Choker block: Passengers waiting their turn to get to the immigration counters.
SEPANG: Tempers flared at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) as countless passengers had to contend with long lines for immigration clearance.
Only three counters were opened to cater to the surge of passengers who arrived late yesterday evening.
Lawyer Tharishni Arumugam, 27, was among those who were caught in the chaos.
“There seemed to be no immigration officer when I landed at about 4pm. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on,” she said.
Tharishni, who had returned from Bangkok, said the queue finally started to move at 4.30pm as more immigration officers were deployed at the gates. She added that the escalators were out of order and the air-conditioning was barely working.
“Even elderly people had to carry their bags,” she claimed, describing the situation as “absolute chaos”.
“I wasn’t sure which queue was meant for holders of Malaysian passports or those that were meant for international passports,” she said.
She claimed that people could be heard shouting due to frayed nerves.
“I figured it was because some were cutting the queue,” she said.
Tharishni, however, stressed that this was the first time she had encountered such a situation in LCCT and that all her previous experiences were smooth sailing.
Another frequent traveller, Keana Reinu, 21, also complained about faulty escalators, causing passengers to have to lug their bags to get to the immigration counters.
She also alleged that there were no ground staff to control the crowd.
Due to the immigration delay, luggage collection and customs clearance were also a nightmare, Keana claimed, adding that she took more than an hour to pass through the airport.
“Others waited much longer,” she said.
AirAsia, AirAsia X, Indonesia AirAsia, Thai AirAsia and AirAsia Zest will begin operations from KLIA2 on Friday.
Bernama quoted Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd senior general manager (operations division) Datuk Azmi Murad as saying that the Immigration Department opened 17 counters at the LCCT yesterday.
“Ten counters are for international flights, four domestic and three autogate,” he said.
The congestion, he said, could be due to the peak hours between 3pm and 5pm.
He said there were no glitches in the system and passengers might have to wait longer due to many flights arriving at the same time.