A photo of mountains of baggage in London's Heathrow airport, one of the world's busiest terminals, has gone viral on social media and captured the epic scale of the problem.
In mainland Europe, people flying out of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam have faced hours-long waits to check-in.
READ MORE: Airport chaos forecast for school holidays
People posting to social media have complained of missing flights despite turning up many hours ahead of scheduled take-off times.
Much like horror scenes which emerged in Melbourne and Sydney airports earlier this year, key airports in European cities have been hit by staff shortages and complicated security clearance processes.
The chief executive of Heathrow Airport has previously warned it could be 18 months before it can properly cope with peak travel periods again.
Margy Osmand, boss of Australia's Tourism and Transport Forum, did not think the chaotic scenes would dissuade people from travelling.
"People need to be prepared for the queues," she told Today.
Pictures of "baggage mountains at Heathrow" showed things could be much worse in Australia, she said.
Sydney Airport issued a warning this week that people flying during the school holidays, which begin this week, should expect big delays.