Why are UK holidaymakers facing longer security checks and can I claim under EU261/2004 if I miss my flight? 

New security measures have been brought into effect in a response to terrorist acts in France and Belgium. This means that passengers from non-Schengen countries such as the United Kingdom are subject to increased security checks.  The authorities have instigated new measures which mean that these passengers are now checked against a database to alert the authorities regarding potential terror threats.  In practical terms, this means swiping a passport under a reader which can take two minutes per passenger rather than simply waving through passengers as is the current practice.

The new regulations are only applicable to passengers traveling from non-Schengen countries. The  Schengen convention introduced a common visa policy to police movement from outside the zone or traveling through the zone. The Schengen area consists of all the current EU countries except the UK and Ireland.  For us in the UK and Ireland, we have natural borders which prevent movement and so signing up to Schengen is not an attractive option if however, you are based in Europe say in Belgium but work in Holland the absence of border controls make a huge amount of sense.

These new security checks must be implemented before 7th October 2017.  This, however, comes against a background of a record number of passengers and often under staffed border controls. The combination of these factors of these factors has led the lengthy queues and often an anxious wait for passengers whilst they queue for border control

The European commission has defended these controls saying they are a matter of security.  For the cynic, it comes as a timely reminder to the UK that Brexit may lead to further security measures as we move towards leaving the European Union.

Compensation

Are you able to claim compensation under EU261/2004 if you are unable to get through border control and security in time to board your flight?  The answer is no because Airlines are not liable to pay compensation for matters beyond their control.

Advice to Passengers

Flight Delay Pay recommends that passengers check with the Airlines website for current instructions and arrive at least two hours before take off and proceed swiftly through security.  Some airports are experiencing longer queues due to the weight of passengers and the lack of manpower to process the new security measures.  Airports such as Malaga, Palma, Majorca have not been prepared for the combination of new regulations and high level of passengers.  Orly in Paris has coped better introducing extra staff.  We anticipate that these problems will settle down over time but during August and September it would be wise to arrive early for flights.