Airport authorities are asking passengers to watch what they pack and not turn up too early as millions head overseas for a festive break.
An estimated 2.5 million Britons are heading for warmer climes or visiting relatives abroad before Christmas and Heathrow Airport bore the brunt of the congestion over the weekend.
The terminals were heaving and passengers were making use of marquees pitched in the car parks in the wake of this years’ security alerts.
Some 2.8 million passengers are expected to travel out of the airport between now and New Year.
According to a Heathrow spokesman, many passengers are causing long queues by trying to take wrapped Christmas presents on board.
‘We have recruited and trained 100 extra security staff and opened an extra 13 extra security lanes since the threat level was raised to critical.
‘We are asking passengers to take care about what they pack and check our Heathrow website or call our helpline 08700 000123 for flight information and packing advice.’
British Airways spokesman Leo Seaton said: ‘Many passengers are simply turning up too early, such that they can’t actually check in and are just milling about the concourse.
‘BA is advising its customers travelling shorthaul not to arrive at the airport terminal any earlier than two hours before their flight and, for those travelling longhaul, no earlier than three hours before flight.’