vinniewinnie
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Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:44 pm

Following the thread "Why No United States-Mexico Pre-clearance?" Why No United States-Mexico Pre-clearance? (by aviacsa55 Jul 19 2012 in Civil Aviation)

I was wondering why there wasn't any at LHR. VV701 below said there used to pre-clearance at LGW. Now given that Shannon has pre-clearance, why can't have Heathrow have its own pre-clearance facility?

Here is my train of thoughts:

Given the amount of flights to/from London to the US, I'm sure that some pre-clearance booths could be installed at Heathrow. Given the amount of flights BA operates, one could imagine having those at T5 only.

BA roughly operates 37 flights a day to the US. that is around 2.7 million people a year (based on an average of 200 pax per passenger). Imagine 20 TSA agent at total cost of $90k each (Cost includes compensation package), that is only $0.60 per passenger! Peanuts really! Even a 100 TSA employees would only cost $3.3 per pax!

Correct me if I'm wrong...

Quoting VV701:

Back in the early 1990s there was a short period when there was pre-clearence in LON. I certainly remember one BA LHR-JFK flight where I pre-cleared at LHR T4 in a facility set up to the left side of and immediately after the security check. I think a similar facility was also set up at LGW.

None of this lasted long. My recollection is that it was terminated because of the high cost living / accommodation for the pre-clearence staff in the Heathrow area. But if this is correct why was LGW pre-clearence closed? Perhaps it was regarded as anti-competitive to give pre-clearence to passengers travelling from LGW but not those travelling from LHR.


[Edited 2012-07-20 12:45:19]
 
catiii
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:55 pm

Sounds like you answered your own question: there's a high cost of living in London, thusly the US government doesn't want to pay for it.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:07 pm

This has been asked many times before. There are lots of reasons for not having pre-clearance. Money is a major one. Does the UK government wan't US employees working in UK airports? What about all the transfer passengers (of which there are many) that will need to reclaim their bags in LHR to carry them through US customs? It makes their journey a lot more of a hasle. Plus it will take up a lot of space inside the terminal that the airport doesn't have
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-OPO-LGW,LHR-FCO-CTA-LIN-LCY,LHR-AMS-GRQ-SEN,LTN-CPH-LHR-ORD
 
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AmricanShamrok
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:13 pm

Quoting vinniewinnie (Thread starter):
Imagine 20 TSA agent at total cost of $90k each (Cost includes compensation package), that is only $0.60 per passenger! Peanuts really! Even a 100 TSA employees would only cost $3.3 per pax!

Preclearance is operated by US Customs and Border Protection under the Dept. of Homeland Security, not the TSA. While the airport operator would have to pay to build/install the preclearance facility, the DHS pays the agents' salaries (and possibly other living expenses) at the end of the day.
 
vinniewinnie
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:44 pm

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 3):
Preclearance is operated by US Customs and Border Protection under the Dept. of Homeland Security, not the TSA. While the airport operator would have to pay to build/install the preclearance facility, the DHS pays the agents' salaries (and possibly other living expenses) at the end of the day.

My bad it's indeed US customes and Border Protection

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
Money is a major one

Shouldnt be unless my calculations are wrong!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
about all the transfer passengers (of which there are many) that will need to reclaim their bags in LHR to carry them through US customs

It's a pain i've done it several times in Toronto but such a better experience though.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
Plus it will take up a lot of space inside the terminal that the airport doesn't have

I don't know T5 well enough to judge although I could well imagine T5C say being reserved for american flights!
 
Malayil
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:42 pm

I think the British population would not approve of US Border agents in the UK. Sovereignty and all that.
 
ghYHZ
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:09 pm

Quoting Malayil (Reply 5):
I think the British population would not approve of US Border agents in the UK. Sovereignty and all that.

Canada places tight controls on what a US CBP Officer is permitted to do on Canadian soil while performing duties under the Pre-Clearance Act........and read the last paragraph of the preamble......it’s enacted in the name of Her Majesty.

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/P-19.3/FullText.html
 
LJ
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:56 am

Quoting vinniewinnie (Reply 4):
I don't know T5 well enough to judge although I could well imagine T5C say being reserved for american flights!

T5 is BA/Oneworld exclusively. I doubt that BA would allow VS, UA and DL use "their" terminal.
 
BA84
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:11 am

Can you imagine British or Canadian pre-clearance at US airports?
Foreign officers on US soil would not be tolerated.
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.
 
Leezyjet
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:21 am

When pier 7 was built in T3, the idea was that there would be US pre-clearance in that part of the terminal as that was where TWA and Pan-Am operated from and it was simple to have in place as that part was separated from the rest of the terminal.

BA objected to them having pre-clearance as it gave the 2 US carriers an unfair advantage in BA's backyard, so it never happened.

Now with several airlines flying to the US from several different terminals, it would be too costly and complicated to manage in a place like LHR.

 
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ChinaClipper40
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:42 am

I'm not really sure that Canadian or British pre-clearance at major U.S. airports would be such a big deal. After all, U.S. preclearance officers in Canada, Ireland, and the Caribbean are simply immigration/customs officers. They have no police authority. The most that they can do is prevent a passenger from boarding. Or, in the case of an obvious crime, call the local police authorities. And "foreign officers" are most certainly tolerated on U.S. soil. Ever heard of NORAD (North American Airospace Defence Command)? The Deputy Commander at NORAD Headquarters in Colorado Springs is always a senior Canadian military officer who emphatically HAS legal command authority over U.S. military units. The current NORAD Deputy Commander is Lieutenant-General Thomas J. Lawson, Royal Canadian Air Force. Prior to being appointed Deputy Commander of NORAD, General Lawson was Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada and subsequently Assistant Chief of the Air Staff of the Canadian Forces. And NORAD's headquarters staff is filled with Canadian officers who have command authority over U.S. Air Force personnel and units. It all depends upon who's on duty at any particular time.

ChinaClipper40
 
theginge
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:55 am

Quoting vinniewinnie (Reply 4):
I don't know T5 well enough to judge although I could well imagine T5C say being reserved for american flights!

There are probably not enough stands at certain times of day for all the Americas flights to be in T5C if you include the fact that the aircraft will be on stand for at least 2-3 hours from arriving in to LHR.

Quoting LJ (Reply 7):
T5 is BA/Oneworld exclusively. I doubt that BA would allow VS, UA and DL use "their" terminal.

The Terminal is owned by the BAA so they could if they wanted to put anyone else in there, although with BA using it there wouldn't be space anyway.
 
jfk777
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:40 am

The reasons for Canadian pre-clearance and LHR pre-clearance would be for two different types of flights. Many smaller US cities need a flight to Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal which can be flown by a regional jet. Any flight to LHR would need at least a 757 from the east coast and a 767 from the rest of the USA, those airports have FIS capabilities already. Very flew US cities which could have a flight to LHR don't, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Portland Oregon.
 
airbazar
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:42 pm

Quoting BA84 (Reply 8):
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.

It's not a right, it's a mutually agreed arrangement. US officers have no legal jurisdiction over the passenger on foreign soil and they in no way replace the foreign country's officials or laws. I'm sure Canada has as much to gain from it as the US does from this arrangement, and so do the other countries where pre-clearance exists. It stimulates travel and tourism by reducing costs and streamlining customs and immigration procedures. There wouldn't be nearly as many flights between the US and Canada if it wasn't for pre-clearance. But that's not to say that it's the right thing for every market. I personally don't think that pre-clearance at LHR is a good idea.
 
skipness1E
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:39 pm

Quoting catiii (Reply 1):
thusly

  Ouch

So aside from Ireland, Canada and Mexico and neighbouring states, is that the limit of their foreign proesence?
 
rwy04lga
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:25 pm

Quoting BA84 (Reply 8):
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.

OK, fellow Canadian, where does the US claim to have that 'right'? 70 years ago there was no problem. Oh that's right, it was OK as long as they were willing to fight and die on that 'foreign soil'.
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
rfields5421
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:41 pm

Quoting vinniewinnie (Reply 4):
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):Money is a major one
Shouldnt be unless my calculations are wrong!

The operational costs would be much higher for US govt employee with all salary, benefits and overseas allowances. Currently a E-5 (over 6) would receive $1916.79 for OHA Rental Allowance and $736.86 Utility Allowance monthly - $31,843.80 yearly and $11,279.04 yearly Overseas COLA - above their base salary of $31,946.40 - that's $75,069.24 before you figure in any costs for the employer share of social security, retirement, medical insurance/ care, etc. Using a standard figure of 150% of employee salary and payments - that puts the cost at $112K+ per year for the lower level employees - so figure the costs at $130K average.

20 people would barely be enough to man a 24 hour checkpoint with 4 people on duty at all times. Can an average of 4 people clear an average of 7,400 people per day - 308 per hour - 77 people per hour per agent.

That is less than one minute per passenger + all crew members - all day every day all year. Your 100 person detachment is closer to what is needed.

But - the biggest cost would be to build a new terminal, or rebuild a current terminal dedicated solely for US bound flights. Unless some airlines would agree to a significant disadvantage on US bound flights. Frankly, I could see the legal battle over which airlines can be pre-cleared and which cannot to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Quoting BA84 (Reply 8):
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.

No. The US feels no such right.

The US, like every other nation, feel they have the right to control Customs and Immigration for people entering the country. Nations who want pre-clearance ASK the US to voluntarily move a vital US government function to their territory to aid their citizens travel.

Especially with Canada, this allows Canadian citizens to travel much easier to many smaller US cities without having to make long expensive multi-leg flight to clear US CBP at a major airport.
 
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shamrock604
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:18 pm

Quoting vinniewinnie (Thread starter):
I was wondering why there wasn't any at LHR. VV701 below said there used to pre-clearance at LGW. Now given that Shannon has pre-clearance, why can't have Heathrow have its own pre-clearance facility?

I'm a little confused here. Shannon and Heathrow are after all in two different countries.

Quoting catiii (Reply 1):
Sounds like you answered your own question: there's a high cost of living in London, thusly the US government doesn't want to pay for it.

There's a high cost of living in Dublin too (though thankfully declining again relative to other cities - yet during the boom time here, it was every bit as pricey as London), so I dont think this is the only explanation.

Quoting Malayil (Reply 5):
I think the British population would not approve of US Border agents in the UK. Sovereignty and all that.

I somehow doubt that. Ireland is not long independent in the big scheme of things and we still have "issues" asserting our independence sometimes.   We have had no issue with this "imposition" on our soil. The agents work just before the boarding gates, so its not like they are policing us within our borders. The biggest issue we have is with their rudeness sometimes, but that's just immigration staff for you!  

I personally could not care less because they obviously only have anything to do with me if I am Travelling to the U.S and even then just before boarding, and it makes my arrival experience far more pleasant, so it's a win win situation. It would be somewhat different if they interacted with me on arrival into Ireland - then, I would have a real, and very justified, problem.
 
LAXintl
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:54 pm

There was briefly preclearance at Heathrow.
It ended in the early 1980s. It was available in a single terminal, and during the morning/noon hours. The program was withdrawn when funding was cut by the UK government.
There was also to be trial at Amsterdam, which never quite got off the ground.


Also what might be well known, outside of pre-clearnace, the US ICE/CBP bases full time officers to 10 foreign airports in eight countries and there are negotiations with foreign governments to deploy to additional locations.
These officers work with to identify potential high-risk passengers, assist airlines and local partners to review travel documents and conduct interviews for U.S.­bound travelers. They observe the airport environment to gather information, and exchange intelligence with local officials. Additionally CBP has international liaison group based out of NY, Miami and Honolulu that maintain close ties airlines and overseas agencies and can deploy staffing to foreign ports as needed as well.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
sabenapilot
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:12 pm

Pre-clearance isn't very efficient for the simple reason it still needs the presence of US immigration/customs officers, which makes it prohibitatively expensive to run at smaller airports, while the required size of the force makes it operationally impossible at the greater hubs.

What would be a much more efficient approach would be to let foreign officers act on behalf of the US DoHS at the airport of departure, thus eliminating the need to relocate any US officers to for instance LHR or FRA.

The system could be limited to allowing foreign officers clearing people from visa waiver countries only: that woulnd't be too difficult to achieve and already make life much easier for all those eligable, while it would also shorten the lines in the US for those who aren't. A win-win.

I know it may sound controversial to many Americans to have a foreigner decide on the right of entry to their country, but mind you it shouldn't be such a big deal really. The US can still freely select which countries it sees fit to sign such an agreement with and can obvioulsy have a say in the selection and training of any officers, just as it has in selecting and training theirs. It's just a matter of creating the right legal environment really.

Foreign officers clearing you into a country which isn't theirs isn't so revolutionary at all, BTW: it happens every day in Europe:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:24 pm

Quoting BA84 (Reply 8):
Can you imagine British or Canadian pre-clearance at US airports?
Foreign officers on US soil would not be tolerated.
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.

Check the facts and the link to the act posted above.
Canada has the right, right now, to post agents in the US and set up pre-clearance here.
It is a reciprical bilateral agreement.
So far, I'll presume due to cost and logistics, Canada has choosen not too.
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babybus
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:45 pm

Not being funny but why do we need it?

We can stand in the queue at the American airport if we are going there.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:45 pm

Question; are there any published figures for the number of UK departing passengers that are rejected on arrival in the USA
and the passport nationality?
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pnwtraveler
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:55 pm

Not Pre-Clearance for departures but it seems arrivals might be smoothed out at LHR since non-risk countries will get fast track arrivals. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and the US will in theory get easier arrivals.

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/10...throw-fast-track-passport-heathrow
 
iRISH251
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:25 pm

Quoting babybus (Reply 21):
Not being funny but why do we need it?

We can stand in the queue at the American airport if we are going there.

The advantage is that on arrival in the US you are treated as a domestic arrival, so you can usually be on your way very quickly after landing. OTOH you must allow time at the departure airport to complete the necessary formalities before departure.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:54 pm

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 15):
OK, fellow Canadian, where does the US claim to have that 'right'? 70 years ago there was no problem. Oh that's right, it was OK as long as they were willing to fight and die on that 'foreign soil'.

As you said, it was a long time ago. Time to let that argument go, maybe ?

But I agree, the US doesn't claim that right. In fact, decades ago when President Charles de Gaulle decided he no longer wanted to have US military bases in France, the US military did clear the country in short order. The argument was used then, too, when Dean Rusk asked de Gaulle if the cemeteries containing the 50,000 American war dead from the two world wars were also to be removed.
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talktocharlie
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:18 pm

London Heathrow Airport is just too busy, the queues will be out the door and you would be waiting for hours just to get pre-cleared.
The sky's the limit!
 
trident3
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:18 pm

Quoting Malayil (Reply 5):

I think the British population would not approve of US Border agents in the UK. Sovereignty and all that.

I don't think it would be a problem, if you take you car across the channel by ferry or through the tunnel you pre-clear French imigration before boarding at Dover or Folkestone, on return you clear UK imigration in Calais.
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STT757
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:26 pm

Quoting vinniewinnie (Reply 4):
Shouldnt be unless my calculations are wrong!
Quoting vinniewinnie (Thread starter):
20 TSA agent at total cost of $90k each

For a station as large as LHR you would probably need around 120 - 200 staff:

100 agents would be needed to cover morning, evening and day watch posts on an eight hour rotation during a five day work week. Plus sick and annual. If they have compressed schedules then you need even more staff as they will have more days off. Plus sick and annual coverage.

Then you need about 20 supervisors and an additional 10-20 administrative support staff.

Being that far from home they also need facilities where they can conduct their firearms, CPR, Safety certifications. Depending on their policies they might have to re certify every 3 months. I imagine it's much easier for agents assigned to posts in Canada and the Caribbean as they just hop back for training.

[Edited 2012-07-21 12:29:23]
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Indio66
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:31 pm

Quoting Malayil (Reply 5):
I think the British population would not approve of US Border agents in the UK. Sovereignty and all that.

Yet the British have their agents in Paris for Eurostar . . .



Indio
 
ZaphodB
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:48 pm

Quoting vinniewinnie (Thread starter):
None of this lasted long. My recollection is that it was terminated because of the high cost living / accommodation for the pre-clearence staff in the Heathrow area. But if this is correct why was LGW pre-clearence closed? Perhaps it was regarded as anti-competitive to give pre-clearence to passengers travelling from LGW but not those travelling from LHR.

a couple of reactions to that:
1. I used to fly transatlantic from LGW regularly throughout the 90s and never once pre-cleared. If it ever existed there it must have been very short lived or perhaps it did not apply to the airlines I used to fly on (DL, AA, US).
2. The cost of living in West Sussex may be lower than SW1, SW3, NW8 or Hampstead but is not lower than Greater London in general, in fact on average it looks and feels much more affluent. At both airports the towns immediately adjacent are dung holes but you don't have to get very far from Crawley to find very nice and very expensive areas. West Chiltington (very close to my old 'hood) had a reputation for being full of BA 747 drivers back in the day. It wasn't cheap then and it isn't cheap now.
 
AussieItaliano
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:49 pm

I don't think that the UK or the US would have any objections to this as a matter of principle. But remember that LHR is very overcrowded and spread out in terms of terminal operations. It would be too difficult to have US CBP officers stationed in terminals 1, 3, 4, & 5 given the lack of space that already exists at LHR.

Now, if the EU were ever to consolidate all border agencies into one for the entire EU (which would of course require the UK to join Schengen, which we've said we won't do) then I could see an arrangement by which EU bound passengers would be precleared by EU customs at major airports like JFK, LAX and ORD, while US bound passengers would be precleared at major airports like LHR, CDG and FRA. Preclearance is, after all, a good counter-terrorism measure. You can prevent the entry of unwanted individuals before they have set foot on your soil.
Third Runway - LHR, Second Runway - LGW, Build Them Both!!!
 
Eljonno
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:47 pm

Quoting ZaphodB (Reply 30):
2. The cost of living in West Sussex may be lower than SW1, SW3, NW8 or Hampstead but is not lower than Greater London in general, in fact on average it looks and feels much more affluent. At both airports the towns immediately adjacent are dung holes but you don't have to get very far from Crawley to find very nice and very expensive areas

Hey!! There are some very nice parts of Crawley, I'll have you know!!!  Wow! (I went to school there...)

Personally I'm not bothered about pre clearance at LGW or LHR. I like to get to the airport as late as possible when I fly, so prefer to deal with queuing in order to speak to surly, unfriendly border officials when I know that it's not going to cause me to miss my flight.

[Edited 2012-07-21 15:48:09]
 
Viscount724
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RE: Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?

Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:52 pm

Quoting vinniewinnie (Reply 4):
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
about all the transfer passengers (of which there are many) that will need to reclaim their bags in LHR to carry them through US customs

It's a pain i've done it several times in Toronto but such a better experience though.

At a few Canadian airports (YUL and YVR at least) it's no longer necessary to claim your baggage when connecting from a domestic Canadian flight to a U.S. flight. You can go directly to U.S. pre-clearance without your bags. I'm not sure if that system also applies for passengers connecting to the U.S. at those airports from international flights.

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 14):
So aside from Ireland, Canada and Mexico and neighbouring states, is that the limit of their foreign presence?

There is no pre-clearance in Mexico -- only Canada, Ireland, Bermuda, Bahamas and Aruba. And in Canada only the 8 largest airports have pre-clearance. Another dozen or so smaller airports with transborder service lack pre-clearance, although some have a significant number of flights. For example Porter Airlines currently has about 30 daily Q400s from from Toronto City Airport (YTZ) to EWR, BOS, IAD, MDW.

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