AT
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:13 pm

Quoting nasula (Reply 49):

One way to release some workforce at LHR would be to stop checking transit passengers that are already airside. I have very little understanding to why on earth you have to be immigration checked AND security checked when moving from say T3 to a connecting flight at T5. It's just silly and a waste of time and workforce.

The point is, you're already airside so where is the security risk so that you have to be checked with scanners AGAIN?

Yes I agree. A colossal amount of time and effort is wasted on that. I once missed a connecting flight was flying (LIS-LHR-JFK) as a result.

I think the issues discussed above are all valid, but those address long-term solutions. But the more immediate question is should there be some temporary short-term measure for the summer while the Olympics are on to prevent LHR from becoming a zoo?
 
RussianJet
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:24 pm

Quoting lhrnue (Reply 48):
I agree with comments made above, that being in Schengen would allow to free up UKBA staff required to focus on the real task, which is to find and remove overstayers or better control the ports ... not only in UK.

If the dividend in terms of intercepting numerous forgeries, apprehending criminals, and the disruption of all types of trafficking and criminal activity between Schengen and the UK was negligible, I have little doubt that we would have been in Schengen long ago. Please think beyond the queues a bit and realise that, were the UK to do as you advise, the work that you suggest should be better targeted would skyrocket. There is clearly a huge problem with illegal immigration to the UK, but why on earth suggest making it far worse and concentrate diminishing resources on mopping up? That is a battle that simply could not be won. Surely both avenues are worth prioritising. Prevention and cure. And please, don't just think illegal immigrant and illegal worker, think about paedophiles, think drugs, think sex trafficking, think organised crime....There is enough of that about without advocating the denuding of the controls that already exist. Main problem is that the vast majority of such awfulness that is intercepted is rarely reported in the mass media, but that really doesn't mean it doesn't go on and on day in, day out. Paranoia? One could argue so, until you come face to face with the end result. Also, one small point of order - folks at the front end in ports are now Border Force, not UKBA.

Quoting Glom (Reply 35):
I agree we should join Schengen (and also adopt the metric system). The Schengen area is not a strictly EU thing since there are several non EU countries in it (just like the metric system, which is more of a world except USA and UK thing). We have a common travel area with Ireland. We should both hold hands and dive in.

At what price? Nobody likes queueing. I hate it, but accept it, because I know that there is a trade-off.

Just a thought.....
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
 
Viscount724
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:28 pm

Quoting timpdx (Reply 2):
Worst experiences I have ever has, bar none, have been at LHR. Over 40 countries now, UK is the worst even beating out the Stans and Russia for long waits and poor attitude by officials. I never, ever book Europe through London because of this.

What are you referring to? If you are connecting in the UK to/from other points in Europe you don't have to clear UK immigration/customs. There's only a security check but no other formalities when you're connecting.

That's actually one benefit of the UK not being part of the Schengen area. If it was in Schengen you would have to clear passport control at LHR if you were connecting there between the U.S. and any other Schengen countries, since it would then become your first point of arrival/departure in the Schengen area. Since it's not part of Schengen, you avoid those checks now.
 
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litz
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:23 pm

Quoting PITingres (Reply 47):
Because ATL, like many other US airports designed pre-9/11 security, has *no* direct connection from customs to the outside world. You have to go back through the terminal area, which means you have to re-enter the "sterile" area (customs is by TSA definition non-sterile because you have access to your checked luggage).

It's a massive, massive pain in the ass.

It's - thankfully - a PITA that will go away when the new International terminal @ Hartsfield opens next month.

No more re-checking bags, or re-entering the secure areas!
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:41 pm

Quoting litz (Reply 53):
It's - thankfully - a PITA that will go away when the new International terminal @ Hartsfield opens next month. No more re-checking bags, or re-entering the secure areas!

Except that you are trading one set of problems for another set. My understanding is that connecting passengers will get dumped out on the curb of the new international terminal and have to take a bus around to the other side of the airport to re-enter for the connection.
 
ElPistolero
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:04 pm

The US isn't necessarily getting better. IAH is a gong show for immigration.

My immigration time at LHR for approximately the same peak dates every year has increased from around 20 min to 45 min for non Fast Track. For fast track, it averages a healthier 10-15, unless you have the misfortune of arriving just after the ME/South Asia carriers. Then even fast track is 1hr, give or take.On the other hand, if you're coming in on a European flight at an odd hour, immigration is a breeze.

On the bright side, at least the British have gotten rid of some of their more draconian immigration measures. It could have been worse is all I m saying.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...o-virginity-tests-at-Heathrow.html

Personally, I don't understand the antipathy towards immigration (good Canadian that I am). Can anyone imagine a Premier League with only English players. I shudder at the thought.  

[Edited 2012-04-23 15:08:28]
 
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garpd
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:39 pm

Quoting DAL763ER (Reply 39):
Are you sure you didn't have a connecting flight from ATL? Why would there be a security check after landing and getting off the aircraft otherwise?

Nope, ATL was the destination. It struck me as strange, but I was told, that's how it is! The security at LHR to get ON the plane was less strict.
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heathrow
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:47 am

I remember T4 being horrendous and waiting 3 hours + back in the BA day, but I've had nothing but pleasant experiences through T5. I passed Through Mar 31 on the way in, and I had no queue (impressive off a packed jumbo). I have yet to see that hall anything close to packed.
 
ElPistolero
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:55 pm

Still a royal mess. Nothing has improved, but the Minister of Immigration has been summoned. Maybe some improvement?

Don't know what the point of chastising him is - these personnel cuts were approved by the entire executive, not one minsiter. Might be better to haul out the entire cabinet and demand an explanation.

"The chairman of the home affairs select committee, Keith Vaz, has asked Immigration Minister Damian Green to appear before the committee to explain the situation.

Mr Vaz said the issue was of "great concern", the paper reported.

"Huge damage is done to our country's reputation," he said.

"The government has a choice either to increase the number of staff at the airports or to restart the suspension of the checks.

"This needs to be done irrespective of the Olympics. This is not an Olympics issue. It is about ensuring that Heathrow is a world-class airport every day of the year."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17876496
 
ThomasCook
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:15 pm

Hi,

I landed into T1 on Wednesday night from RAK connecting to MAN. Our flight was late in so we had to run all the way to Flight Connections. At Immigration, the Flight Connections desk had shut shop for the night despite a number of us trying to get through. After seeking some assistance from Security, 20 minutes later a member of staff turned up. Needless to say, we missed a connection we would have otherwise made. Pathetic.

ThomasCook
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:23 am

Look at the length of that line in the video clip. WOW !
And the guy says that they had put EU and non EU all together.
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
Summa767
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:18 am

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 27):
Only if you're from a country that has no ethnic, cultural or linguistic ties with the UK. Having no skills helps too.Caucasian, english speaking and born in a first world country you have to jump through a million hoops to live in the UK. I've made inquiries about it before. And I'm from a bloody commonwealth country!

So is it being part of the commonwealth, or of Caucasian ethinicity that should be more important according to you?

I find it unbelievable that ethnicity should be a factor at all. Indeed it is not in the UK. EU citizens -regardless of their ethnicity- have the right to work and live in the UK. For other nationalities there are other criteria -none of which is ethnicity. As for skills, you will find that there is a points system: The more qualified, the easier it is to get a work permit.
 
IndianicWorld
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:26 am

It seems a far too common effect of cost cutting.

Australia also loves to understaff its airports to reduce costs, which does nothing for the arrival experience.

Mind you, my worst ever wait was at DXB back in around '06 where we waited 1.5 hours just to clear passport control, with people cutting into lines in a terminal that seemed to have turned off the air con. It was extremely stuffy, and not a pleasant experience. The staff at the desks were talking away, taking their time, even though most of the lines were open and all lines full. A consequence of the hub banking structure, at the peak of Dubai's powers, prior to the economic issues only a couple of years later, but mainly the inefficient work ethic of the staff. Not fun.
 
CaptainKramer
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:38 am

Hi at,

I have seen BBC news stories stating that seperate tented areas will be set up to process all the Olympic sporting competitors from around the globe with regards to customs and immigration, especially considering alot of them will be carrying special equipment that they will need in order to compete, rifles and pistols for shooting disciplines being one example.

I don't think the number of border staff or lack there of is the real issue regarding the time spent in immigration. I spent 2 hours queing in Orlando Florida, all the booths were occupied by border staff, grant you alot of flights had arrived at the same time, but the real issue is how much time is spent questioning each person when they get to the immigration officer. After arriving at the front of the que, I was, as a tourist wanting to watch a shuttle launch, (it got scrubbed, so I was back a few months later for a night launch - most spectacular thing I have seen, period!) was subject to something not dissimilar to a mild interogation which took a good 5 minutes or so. Multiply that by several hundred passengers and it all adds up.

The UKBA have come under alot of criticism lately for lapses in immigration security over the summer in 2011 IIRC where the level of screening was much lower than it should have been. Now it's back to where it should be, but this creates long que's as a result of the thorough screening process and has been mentioned earlier, money is too tight to mention - cutback.

First impressions are everything, unfortunately UKBA will be for better or worse the first impression alot of the worlds tourists and Olympic Competitiors will get of England in 2012.

It's a balancing act that has compromise written all over it, no matter which way you look at it.

(Edit) Also I want to add that no matter how thorough the UKBA is, MI5 is going to have there hands full with the home grown terrorists this summer.

[Edited 2012-04-28 04:55:10]
 
ElPistolero
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:55 am

Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 63):
After arriving at the front of the que, I was, as a tourist wanting to watch a shuttle launch, (it got scrubbed, so I was back a few months later for a night launch - most spectacular thing I have seen, period!) was subject to something not dissimilar to a mild interogation which took a good 5 minutes or so. Multiply that by several hundred passengers and it all adds up.

Its really no different to what a North American such as myself goes through when I enter the UK. I once lost the hard copy of my ticket (probably left it on the seat) and was subjected to 10 minutes of questioning before the immigration officer waived me through noting that I entered (and left) the country the 3-4 times a year. UK immigration is by no means the worst - they're usually alright to deal with, but the lines are becoming an issue, especially for us North Americans, who keep getting lumped in the same line with people the UK apparently fears (and questions relentlessly). I won't comment on the aspirations of people from other countries, but I really doubt North Americans would be desperate to move to England in the current economic environment.

Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 63):

The UKBA have come under alot of criticism lately for lapses in immigration security over the summer in 2011 IIRC where the level of screening was much lower than it should have been. Now it's back to where it should be, but this creates long que's as a result of the thorough screening process and has been mentioned earlier, money is too tight to mention - cutback.

Keith Vaz, one of your senior poltiicians, noted in an interview that UKBA have passenger information before the flights arrive. What, then, is the need to scrutinize passegners when they arrive? More specifically, have the lower levels of screening actually had a tangible effect on illegal immigration ( has it increased?) or is it a case of throwing the book at anything that moves, and hitting the target but missing the point?
 
CaptainKramer
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:22 pm

Hi ElPistolero,

As with all Government Departments it's more about hitting targets. The que's are too short. Why? Government has relaxed screening rules, result: que's shorten. Some people think, it's not about time, it's about thoroughness, an extra net to catch someone that may have slipped through the background checks done through passenger lists (Yemen terrorist who flew via Amsterdam). Government tightens screening rules, que's grow longer again, QED people are being screened thoroughly. No system is perfect, if you want perfection, remove humans from the equation.

Is it having the desired effect of lowering illegal immigration, where there is a will there is a way, e.g. enter on a tourist visa, arrange a bogus marriage, job done, or enter on a student visa, enter country, dissapear, job done.

Politics, much of which we don't hear about, regardless how good the press are, always plays a factor.

[Edited 2012-04-28 05:25:06]

[Edited 2012-04-28 05:29:08]
 
ncelhr
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:25 pm

The issue is peak times.
I am a Euro citizen and fly in and out of LHR regularly and whilst there have been times I have gone through T5 immigration in less than 5 minutes, last night (at 10:30pm) was the longest queue I have ever seen at T5. You got out of your aircraft airbridge and the queue was there. I estimated it to be at least 3-400 metres and then you had to snake around.
The e-gates were no better. I finally took around 30 minutes to cross immigration. But non EU passport holders probably had a wait of more than 2 hours, judging from the length of their queue. And yet, not all immigration desks were open.
An upset crowd indeed with apologies and appeals on the loudspeaker for the crowd to keep calm.
Past immigration, the luggage hall was nearly deserted, with thousands of luggage going round and round on the carousels.
Heaven knows what's going to happen for the Olympics if they don't fix this.
 
tonystan
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:29 pm

Iv only experienced this at T5 and I fly in from the ROI in T1 so dont go through Border Control.....whats it like at the other terminals?
My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.
 
brilondon
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:55 pm

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 1):

One very, very, easy way to lessen the burden on immigration would be for the UK to join Schengen. But the institutional paranoia of UK civil service and, to some degree, its population will ensure this doesn't happen.

Travelling to the U.K. several times a year, I have observed the paranoia amongst my friends and especially their parents over having too open borders and being afraid of the hoards coming from the continent. I find the average person in Britain does not really care about this and that they just put up with the lengthy lines they expect to find all over the world. I would suggest they join the rest of Europe in opening up the immigration policy for visitors to the U.K. and possibly exploit the tourist market in Britain. In the U.S. it is just as painful. Although, I see the paranoia all the time in the TSA and it's minions and the Brits still have a quicker system.
Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
 
CaptainKramer
Posts: 281
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:31 pm

I was watching an interview with a UKBA Officer on Sky News, he was answering questions about this weeks 3 hour delays at certain UK airports. The news presenter asked if que's are this long now, how could they cope in the summer, especially with the Olympics. He answered that the normal response, during an Olympics or otherwise, was to put on extra staff, which included redistributing staff to deal with demand where needed.

Obviously this plan didn't work this week. Fingers crossed then.
 
na
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:36 pm

I went through LHR immigrations yesterday and it was ok. It wasnt much slower than at FRA. I hate T1 though, its so anti-design, ugly and unlogical, you think you are somewhere in a neglected province towN.
 
ElPistolero
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:39 pm

Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 65):
Some people think, it's not about time, it's about thoroughness, an extra net to catch someone that may have slipped through the background checks done through passenger lists (Yemen terrorist who flew via Amsterdam).

Not to nitpick, but the Yemen bomber would not have gone through border controls at AMS. He would have, in Nigeria, but over there he would have been run of the mill. UKBA undoubtedly need to scrutinize a certain profile, (risk based approach), but scrutinizing obvious non-threats like the elderly....makes no sense.

Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 65):
Is it having the desired effect of lowering illegal immigration

This, in my opinion, is the key metric. If its working, hire more people and do the same thing. If its not, then go back to the risk-based approach.

Quoting tonystan (Reply 67):
Iv only experienced this at T5 and I fly in from the ROI in T1 so dont go through Border Control.....whats it like at the other terminals?

T1 doesn't have too many intercontinental flights, so I m not surprised. The problems used to be mainly in T4 following the rejig of airlines. Whichever terminals get the most intercontinental flights get hurt the most. I remember waiting 1hr 40 in T4 after a 9W flight and then, two days later, waltzing straight out of T2 after an European flight. This was a while back.
 
Malayil
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:16 pm

This was completely expected. I lived in the UK for a while and during that time, the media and the people were increasingly calling for tighter immigration controls. Xenophobia was rampant. What did people expect would happen when they elected the Tories in 2010, tighter immigration controls with less money.
 
RussianJet
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:38 pm

Quoting Malayil (Reply 72):
What did people expect would happen when they elected the Tories in 2010, tighter immigration controls with less money.

Someone give this man a prize.
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
 
sankaps
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:08 pm

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 27):
Only if you're from a country that has no ethnic, cultural or linguistic ties with the UK

Actually, the non-Caucasians that you are evidently referring to have a high degree of cultural and linguistic ties with the UK, due to them coming from countries that had been British colonies for a couple of hundred years each. And they also have ethnic ties to the UK due to a large number of UK-born being of former colony origin.

Quoting Summa767 (Reply 61):
So is it being part of the commonwealth, or of Caucasian ethinicity that should be more important according to you?

Good question!  

Bottom line: This problem is not related to how long it takes to process each arrival, as it is no different from arrivals into many other countries. It is to so with how many counters are manned. And this should be fixable with competent oversight.
 
Rafabozzolla
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:24 am

Let me ask again...

I'm landing at T1 in July (2 weeks before the Olympics) mid afternoon flying JJ from Brazil with an EU passport. TAM offers "fast track" for F and J pax, what kinda wait should I expect?
 
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OA260
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:37 am

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 1):
One very, very, easy way to lessen the burden on immigration would be for the UK to join Schengen. But the institutional paranoia of UK civil service and, to some degree, its population will ensure this doesn't happen.

I for one hope they never join along with Ireland but thats another thread  

---

Certainly need to get a lid on this . I for one will avoid LHR during the Olympics and London also .
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:18 pm

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 75):
what kinda wait should I expect?

Firstly T1 is much better than T5 where most of the problems seem to have been.
Mid afternoon is also a good time to arrive, just before the evening peak.
EU passport should speed it up.
It depends if they have the staff to man the Fast track line.
You should be clear in well under 1hr. Best of luck.  
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
DAL763ER
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:01 pm

Quoting na (Reply 70):
I went through LHR immigrations yesterday and it was ok. It wasnt much slower than at FRA. I hate T1 though, its so anti-design, ugly and unlogical, you think you are somewhere in a neglected province towN.

I landed from FRA a couple of weeks ago and it took me no more than 5 minutes to get through passport control in T1.

In November I flew into T5 from Paris a couple of times and I waited 30-40 minutes to get through passport control, which was quite disappointing.
 
Rafabozzolla
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:17 pm

Quoting readytotaxi (Reply 77):
Best of luck.  

Thanks for the info and the wishes!
 
ltbewr
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:03 pm

To become part of the Schengen treaty countries, would mean all UK Citizens would have to have a national ID card and I suspect that many would object for civil rights, privacy and related reasons. Then you would have the bureaucratic and costs to taxpayers or individuals that would be unacceptable. I also suspect the long historic, cultural and political attitudes in the UK would further preclude it. As it is you kept your Pound and didn't want to go with the Euro as a good example (and maybe for good reason).

I wonder to if at this time staff is being told to take their 'holiday' (which here in the USA call vacation) now so everyone will be available for the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics. Maybe too with cutbacks in staffing, probably no pay raises (and probably net cuts in pay with real inflation included), no or limited overtime pay and increased demands to weed out more strictly or face strict discipline, there may be a rulebook slowdown, some calling in sick more often and so on in protest.
 
Mir
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:44 am

And it appears that UKBA have decided that the best course of action is: to prevent BAA from apologizing for the delays (after all, if there's no apology, then you can't really claim that something went wrong), and to prevent people from taking pictures of the queues (so that evidence of ridiculously long waits are anecdotal only).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/201...pr/30/ukba-heathrow-airport-delays

So that will be sure to fix the problems....  

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
GDB
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:40 am

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 23):
The UK Border Agency is being slashed to the bone as the coalition struggles to cut public spending, so the idea of having enough people to deal with a known passenger throughput was rare in the boom years. Not a chance today alas.

Are you suggesting to such safe pairs of hands like Teresa May, her boss Lord Snooty and 'Mr Recession Redux' Osbourne that cutting the numbers working at immigration in the Olympic year might make queues longer and de-motivate the staff?

If only you had a hugely privileged upbringing, only been a (bad) PR man outside of politics with that inevitable PPE from Oxford, you'd be able to see through such nonsense.

To paraphrase Mr Cameron, he'll do the talking, Mrs May will do the cutting and you'll all do the queuing!
 
sankaps
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:09 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 81):
And it appears that UKBA have decided that the best course of action is: to prevent BAA from apologizing for the delays (after all, if there's no apology, then you can't really claim that something went wrong), and to prevent people from taking pictures of the queues (so that evidence of ridiculously long waits are anecdotal only).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/201...pr/30/ukba-heathrow-airport-delays

So that will be sure to fix the problems....

Simply unbelievable! Another good report at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...ves-terrible-impression-of-UK.html .

Quote:

"On other occasions both the Iris recognition and new automatic passport scanning gates failed, adding to the frustration of new arrivals.

“I am unsure but I do not believe our staff are trained to use these machines,” one manager said. “If they were I could have deployed the kit much faster.”

The machinery was very slow and kept failing. Staff found it “impossible” to segregate those with visas in the crowded queueing areas.

At the time, only 11 desks of a possible 35 were being manned. The manager said this was “nowhere near enough”. Eight more officers were found, but even this was considered inadequate."

A disgrace!!!
 
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Btblue
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:48 am

Delays are not only at Heathrow.

Last Tuesday I arrived into STN from PMI. The queues went on and on. Okay, it was only a wait for approx 30 minutes or so but this was for EU passport holders... I remember a year or so back when you just stopped and they cleared you.

It's an absolute disgrace and a joke to be honest and waiting for two or more hours to clear immigration when border agency staff know who is arriving on what airline seems crazy to be honest.

I think with Heathrow and STN having these issues it has to be related to staffing and immigration (and scrutiny following the fiasco with Ms May)... Just hope they sort it out.
 
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GCT64
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:04 pm

Ministerial statement this afternoon (30 Apr) in the House of Commons:

* Blamed the weather for the immigration delays - difficult to support that excuse I think
* Said "Non-EU nationals were waiting up to 90 minutes at Heathrow's Terminal 5 on Friday night." and that this is "unnacceptable" - 90 minutes is not good, but, to be honest, it is pretty routine for it to be more than 60 minutes when I visit the US as I'm an "alien"
* Between January and March the average waiting time was six minutes for UK and EU citizens and 25 minutes for non-EU passengers - that's not too bad and a lot better than the US is normally

Anyway, he is addressing the major gripe (unattended desks) and has promised to ensure all immigration desks are fully staffed during summer peak times.

In my experience around the world (whether DFW, LAX, STN (awful on a Friday night ...arghhhh), LTN, LHR or TLV (the shortest queues in the world!)), generally there are enough desks but the queues occur when the desks are undermanned. The solution is usually readily apparent to everyone queuing - simply provide enough staff.
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RussianJet
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:13 pm

Quoting btblue (Reply 84):
when border agency staff know who is arriving on what airline seems crazy to be honest.

'Border Agency staff' as a rule have no say whatsoever in budgets and staffing levels, so what is your point there? Do you imagine that there are in fact loads of them sat idle in back rooms somewhere? Far from the case. If they are not on a desk or dealing with something essential, they are probably off duty and scheduled to attend for another shift, and you know, they occasionally have to sleep like everyone else so that is fair enough. The rest is in the hands of senior civil servants and politicians.

Edit: Oh, and I have already mentioned this once before in this thread (and look, you have me writing it now!) - it is now Border Force, not the Border Agency that you see in UK ports of entry.

[Edited 2012-04-30 10:14:51]
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sankaps
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:00 pm

Quoting GCT64 (Reply 85):
* Between January and March the average waiting time was six minutes for UK and EU citizens and 25 minutes for non-EU passengers - that's not too bad and a lot better than the US is normally

As any high school math student would point out, the average on its own means nothing. Consistency (ie low deviation from the average) is far more relevant. And that is where LHR seems to fail -- at bad times it is just terrible!
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:35 pm

Quoting GCT64 (Reply 85):
Anyway, he is addressing the major gripe (unattended desks) and has promised to ensure all immigration desks are fully staffed during summer peak times.

Just never gonna happen, more chance of Lord Lucan manning a desk.  

When was the last time ANYONE belived a ministerial promise?
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L410Turbolet
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:04 pm

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 80):
national ID

I am always surprised whenever this argument against national ID is made claiming "intrusion into one's privacy". For one, my wild guess is that vast majority of British population has passports already so what's the big deal personally I find it much more convenient to travel within EU just with a card than with a passport.
The UK is literally infested with CCTVs on a scale not even George Orwell could imagine in his worst nightmares so the privacy argument seems rather moot.
 
IAHWorldflyer
Posts: 818
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Tue May 01, 2012 1:51 am

Tne NBC Nightly News devoted a short story to the Heathrow lines tonight. The only link I find on their website is a longer reort by Channel 4 News in Britian. The images of the queues are fuzzy, I'm assuming because the Border Agency won't let people film them while still in the secured area?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/ns/NBCNightlyNews/#47236616
 
Malayil
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Tue May 01, 2012 3:00 am

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 89):
I am always surprised whenever this argument against national ID is made claiming "intrusion into one's privacy". For one, my wild guess is that vast majority of British population has passports already so what's the big deal personally I find it much more convenient to travel within EU just with a card than with a passport.
The UK is literally infested with CCTVs on a scale not even George Orwell could imagine in his worst nightmares so the privacy argument seems rather moot.

The problem with the whole ID card debacle was that the previous government was going to make it mandatory for it be carried at all times and a fingerprint and Iris scan were rumoured. These additional details were unpalatable to the British public and that was why they were shouted down. The problem is that the UK's airports are congested, not enough is done about expansion and at a time when the world will be coming to British shores, the government is bent on cutting everything. A recipe for long queues, of which the British are known for.
 
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GCT64
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RE: Heathrow Immigration Delays, The Saga Continues

Thu May 10, 2012 7:16 pm

Arrived at LHR T1 this evening (1830) from Germany. As an EU passport holder the immigration queue / passport check for me took about 15 seconds (yes, seconds!) to get through. No queues, mlots of manned desks waiting for pax to turn up.
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