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Chaos in Barcelona Airport

Labor conflict causes third day of long lines at security checkpoints with passengers complaining of a lack of information and some missing their flights


26 July 2017 04:40 PM


ACN | Barcelona

For the third day in a row there were chaotic scenes at Barcelona Airport’s security checkpoints, with huge lines of passengers queuing to get through to the departure lounge. On Wednesday morning the lines reached their longest, stretching to almost outside Terminal 1. Passengers at the airport were frustrated with the situation, and many missed their flights after having to wait so long at airport security. The cause of the situation is a conflict between airport security staff, from the Eulen company, and the state airport operator Aena. The staff say they have an unsustainable workload and feel under great pressure, which is leading to physical and psychological exhaustion. As a result, the security guards are working to rule and doing the minimum established by their contracts. This is what has led to a third day of long lines at airport security.

The lines threatening to overflow Terminal 1 on Wednesday morning saw many passengers waiting for over an hour to get through security. It was a similar situation in Terminal 2, according to some travelers. The passengers already aware of the situation arrived with time to spare, but many travelers had no idea about the security guards’ decision to work to rule or the long lines, and so many of them missed their flights. In some cases, the flight companies at the check-in desks directly told passengers not to check-in their luggage, as they would not make it to the plane on time.

The tense atmosphere at Barcelona Airport even led certain passengers becoming aggressive towards security staff, with the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra police having to intervene. Many passengers complained about the lack of information or advanced warning from the flight companies and Aena. The lack of alternative solutions in the case of missing a flight was also criticized by many.

It does not seem that the lines will get any shorter over the few next days. On Friday morning, the parties involved in the conflict will meet to try and resolve the conflict. However, if they do not find a solution, the security staff say they will call an indefinite strike starting on August 4. If it goes ahead, the strike will be held every Friday, Sunday and Monday, from 5.30-6.30am, 10.30-11.30am, 4.30-5.30pm and 6.30-7.30pm. In the meantime, the security staff say they will continue to work to rule as they have done in the past few days.


  • Long lines in Barcelona Airport on Wednesday (by ACN)

  • Long lines in Barcelona Airport on Wednesday (by ACN)