FAMILIES are facing paying NINE TIMES more for a Europe getaway this half-term – with experts warning it could be the most expensive in years.

It comes as airports up and down the country have been experiencing chaos due to hiring backlogs, new passport rules and the high demand for trips abroad.

The havoc has caused prices to soar – especially when kids are off school.

One Ryanair flight to Nice climbed to a whopping £125.99 the week of half-term break – compared to just £12.99 the week before, reports The Daily Mail.

And while a BA flight from London to Barcelona on May 23 would set back holidaymakers back just £65 – a week later it rings in six times more expensive at £125.99.

Meanwhile, EasyJet is charging £48.99 to jet off to Rome on May 23 – and a week later is pocketing £118.99 per passenger.

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Which? travel editor Rory Boland said: “It is depressing to see high half-term flight prices back, as this puts holidays out of reach for families whose budgets are already stretched due to the rising cost of living.

“If you're flexible about your destination, families may be able to beat the hikes by waiting until the last minute to book.”

It comes as Brits once again faced huge queues at airports across the UK this week with fuming travellers being stuck in long lines as early as 4am.

Long waits were spotted at Birmingham Airport, as well as at Manchester and Bristol on Tuesday.

One traveller going through Bristol wrote on Twitter: "Massive queues at check in/bag drop, staff running around like headless chickens, passengers stressing, security queues out of the security area, down the stairs and into departures.

"Will be doing everything possible to avoid this airport going forwards.

Birmingham Airport even advised some passengers to drop off their bags the night before.

They said on Twitter: "You can check in your luggage between 3-8 pm the evening before your morning flight."

There are now fears the travel mayhem could continue for the next year.

Kully Sandhu, managing director of the Aviation Recruitment Network, warned it could take "at least the next 12 months for the industry, vacancy wise, to settle down".

He said it wasn't just Covid causing problems in hiring new staff, of which he said there were more than 300 vacancies across UK airports, but also Brexit.

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EasyJet is set to remove a number of seats on its flights so that the airline can fly with less crew onboard in the next few months.

And British Airways is to axe 16,000 flights with 10 per cent of flights affected between March and Autumn.

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