Heathrow chaos or not ?

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)

  • nevereconomy
    Participant

    MSN US News had reports of chaos and long waits at Heathrow in the past few days. Was this real or just US news making hype ?


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    There have been some very long queues.
    I was speaking with a hotelier who was caught in them at the weekend.
    He waited 45 minutes to get through but that was with a British passport and fully vaccinated.
    Others with other passports and children had waits of up to 3 hours.
    Whether that’s ‘chaos’ or not is up for debate. It probably feels like it when you’ve been shuffling forward in a line for that length of time with crying children etc…

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    K1ngston
    Participant

    Come on call it what it really is…. 3 hours is unacceptable its chaos by any standards …… You are not surprised because Heathrow is a nightmare anyway but against other airports its chaos with a CAPITAL C!

    8 users thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Well… Chaos is “complete disorder and confusion”.

    It might be the latter, but I don’t think it’s the former. No one rushed the gates, forcing their way into the country only to be wrestled to the floor by security. Wembley during the Euros was chaos. Heathrow isn’t.

    Several times I have waited for 2/3 hours at U.S airports after a long haul flight.

    It’s unacceptable that we have these waits at Heathrow, but then, so much of this has been unacceptable, and avoidable.

    And then there’s the £5 drop-off fee… !

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    It is so frustrating border control issues are happening, especially after hearing John Holland Kaye, bleating on for the past year saying how ready Heathrow is to accept visitors and Brits through the airport. Clearly, border control are not on JHK’s payroll, but the border control officer numbers appear highly correlated with the ‘processing’ delays being reported.

    Whilst much of the airport travel process has been modified for ‘covid reasons’ (such as shops being closed, lounges being closed, seats not being allowed to be used, one way systems not being adhered to and of course mask wearing (or not as the case may be) – very little appears to have been modified to keep the entering the UK process fresh, clean and inovative, except of course for the reduction in border control staff working.

    The stupidest process I have experienced is the deplaning. BA’s process appears sensible, by deplaning row by row – except of course when you are deplaning to being crammed like sardines for a bus transfer… or in this discussion, being crammed for a period of time in an unventilated immigration hall.

    With long haul flights not running full – why haven’t BA/Virgin, been able to (or even suggested) offer on board immigration or at least a papers checking process. Be like the cruise ships, stick an immigration border officer on a long-haul and offer to check, process or at least review a passengers papers en route, highlighting the need for any further forms or recognising shortfalls in an individual’s paperwork. Result, if the papers are in order, direct then to a fast exit, if they are not correct direct the passenger can join an appropriate line. This would also perhaps provide BA/VS a competitive edge (boy do they need it). Clearly, this is only a thought and wouldn’t work for short haul.

    I wonder how many border control staff would jump at being offered incentivized holidays or travel perks and at the same time arriving passengers being pre cleared or checked whilst in the air.

    As for understanding whether you have the right PCR/lateral flow/anti gen / video tested / self tested / day 2 test / bar codes……. that’s been covered elsewhere… (just a minefield).


    alainboy56
    Participant

    I have long been a very strong critic of the Border Force numpties at LHR in the past, but the situation as I have read it now is totally unacceptable.
    As far as I can see and have experienced over many years, UK Border Control is totally inept and the ‘managers’ (who stand around in suits behind attempting to look thoughtful and intelligent) should all be put on counter duties and do something useful to ease the situation!….. That’s what ‘Managers’ are for !!

    Anyway perhaps we should just forego flying to UK, just take a boat across the channel and freely stride ashore on the south coast unchecked by any authorities, least of all by UK Border Force.

    This is all a total embarrassment for the UK and its standing as a civilised country is waning by the day.

    However just to balance airport ‘management’ ineptitude, I recently arrived in DXB and although the airport is operating at perhaps only 40% of its capacity, they still wish to corral ALL pax from ALL arriving flights up/down channels and corridors and behind taped lines for a mandatory PCR Test.
    So if you didn’t have Covid-19 when you departed your airport of origin, being ‘lumped together’ with maybe 1000 other pax from recently arrived 2 x A380s and 2 x B773s, then chances are that you may catch it in the melee that is DXB’s mandatory PCR Testing.

    What disastrous airport management, when they have all the room available to make maybe 4 or 5 testing stations and spread everyone out!

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    CathayLoyalist2
    Participant

    Martyn,that is a brilliant example of innovation/creativity which unfortunately is well above the pay grade of most senior executives. By comparison I got caught up in New York with 9/11 and eventually limped to Chicago, then LAX and then home to Singapore. It didn´t take long to organise armed air marshals on board who were very visible, or rather their guns were. Where there is a will there is a way.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    Landed at LHR T5 yesterday at 12:45, used family lane.
    Absolutely zero queue at immigration (had been expecting a sizeable wait). Staggering really.
    Luggage on the other hand was pretty slow.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Inquisitive
    Participant

    Tom wrote:
    “Several times I have waited for 2/3 hours at U.S airports after a long haul flight.”
    Totally agree as I have similar experiences at Houston, New York and Los Angeles airports a few times, although Houston was much improved before COVID-19 (but that could be due to flight I take used to arrive 1st or 2nd among 10-12 long haul flights within a 2 hour slot.

    Martyn’s idea is interesting and shall be possible to implement at least in some route.
    Alternatively UK can do what USA border security does in some selected airports in Canada, etc. – they have border control at the time of boarding, so no time lost after arriving. Of course this will cost money but can be trialled with countries that require visa and it is a very busy route.


    Luc Jones
    Participant

    If only 2 out of 5 terminals are operating, and even in those 2, many of the booths are shut, where on earth are all the immigration officers? Please don’t try to tell me that they’re all working from home (on full pay, of course) ?!?!

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    alainboy56
    Participant

    @Luc Jones — well they are certainly not patrolling the beaches of the South coast that’s for sure
    But you are right, whatever pitiful duties they are engaged upon, it will for sure be on full pay of course.


    Maaki
    Participant

    Well, when normal travelling was still possible, I tried to avoid Heathrow by any means (LCY is much, much better anyway).
    But considering the “immigration” process at all (!) American airports (JFK, BOS, MIA, you name it) LHR is a funny, nice area with friendly officers.
    Even a commercial visa for the US doesn´t help much (at least in the middle of 2019), you have to wait forever, only to answer the same, old and sometimes stupid questions (“Do you carry any weapons?”) again and again.
    So, I´m not really niggled, that one can´t go to the US at present and have video calls instead ….

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    JJames3
    Participant

    Martin, brilliant idea, though sadly in today’s (I believe Covid induced) increasingly combative atmosphere where it seems most folks have the breaking strain of a kit kat (other crispy chocolate fingers are available), you may find that said official would likely require an armed air Marshall as backup, or as a minimum a team of 3 officials working together for safety sake. 😉


    Fair2380
    Participant

    Landed on EK1 into T3 this lunchtime. I was through in less than 10 minutes

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    K1ngston
    Participant

    Landed on EK1 into T3 this lunchtime. I was through in less than 10 minutes

    Lets hope its the same on Monday at 6am when I land too!

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