While Irish passengers can use the service to avoid long queues at Malaga airport, Britons should watch out as the UK is no longer in the European Union (EU). As in most airports, there are two queues in Malaga – one closed with black tape and marked with a Union flag and the other surrounded by green tape and showing a flag Irish tricolor and an EU flag labeled for “EU citizens”.
Brits have recently faced bigger queues in their lane and many tourists have expressed their anger online, reports Dublin Live.
A visitor returning from Spain tweeted: “The express bus lane (green stripe) with the automated turnstiles is for Irish EU citizens only. The Disneyland queue (black stripe) with the police toll booths is for non-EU citizens only.
Another British passenger claimed that Irish citizens received ‘preferential treatment’ while others reported ‘two-hour queues for non-EU passengers’.
A third Twitter user said: “Sitting at Malaga airport coming back. What a joke! Huge queue for UK passengers stretching to the duty free exit…while the lane for the EU is empty.”
“Preferential treatment for the only flight to Ireland. Travelers beware,” added another.
More than 3,000 passengers missed their flight at Madrid airport during the Easter holidays.
Since Brexit, British tourists are only allowed to stay in the Schengen area (an area of free movement without border controls which includes 26 countries including Spain but excluding Ireland) for only 90 days on 180 and must have their passports stamped when they leave or may face being refused entry on another visit.
Meanwhile, Irish citizens enjoy EU-wide passenger rights to travel to, from or within the EU by air, train, bus/coach or boat.
But there are fears the chaotic scenes at airports could be repeated this summer.
The president of the Association of Airlines (ALA) in Spain, Javier Gandara, said: “There have already been problems at airports over Easter and we must prevent this from happening in high season.
“This will be the first summer that travelers’ passports to the UK will need to be checked and the first that air traffic is likely to be normal, now that the UK government has lifted all restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.”
UK airports have also had problems recently, largely due to staff shortages.
A tourist who queued at the Manchester hub last month called it ‘the worst airport in Europe’.
And photographs taken at Birmingham Airport show the queue snake through the terminal, even stretching up the escalators to the check-in area.