Heathrow chaos or not ?

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Viewing 13 posts - 16 through 28 (of 28 total)

  • LaundryMan
    Participant

    Made first visit to LHR T5 yesterday in a year to pick son up from SFO – flight landed 45 minutes early and we were away within 35 minutes of his arrival. He reported e gates at Border Control more or less empty with no q

    However what did surprise me was how full short term car park was with levels 2 and 3 full – and we all thought T5 was running well below capacity

    Like the idea of Martyn about having officers checking actually on flights

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    FormerBA
    Participant

    If we focus on pre Covid then I can’t recall a time in last 10 years when I waited a long time at US immigration and I usually only travel only at peak times. Indeed my last trip through JFK was under 10 minutes and their machines are simply fantastic. In comparison my Facebook time line for last decade is full of me moaning about the unpleasant and general long periods I have waited in T5.
    It’s unpleasant in that there is no welcome, it’s a threatening environment which just does not operate in the interests of passengers.
    I arrived on the 29th at 9pm. I was held on board for 15 minutes before being disembarked into the queues. An hour later and 3 failures at the utterly useless egates and I was through. I was clearly lucky!
    It was clear from the feeding and watering stations set up in the corridors that this is not a short term issues or operation blip. This is a systemic failure of manpower planning and operational delivery.As such blame lies squarely with the home office and border force management (a contradiction in terms)
    Remember your Covid status is checked before you board! Border Force have your name,dob,passport no, gender and approx arrival time before your aircraft leaves the departure gate.
    On Sunday by Covid status was not checked nor is anyone who uses an egate.
    The images today show people in the pedestrian walkways under the terminals between A and C and there are multiple reports of the transit train being stopped!
    It may not be chaos in the dictionary definition, but it is a shambles with responsibility sitting entirely with serial failure, Priti Patel.
    This situation should not be and must not be defended or justified. It shames us as a nation and seriously threatens economic recovery.

    6 users thanked author for this post.

    nevereconomy
    Participant

    To one who has lived most of my working life outside the UK, the few years back here have made me realise that so many longstanding institutions are really no longer fit for purpose. The NHS was a great idea but times have changed and it needs a revamp. I think Border Force falls into the same category. We have their officers, like GPs, deciding when they work and how much. They need to be run like businesses and held to account. The government that has ultimate responsibility for them also needs to be held to account. COVID has given all these folks something to hide behind.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    I agree completely. It is utterly unacceptable. There were no queues at all this morning, but it doesn’t seem to take much for it to go wrong.

    The paperwork side of things is a shambles. Three people were denied boarding for our flight home from Germany this morning because they hadn’t got either a recent negative test (they thought they didn’t have to because they were double-jabbed) or hadn’t filled in the Passenger Locator Form.

    Gate staff kept saying ‘Have you got the Verifly app?” so I showed them how it didn’t work for a flight coming back from Germany

    And then at Heathrow, we could use the e-gates, and everyone else joined a growing queue which will, quickly start to back up and then block everyone coming in.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    FormerBA
    Participant

    Car park is being used by staff anc as replacement for POD parking


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    It’s a blame game at Heathrow.

    Heathrow blames Border Force Heathrow criticises Border Force for ‘unacceptable’ queues

    Border Force blames the Government

    And then not enough staff on baggage… (so Heathrow’s responsibility)


    EasternPedlar
    Participant

    Definitely chaos!

    A similar experience. I arrived at Heathrow T5 at about 18.15 on Saturday evening. There wasn’t a soul at Immigration, and I literally walked straight up to the desks. I’d say that there were more Border Force officers present than normal; unsurprising after all that bad press on Friday. I was told that I was lucky … but my joy was short lived! There was a general delay of one and a half to two hours for baggage to be delivered for all flights. The announcement said that was because of “staff shortages in the baggage department”. People were sitting on the floor and on trolleys, and there was no staff to be seen. Bags from my flight started arriving after nearly two hours.

    I have no idea who was responsible for this mess – BA or Heathrow Airport, but any which way operations at that airport across the board are clearly managed by some very incompetent people!


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Yes, it is odd. We were talking about it this morning. It’s a lack of co-ordination, communication and competence.

    Border control Is it the government because it is asking border control to do too much? Border control for being disorganised?

    Baggage Is it the airport, or the airline, or the baggage handlers? (or a combination)?

    Then I had a nightmare using public transport to leave the airport because there were no signs saying the underground was suspended until you were down on the platform. And the TFL (Transport for London) staff didn’t know what was happening and gave the wrong advice.

    A shambles…


    EasternPedlar
    Participant

    Then I had a nightmare using public transport to leave the airport because there were no signs saying the underground was suspended until you were down on the platform. And the TFL (Transport for London) staff didn’t know what was happening and gave the wrong advice.

    Thanks Tom. That explains why Uber was quoting a surge price of £80 for a ride into central London! The M4 was also closed that evening, and there was quite a long diversion to take from T5.


    alainboy56
    Participant

    Dear All
    Should we start impeachment proceedings against Bungling Bo-Jo and Ms Patel both of whom really haven’t a single clue what they are doing!
    Also we need, in the words of Mr ‘T’ to ‘drain the swamp’ of all these inept and incapable ‘managers’ (and I use that last word extremely loosely), at Border Control and BAA. For good measure whilst we are at it, why not throw in that useless son of a bus driver, Mayor of London,. and his TFL ‘management’ as well.

    Where do we start ???? ………….. With a petition of signatures, or do we look up that chap Mr Guy Fawkes (November 5th is not far away) …………….?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    K1ngston
    Participant

    Apologies I have been back in the UK for a week now and am now only finding time to report on pretty much a faultless flight back from Singapore, some foibles along the way and the ludicrous process of being able to get back to Singapore at the end of my trip!

    I had followed all the procedures in Singapore, PCR test, the UKGov on line form and making sure I had all the relevant paperwork etc is not only frustrating it is worrying as one inadvertent slip of paperwork and you will not get on the plane!

    Protocols in Singapore ( airport totally closed no shops) were adhered too, there were I found out 80 odd souls on the flight (777-200) and we were suitable dispersed waiting to board which was done by Groups and cabins! I was flying F and there were only 3 of us in the cabin so a little more relaxed, the staff on this sector were brilliant but I have to say the hard product is not great, it is in desperate need of overhaul and apparently the new First is better, but I was going to make the most of a long haul fight to catch up on sleep (8.5 hours) and then sampled some of the culinary delights on offer!

    All in all because the crew were so good I have absolutely no complaints except one, throughout the pre flight, flight meal and sleep we had to keep on our masks which from what I saw everyone adhered to, and then upon landing the plane was sent to a remote stand and then they put us all on a bus, what nonsense and counter intuitive nonsense is that? Anyway expecting immigration to be a mess I was delighted to see that only 2 flights prior to ours were in the hall so I was one of the first through the e-gates and then went straight to get my luggage!

    There were 3 of us in First and our luggage came out last, I couldn’t believe this, its not rocket science and BA are the only airline which doesn’t ensure premium luggage comes out first, now I know this is first world problems but nonetheless worth mentioning!

    Once I collected my luggage headed straight to Avis, I know there are a lot of detractors on here about Avis but I have to say the service was excellent I had my car upgraded they couldnt be more helpful and I have now been in the UK a week!

    Yes I have broken bread with Martyn already and will spend a day with him and others in Brighton soon. One final point for the last week I have been applying everyday to get my application approved to head back to Singapore, this is a stressful process and has meant I have not enjoyed my time here as much as I had liked but I am delighted to say we managed to get the application through yesterday and I have now nothing left to do and enjoy the relative freedom everyone here in the UK is enjoying! Believe me its not the same in Asia I can assure you.

    I hope my experience back will be as stress free as coming

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    alainboy56
    Participant

    I rest my case your honour.
    Do see @K1ngston‘s lovely description above of his flight SIN-LHR where everyone tries their best to follow health protocols and the dumb a*se clots at LHR put the aircraft at a remote stand (when LHR is perhaps running at 40% capacity) and use a bus service to the terminal.

    As I have said here prior, and on other forums, airport ‘management’ have really shown their complete ineptitude during this whole crisis.
    Helsinki-Vantaa and Dubai Int’l to name two other airport situations where social distancing is spouted/written and coerced at every moment and then under enforcement, all passengers are corralled like ‘wild cattle’ together for their own ‘management’ purposes.

    Further on the subject of LHR, I am hoping to get to UK in late October, as I have not seen the offspring for more than 1 year.
    Therefore, I do hope it is not so difficult for me (a thrice vaxxed subject) to return to the ‘Fatherland’ (and ALSO to leave), otherwise …………….!!!!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    Just over an hour to get through the e-gates at Terminal 3 yesterday at 7.30am. The queue was up two hallways – there must have been at least 3,000 people waiting.

    Luckily the e-gates queue was moving fairly steadily but anyone from outside the EU would have been there a very long time.

    Needless to say 15 of 25 e-gates were shut (“being upgraded”, but no sign of any work being done) and about 1/3 of physical desks were unmanned.

    My papers (PCR, PLF, day 2 test booking etc) were not checked at any stage.

    The Heathrow staff manning the queues were very sympathetic, less so the border staff (or certainly the 2-3 strutting around behind the counters).

    All in all a very poor first impression for anyone entering UK. It reminded me why I detest everything to do with Heathrow Airport, T3 generally is a total dump. No sign of Emirates flights to Gatwick restarting sadly.

    3 users thanked author for this post.
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