Paris attacks: Singaporeans return from Paris face gridlock at airport, security checks

People queueing at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France, on Nov 14 2015.
People queueing at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France, on Nov 14 2015.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans returning from Paris after the attacks on the French capital spoke of long lines and gridlock at the airport as they tried to make their way home.

Some said that they queued for more than four hours at Charles De Gaulle Airport just to check in, while others waited on the plane for two hours before all passengers were on board and they could leave.

Singapore Airlines flight SQ355 was supposed to arrive at 6.40am but was delayed, finally touching down at Changi Airport's Terminal 2 just before 8.30am.

 

Passengers on that flight had to have their baggage screened before they were allowed to leave the arrival hall.

Architect Ong Hwee Jin, 39, said that the scene at the Paris airport was "a bit chaotic".

"They closed off all the halls except one, so there was only one point of entry and a lack of manpower," he said. "That led to a lot of pushing and an unfriendly atmosphere."

He had been in London and Paris for a work trip, and had stayed around 3km from the concert hall where most of the casualties had occurred.

"We heard a lot of sirens, but we didn't know what had happened," he said.

His sentiments were echoed by other Singaporeans that The Straits Times spoke to, many of whom had been in their hotel rooms at the time of the attack.

"There were a lot of sirens going on the whole night long," said Ms Catherine Goh, 66.