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Anonymous1 Nov 2007
Is it just me or are the Iris machines at Heathrow always closed. Returning from the Middle East yesterday it was closed again and only opened after being in the EU queue for about ten minutes. I then skipped under the barrier and the man who opened it said ‘”you can try it but it probably wont work”. It seems those who are employed have little faith in it.1 Nov 2007
Still haven’t tried it, but feedback hasn’t been positive. Not very encouraged by the Home Office website either – different enrolment times for every terminal, no afternoon opening at Gatwick – & apparently, even if you do get there at the right time, “There is no guarantee that enrolment rooms will be open at published times as the opening times may occasionally change at short notice due to staffing issues.”
I’ve tried using that excuse with my boss, but it just doesn’t work…….1 Nov 2007
I am flying in next weekend so will register then. Oh – maybe not as I arrive at Gatwick late afternoon…. It seems a bit frustrating that such a good resource is limited. If there are no running costs (because it is a machine rather than paying a human) why can’t it be open all the time? I presume it is because they know it goes wrong and they need to have people there to correct it… Machines helping humans helping machines.2 Nov 2007
I joined at LHR 7 months ago. 50% of the time it simply doesnt work, with 3 cameras each always vary, & its sad to watch so many frequent travellers use it but get stuck & have to be let out of the first gate & get back into the 15 minute Passport queue check.
By comparison, i have been in Amsterdam Schipol’s Privium for 2 yrs. (99Euros each yr with perks & a special lounge to use public side) It does what it states it does (like most efficient things in NL & Schipol,) & you are through in 20-30 seconds.
You also get priority lane security, same as the crews.
Its brilliant, add this to all the other delays n negative lazy attitudes at LHR, with the charges /taxes for services that work badly, I choose to go Via Schipol, avoiding LHR as much as possible. Travelling business class from the EU also means i dont have to pay £80 to the government either just the £20 eu tax!
Rather than the Spanish, perhaps the Dutch could manage our transport & airports…they would surely enhance the efficiency, customer service, & courtesy, as well as Maintainance & cleanliness of the airport, compared to LHR!8 Nov 2007
The IRIS enrolment room at Heathrow Terminal 4 was closed when I tried to use it – despite it being within the stated opening times on the website. That was a waste of time as it is well out of the way. When I mentioned this on going to the British Airways lounge, the person there said it always shuts well ahead of the stated closing time.8 Nov 2007
I registered yesterday at Heathrow T4 and there was only one person in front of me. I gave over my passport and they scanned my eye about two minutes later. It was easy, and quick. So the Border and immigration people have done their job. The only thing I’m concerned about is the fact that even if this means we get through passport control faster, we will still end up waiting for half an hour for our bags…and who can we blame for that?9 Nov 2007
Unless you have bags to collect, saving time at security using IRIS simply means you stand at the carousel for longer.
I managed to register quickly and for the first time in five trips the IRIS scanner was not working yesterday, at LHR T3. It’s a great idea but the luggage needs to come quicker!17 Nov 2007
Have never had a problem to date, but sometimes its quicker as less of a queue to use the regular immigration officer. Its sometimes like the queue at J is bigger than Y for check in, when I will use Y rather than wait longer just to be in the J queue.29 Dec 2007
Still vouch for Schipol being greatest. One eye n you are literally through with a Chip card you slot in the gate, scan the eye, literally 30 secs.
You also get to go through the Crew & a seperate Security priority lane, within Shengen areas n out also. Saves a good 20 minutes in Amsterdam with varying queues. Just walk through.
The gates on “IRIS”, seem more like a very dated donkey powered system, with a pulley & weight. That makes each customer wait a minute between people let alone which of the 3 cameras decide to point at you!4 Jan 2008
Maybe things have improved of late. I have been using the IRIS scan at LHR (T4 and T1) without any problems over the last few months.
No experience of AMS – although I don’t understand at AMS if you go through one area at departures you get security screened, but if you go through the other no security screening until the gate area. Don’t understand that!!!17 Jan 2008
I’m a frequent flyer between A’dam and London (LGW & LHR) and I use both Iris and Privium. In the last year, only Privium “failed” once and never had any problem in the UK (knock on wood).
About the security checks, Schiphol has to areas with different entrances: Schengen (where there’s no passport control and all the hand luggage is screened before entering the area – Privium passangers have priority) and the “international” area where every flight is screened at the respective gates. Hope this helps.18 Jan 2008
…. furthermore, in LHR T1, the Iris machine is at the opposite end of the hall to the UK/EU immigration channel, so it is a long way back once you find that it is not working.
Anyway, why hurry through immigration when BD will keep you waiting a hour at the carousels for your bag (singular)?23 Apr 2008
It’s an interesting one. Had a lively discussion with a fellow frequent flyer about IRIS. He said it was slow, taking 15 seconds to process a single person (and so with a queue of 10 in front of him, it was quicker going through the regular EU queue (yeah, right), and I said it took five seconds. Then came back into T3 and sure enough it took 15 seconds. Then T5 the other week, fast as anything (about six seconds would be my guess). Might not seem like much, but once you are committed to the queue you’re in it for the duration, and no one will use IRIS if they think it’s slower than standing in line and flashing a passport. Maybe as the database gets larger it has more irises, (irisi?) to scan and it slows down. But then why is it quick at T5? There are no certainties in this world of travel…23 Apr 2008