The stoppage is strongly affecting passport control, carried out by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), as seen in a video sent to The Portugal News from a reader.
Kiss FM radio in Albufeira, which broadcasts in English, received several requests for help, as well as reports of fainting and altercations.
On social networks, there are also posts from passengers, coming from the United Kingdom, who have reportedly waited four hours in line.
The civil service strike, called by the Common Front unions, has already led to the closure of schools and other state services.
I arrived at Faro airport for my 10.15 flight to Bournemouth and the place was in complete turmoil with the biggest queues I have ever seen, no information given by ground staff or police, people were fainting, tempers raised, no water after queueing for 3 and half hours, the. To be told my flight had already left and not to bother queuing anymore, we had no idea where our luggage was or what was happening, it’s the worst situation I have ever been in. I live in Loule and was going back to see family, so my suitcase is now in Bournemouth airport and I am back home in Vale Judeu. Ryanair was appealing and had no idea if our luggage was still in Faro or on the flight out. I have since found out it’s in Bournemouth and will be put on a flight back to Faro on Monday. The lack of information and for the poor people who were passing out was a horrific scene to be part of.
By Sally Fieldsend from Algarve on 17 Mar 2023, 15:46
Arrived at Faro Airport at 07:30 for a 10:00 flight to the UK. Eventually got through passport control at 11:30. Complete chaos, just two passport control booths open, several thousand people packed like sardines all the way back to the security screening area. Many people are fainting, but received no assistance, there were no announcements and the police were just standing around looking gormless. A complete shambles that will put many people off holidaying in Portugal again.
By Mark Barber from UK on 17 Mar 2023, 21:06
How can a country let its reputation be tarnished by a small group of selfish individuals?
By Alex from Algarve on 18 Mar 2023, 11:12
It is both equally right for the airport workers to demand a quality of life and for the travelers to expect a decent airport experience.
By HD from Algarve on 19 Mar 2023, 07:47
Let's have the truth one young girl fainted. If you don't like hold up go back to your own country awerend stay there. Were strikes are an every day problem.
By J1 from Lisbon on 19 Mar 2023, 10:00
@ J1 - and what will happen to Portugal's tourism driven economy if more people do decide to stay home, or more likely, holiday somewhere else? Who will you blame for the low standards of living then, which ironically this strike is attempting to address?
By Alex from Algarve on 20 Mar 2023, 15:06
We too were caught up in the dangerous mayhem that ensued on Friday morning. We arrived at the airport at 8 30 am for our 10.35 flight to Manchester. It took almost 3 hours of queuing to get our passports stamped. We k ew we would miss our flight and asked one of the policemen standing around if we could just go back out the way we had come in as we knew there was also a massive queue in arrivals. We were told it was possible but we would ha e to be escorted back out to security and there ws no one who could do that. This meant we went through passport control in departures and then waited another 3 hours at passport control in arrivals. We saw 2 elderly people collapse near us, one needing urgent assistance. We were effectively kettled in with literally thousands of people. It was horrendous. There were absolutely no announcement made to tell us what was going on and it was getting to tje point where some people were about to snap.
The strikers caused massive disruption, not gor their employers but to thousands of innocent passengers. Personally it has cost us hundreds in taxis and new flights and I want recompensing for this.
I understand the need for fair wages and support striking worjers in general but this action was irresponsible, to say the least. It was downright dangerous to make people wait in such conditions for so long. This is no way to treat the people who keep the Portuguese economy going. Piss off the tourists and holidaymakers and you do nothing but shoot yourselves in the foot.
By CJM from UK on 20 Mar 2023, 16:01
Arrived Faro Apt @ 9.00am for 11.45am flight to Stansted. Queued for 3 hrs and reached Passport Control @ 12.05pm, hence we missed the flight. The scenario was chaotic because of the volume of people and there were no announced cements or airport officials to offer information or updates. Airside we located a ‘Passenger Assistance Official’ who informed that we had to go through Passport Control again in order to exit the airport, so another 4 hr queue ensued and we finally exited the airport @ 17.30pm. There was no organised semblance of order and with the volume of people a potentially dangerous situation could have arisen. Strikes happen and I would hope the Faro Airport Authority and ‘powers that be’ acknowledge their responsibilities and hopefully put in place a contingency plan for future occurrences.
By barbara richardson from Açores on 20 Mar 2023, 18:28