The terminal resembled a refugee camp at midday

Children kept entertained.

Tensions were running high yesterday morning at Palma Airport as disgruntled passengers felt the pressure of delays and strike chaos. The coach strike continued yesterday morning on what was an incredibly busy Saturday for the tourist trade. As thousands of passengers waited to leave the airport in taxi queues that seemed to stretch for miles, on the other side of the terminal an equal number were waiting to catch their flights out. Some had been there for almost fifteen hours and had slept on hard marble floors or Lilos in the searing Majorcan temperatures. Late on Friday talks to end the strike had fallen through with coach drivers looking for a four percent increase in their wages and not wanting to back down. On Friday it looked as though their efforts were making little difference as the airport was operating well, but Saturday was a different story, creating havoc for the island's economy and tourists. At twelve noon, at least thirty flights on the departures board had between two and seven hour delays. Banks of televisions and playstations had been set up to amuse children and the Red Cross was maintaining a presence in case children or the elderly suffered from any discomfort. The police presence was noticeable by all and the huge banks of taxis which have been booked by tour operators to replace coaches seemed to be guarded by police and tour guides as the heat caused many to lose their cool. Screams and shouts were heard from one German airline office and a puce-faced tour guide attempted to pull apart warring and overtired tourists. Some people had been out enjoying a night in the clubs in Majorca's night-spot Magalluf. When they arrived back to their hotels at 3am they were told to pack immediately and get in taxis for the airport, some 12 hours ahead of schedule because taxis were so scarce. These people were up all night and have had a sour end to their idyllic Island break.


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