Heathrow Airport descends into fresh immigration chaos

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  • TominScotland

    Recent experiences:

    Australian Immigration at Perth – choice of 4 emplty desks, no queues, polite
    Australian exit – one person ahead of me, functional

    UK entry, albeit International > Domestic transfer in T5 at 05.45, a busy time – no one ahead of me, cheerful. Looking to the side, the main entry lines looked very short as well.


    I can only comment based on my own limited experiences which, contrary to yours, have been largely positive. Is it possible that air crews are treated less courteously than other arrivals, although I see no reason why that should be so?


    I travel 3-4 times a month. Over the last year I may have needed to wait a maximum of 15 minutes at T5. Sometimes I go straight through with barely a wait. It all depends on incoming flight arrival patterns. It is the same the world over on this point. Dublin is a breeze unless a flight from the US has landed just before. Same at Frankfurt unless a flight from Russia, the US or Japan has just arrived. My last trip to NYC, through Newark was a breeze – again because we arrived in a ‘gap’. But I am preparing myself for the worst at JFK next week.

    Long story short, as others have said, I think some people are protesting too much……in any walk of life you can expect the odd glich – it’s how you deal with it that counts and there are clearly some very angst people who contribute to the BT blog….you will fret your way to an early grave, if this is worth the level of venting I am reading


    I have to agree with Rferguson re the US. Houston they are polite, as are a few of the smaller local airports, San Diego and Lexington KT always very polite. However the main cities, just down right rude most of the time. Philly, JFK, Ord and LAX all spring to mind. SeaTac is hit and miss.


    I appreciate that rferguson does not have much choice where he has to land in the USA, but my much more limited experience is happier than his. If at all possible, the smaller places are best – so, for example, if I have to go to Washington I try to take the BWI flight. The immigraton agents are now, in my experience, much more pleasant – often positively charming – compared with the way they were years ago. The queues are the problem. I have in the last few months had an excellent experience entering at Philly and a dire one landing at IAD, and every kind of experience inbetween.

    Entering the UK, the immigration agents are usually perfectly pleasant but the queues can be terrible (I am usually entering at T1, T3 or T4, unlike you BA types), the IRIS machines are sorely missed, and the e-passport readers fail with both my passports every time.

    I went public once saying that entry into the UK could be as bad as entry into Turkmenistan.


    FormerlyDos, I know it is off the topic of this thread but I’m curious, why would 40% of the crew you came across berate you?
    I mean, it can happen but IME the passenger who got berated did something quite wrong (smoking, standing up during turbulence and while the seat belt sign was on).
    What was it that caused that attitude and in such a percentage?


    I think when you arrive in your own country it is totally reasonable to expect to fly through immigration, I really do not expect to be kept waiting. As has been said before there are few things as predictable as the numbers of people on each arriving aircraft and the passports they hold. Immigration needs to be responsive to this and staff accordingly so that people are not delayed. Most people have better things to do with their time.

    That said the situation at LHR has improved recently and the queues at least seem to be moving. The egates are still a mixed experience when they might or might not work and of course the number of infrequent travellers who decide to try them out doesn’t help matters as they invariably take about four times as long as others do.


    “What was it that caused that attitude and in such a percentage?”

    I think you might be taking my comment a little too seriously, although there is a lot of truth behind it.

    I don’t know why some cabin crew are so miserable/sharp and it isn’t for me to try to explain their behaviour.

    Remember I have flown on thousands of flights on a very wide range of airlines, not all of whom have a customer first attitude.


    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come across grumpy crew many times. But I’ve only seen passengers being berated very few times, all of them justified. Perhaps I was lucky. 🙂


    the IRIS machines are sorely missed…Totally Agree…

    Best idea that the HO sunshine boys ever came up with and instead of being withdrawn they should have expanded the system…

    Wonder how many terrorists or illegal immigrants went to the trouble of registering their creds to come into the UK…illegally?

    Anyway as a UK Subject (not citizen since we don’t have a written constitution…another time) I always wonder what the HO-Security Services,FBI-MI5-6 and 7…want from me to make my passage assured and secure when entering the country where I was born,schooled,been in the ATC-TA and Navy…..stood as a local government councillor half a dozen times,served as a school “guvnor” and worked for years in various public service organisations.(including H of P,No 10 Downing St ,Buck House ,Scotland Yard….and others….eh……………… Blood ..

    Got a gold badge from the transfusion service so they can even have a pint if requested…A +

    Now have a new “chipped ” PP but not tried it yet so will see next month what the great advance in HO science and Tech brings with it……

    coffee time…

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