A Wigan-born teacher has expressed his anger at the treatment of his wife from Thailand by Manchester Airport staff and border employees.
Graham Lowe, who is originally from Golborne but now lives in China, hit out at the airport over the way his wife Chidtawadee has been treating when entering the UK with her family.
In the worst incident Mrs Lowe was made to wait in line for three and a half hours separated from Graham and the couple’s young daughter Elizabeth and he has also made complaints about employees being rude to her.
He is now raising awareness of previous incidents as the family is due to return to the UK to visit relatives in June and he is keen to avoid a repeat of the incident, which he says left Elizabeth extremely distressed.
Mr Lowe also contrasted his wife’s treatment at Manchester with the warm welcome the family has received around the world and is asking for a separate line at the border to be set up for UK citizens with non-EU spouses.
Mr Lowe, 50, said: “It was just a very long and slow-moving queue and the attitude of the staff was total indifference. They wouldn’t even get my daughter a glass of water.
“I couldn’t help noticing while I was waiting that some nationalities seem to get through a lot quicker than others, and people from Thailand always get stopped.
“When my wife got to the front of the line she took about two minutes to get through, amazingly. I think it was basically because they could see me watching.
“A simple solution to this would be for spouses of UK citizens, particularly those with children, to be seen in a separate line. They could then zip us through while still observing due process. That’s all I ask.
“The number of times we have been delayed at Manchester is ridiculous. It’s an awful introduction to the country.
“When my wife goes to visit her sister is Zurich she is welcomed and there is no problem. My family is infinitely welcome in Beijing and there are no rpoblems at Bangkok, but at Manchester it feels like they are out to get you.”
Mr Lowe says his family has experienced similar problems at the borders at Middle Eastern airports but was shocked to encounter issues as they entered the country of his birth off a flight from Amsterdam.
Ahead of the Lowes’ return to the UK this summer he has complained to the UK Border Force and Manchester Airport about the three-and-a-half-hour queue, which happened last July.
The airport said delays at passport control were the responsibility of the UK Border Force.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We received a complaint from Mr Lowe on March 7 2016 regarding his wife’s arrival at Manchester Airport on July 4 2015. Border Force is considering his complaint and will respond to Mr Lowe in due course.”