated, including some passengers heading to Eurovision 2024’s semifinal at Sweden’s Malmo Arena.

    One passenger said the situation was “chaotic” and “people were running around everywhere and very confused”.

    The airport said in a statement: “Our dedicated Airport Fire Service swiftly attended and confirmed there was no fire. Passengers are being allowed back into the Departure Lounge.”

    One Norwegian Air customer heading to the Eurovision contest said she missed her flight to Copenhagen because she and more than 16 others standing at the gate were told to evacuate.

    Emma Thomasson said the group was forced to go outside and were told the flight was being held, but it departed around 11am with her friends on board.

    “They will make Eurovision tonight,” she wrote on X.

    “We (and our fellow passengers also headed for Malmo) may not as next flight isn’t until later today. So upset by the way this has been handled.

    “Updates show it actually took off at 11.03. Infuriating.”

    Another Norwegian Air passenger wrote on X: “Absolute carnage in Gatwick, evacuated for a fire alarm and told the plane will wait.

    “Get to the gate, plane doors open and flight attendants say they will take us on – head office says no and denies 38 people boarding.”

    Devon Photographer Michael Marker reported that “despite assurances” his “flight was not held”.

    “There was a serious lack of staff or assistance!”

    Norwegian Air said all passengers who missed their flight to Copenhagen have been rebooked on another one this afternoon, and those heading to Eurovision should make it to the arena before the show starts at 9pm on Thursday.

    A spokesperson told the Standard: “There was a fire evacuation at Gatwick today which resulted in several passengers missing their Norwegian flight to Copenhagen.

    “We tried to hold the plane at gate as long as possible, but due to crew times we could not delay further without having to cancel the flight. All passengers affected by this has been rebooked on the 15.35 flight to Copenhagen which is scheduled to land at 18.25.

    “The passengers going to the Eurovision semi-finals in Malmö should be able to reach Malmö arena with time to spare before the show starts at 9 pm.

    “We hope the passengers affected by this has a good flight and a great show tonight.”

    Gatwick Airport added: “There are no delays of note and some flights were held to ensure no one missed their flight”.

    Another passenger said Gatwick staff were “clueless” and described the ordeal as “awful”.

    Ryan Amstad wrote on X: “A fire alarm at Gatwick Airport and staff are as clueless as guests as to the procedures on how to safely exit. No fire marshalls, signage pointing the wrong way. Eventually found a way out. Awful.”

    Another person added: “Was all very sudden and chaotic for a while. People running around everywhere and very confused. Never experienced a big evacuation at Gatwick Airport before, don’t want to again!”

    Authorities have advised travellers to check their flight statuses ahead of time.

    On social media platform X, Clarity, a travel agency, said: “Clarity advises travellers flying to from or through London Gatwick Airport to confirm their flight status in advance of departure and allow additional time for processing through the airport.”

    A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said: “London Gatwick’s South Terminal Departure Lounge was evacuated for a short time this morning due to a fire alarm activation.

    “Our dedicated Airport Fire Service swiftly attended and confirmed there was no fire.

    “Passengers are being allowed back into the Departure Lounge. Safety and security are our top priority and we resolved the situation as quickly as possible.”

    The evacuation comes just days after a “nationwide issue” with Border Force e-gates caused chaos at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Luton airports.

    Images and footage posted on social media showed horrendous queues as passengers waited to have their passports checked at airports.

    The Home Office said the issue, which appeared to affect all UK airports, was resolved shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

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