Arriving at LHR & immigration queues – try SQ to Manchester ??

Back to Forum
Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)

  • Kopite

    I am shortly going to undertake my first flight in 15 months.

    As I live in a UK Gov designated green list country (Singapore) I have to fly direct from here to UK so I can’t transit in Dubai or Istanbul or anywhere.

    Normally this means flying SIN to LHR and there are only 2 carriers doing this BA & SQ. I am concerned about the reported horrendous immigration queues at LHR (up to 5 hours) to process arrivals in the immigration halls.

    Has anyone done a LHR arrival recently and what was it like. Is the media over blowing the actual situation on the ground ? What was you experience like?

    The only alternative to SIN-LHR is a 3 x a week direct service SIN-Manchester on SQ. Its a bit more expensive but might be an alternative as I am heading for the Midlands.

    Ive never been to Manchester airport so is it likely to be easier to navigate as an arrival point?


    I arrived Manchester on June 21, via Amsterdam. Very quiet.
    As the passenger locator form for UK gov is done online, there is only a random check of papers.
    The airline bringing you in is also responsible to check your documents prior to boarding.
    Most people were able to use the e-gates and out in minutes.

    Jon Arnold

    I arrived via T5 Heathrow on Monday, about 1pm. Despite 75% of the e-gates being closed the queue was still only 5 mins. 3 weeks previous, also T5, also similar time of day, the queuing time was 20-25 mins. So nothing like the scary headlines in the papers!


    I arrived into T5 about 3 weeks ago, at 7am. The queue was around 20 minutes.

    ASEAN Traveller

    I flew SQ from SIN to LHR T2 in early June. Landed around 6am. Zero queue. Mid March, flew MH from KUL to LHR T2. Landed around 3pm. Two hours queue.


    I was about to ask this question as planning my first trip back home to the US since “the mess” but was concerned about the wait times reported. Hopefully by the time I go – Nov/Dec – the system will be closer to normal. I have been waiting a long time to get the one final trip I need for my Lifetime Gold !! Would be great if AA could restart their MAN-PHL before I go and save me the LHR experience. Perhaps a good crop of Americans coming over under the relaxed rules may persuade them.


    I arrived last Wednesday into MAN at about 2130 on the KLM flight – 2 days after the 19th when things opened up. No queues, a very efficient process. Needless to say I was thrilled after the horror stories on the news.


    I arrived back at T3 on CX from HKG at 05.15 Wednesday this week. E gates not operating but they had 4 or 5 on the desks. No wait and i was through in 10 mins max. surprised was not asked for any of the documents you need. Covid test, proof of PCR test at day 2 and in my case fully Vacs cert so i didnt have to do 10 days isolation. CX in SGN were very strict on paperwork so i guess the onus has been put on the airlines.


    I arrived into T5 about 2 weeks ago, at 7am. The queue was around 30 minutes.


    I don’t believe that there is any degree of certainty with regard to advice on this. It all depends upon the time of day, how many e-gates are out of action and the level of available staffing, many of whom have been pinged and are therefore self-isolating, etc, etc.

    I came through T5 immigration in mid-July off the BA flight from Mexico. That arrives mid-afternoon and the e=gates area was rammed. I overheard comment that it was taking between 2 and 3 hours to clear. Fortunately, as it turns out, I was travelling with my other half, a Colombian national (who had done her ten days outside “red” Colombia in Mexico, so was arriving from an amber country, as was I). I decided to attach myself to her and head for the johnny foreigner’s area and we were through in less than three mins


    The scary headlines are real.

    Your personal experience of LHR is just that, your own, and it may or may not be atypical.

    What is undeniably true is that there have been queues of up to 5 and 6 hours of certain days.

    What is also true is that both the Border Farce and LHR will move heaven and earth to prevent accurate reporting of wait times.

    Arriving at 5am is more likely to ensure a smooth arrival than arriving later in the day.

    After 9am it is all down to who and how many staff are on duty with the BF. They control the gates, the queues and determine if the experience on the day is pleasant or an example of the hostile environment.


    Hi Kopite
    you don’t say when you are travelling so maybe it is all planned by now. I personally don’t enjoy arriving or leaving MAN airport but it has the advantage of being much smaller than LHR and you can walk to the railway or bus station in a few minutes when you are landside. Another earlier thread on this forum discussed the stress of being met by car due to the pick-up fees. I found it useful to know that if you have a rail ticket booked and your flight arrives late so you miss the train you are allowed two hours’ leeway – but best to check.

    Arrived on 11/8 on SQ 308 from SIN at 15 25 (20 mins ahead of schedule)
    Was through Immigration and Customs and had retrieved my luggage in 25 mins!

    Despite e gates not liking my Passport (they never do at LHR).

    Without that – which necessitated a 5 min wait to see a Border Force agent – would have been even quicker.

    As stated above it seems to be the responsibility of the airline to check all is in place Covid certification wise at your point of original embarkation (Melbourne in my case).

    Nothing was required to be produced at LHR – my wife sailed through the e gates – and even with the “manual” processing required for me due to the e gate liking my Passport all I was asked were a couple of perfunctory questions.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Business Traveller September / October 2021 cover
Business Traveller September / October 2021 cover
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below