The UK Border Force has been cut to the quick, odd considering the Conservatives are keen to prevent mass immigraition. Only a moron could be shocked that chronic underfunding and not paying enough money in the right places means the end product is shabby. I don't object to cuts in public spending but *in the right places* for goodness sake.
Consider this: Whenever you check in for a flight to the UK, your passport details are taken by the airline and whizzed to the UK by the marvellous world-wide interwebby thing. That means the UKBA will generally have had prior notice of your arrival for something like a minimum of two hours. Now, if I've got this right, they know who they've issued visas to, who's a national, who's entitled to be in Britain and more importantly, who's not. Special Branch can also match their list against the 'inbounds' and identify those of interest. So, all the UKBA have to do, is make sure the people who get off the flight are those who checked in. How hard can it be?
Personally I think Wallies at the top of the UKBA haven't a clue what their job is all about. Additionally, they have no understanding of how technology can help them nor of how to design a system. They are also scared fartless of someone complaining about their human rights being breached. This results in pointless waiting in queues, systems which don't speak to each other, the ridiculous Landing Cards and hundreds of "Asylum" bludgers illegally landing in Britain each week.
As it runs at the moment, the system is a waste of cash and time.
PS. You can stick the L*nd*n 2*12 event (I can't mention it by name, as that would be a criminal offence) where the sun doesn't shine. Any event that requires an Act to make the infringement of sponsorship deals a criminal offence can screw itself. This fiasco will be one of the most expensive job and business destroying events we've seen in Britain. I'll be truly glad when it's all over.
I'm really surprised that this is news now. Every time I have arrived into Heathrow in the last three years I have had to wait at least two hours to get through immigration. Admittedly this is usually Terminal Three (I think the video here was Terminal 5?). Now Terminal Three is an awful terminal to get out of - apparently the shops are more important than having somewhere for the passengers to sit . But returning has been an awful experience every single time.
Whilst waiting in the queue I could at least amuse myself by realising that it took me less time last year to fly from Ho Chi Minh city to Bangkok to get my connecting flight to Heathrow than it did to get from one end of Immigration to the other!
The other appalling situation is how people are treated - a lot of the time you watch as people who don't speak much English are introduced to the traditional English translation method whereby they are talked at in an ever increasing volume to aid comprehension and to assist them with completing their arrival forms. A truly awful introduction to the UK. I notice someone compared JFK with Heathrow - again exceptionally long queues there but my experience has always been that that is shorter than on the return trip to Heathrow.
I now try and avoid Heathrow as much as possible because of this.
Admittedly every time I come in it is early in the morning when most long haul flights come in. However you would think the Border Agency may have been able to pick up on that fact! And obviously plan accordingly. But I think that is where the problems are.
I know. I'm just watching the news now and looking at the Terminal 5 video. That is nothing compared to what I've experienced in T3. It is good that the media are highlighting this. However I suspect that this is just further evidence that if you cut the cash then the service suffers. A "no sh**t sherlock" moment. Unfortunately as this appears to be the general direction of travel for the UK we shouldn't be surprised when this kind of thing becomes the norm for all public services in the next year.
I came through terminal 4 around 6pm on the 25th, the Immigration area was packed with queues going down the corridors, I was lucky enough to use the electronic entry which took less than 5 minutes, but anyone in the other nationals line was looking at a bleak couple of hours of standing around.
As this is low season, I will be extremely impressed to see how they cope during the Olympics.
1. if it is bad now, what would it be like with a third runway?
2.i agree we should not compare with the USA. they have a reputation of under-funding public facilities eg their post office. it has been said that infrastructure in the USA suffers from the contrast of 'private affluence, public squalor'.
Far be it for me to question the validity of your assertions, but ....... was that once or twice you flew then ?
Okay, its a while since I did lots of long haul, but either you're someone who needs to be checked thoroughly, you're the statistical tail of the probability curve or your memory is faulty.
It is quite a few times - can't quite remember exactly how many. Had it been once or twice i would put it down to chance, however it's every single time. I'm not claiming that this will be everyone's experience and to be fair it has always been long haul. However I have spoken with others who have had a similar experiences (again long haul and bizarrely more often than not T3). I was making no claims to statistical probability, however the number of times it has occurred to me seems to suggest that it happens quite regularly.
I wouldn't think that they would know I was someone who needs to be checked thoroughly as the line usually stretches from the desks to the entrance door of the immigration hall. Clearly they don't know who you are when you enter and I generally get from the red line at the desk to past the desks in around 30 seconds! Suggests to me that the bulk of the wait is getting to the desk!
The main reason, I guess, is that there is that period of time in the morning when a lot of long hauls come into the airport depositing a huge number of people at the same time. Probably at some point the Border Agency might notice this and perhaps consider scheduling an appropriate number of staff to cover this period. Who knows??
Heathrow airport has been ordered by the Border Force to stop handing out leaflets to passengers acknowledging the “very long delays” at immigration. Amid increasing anger at the length of queues for travellers arriving at border control, airport operator BAA has tried to defuse tensions with a leaflet apologising for the problems. It said people arriving in the country “deserved a warmer welcome” and explained how to complain to the Home Office.
But Marc Owen, director of UK Border Agency operations at Heathrow, has told BAA that the leaflets are “inappropriate” and that ministers would take “a very dim view”.
In an email obtained by The Daily Telegraph, he said: “The leaflet... is both inflammatory and likely to increase tensions in arrivals halls especially in the current atmosphere. “It is inappropriate in that it is not for you to display how to complain on our behalf.
“Please refrain from handing out (the leaflets) or I will escalate (the matter) with ministers who are likely to take a very dim view. I know there are copies in the hall and your troops are ready with them.”
Mr Owen also told BAA to prevent passengers taking pictures in the arrivals hall. Pictures of lengthy queues have been posted on PPRuNe by frustrated people.
So, let's not allow people to take pictures and don't encourage them to complain - and everything will be all right ...
For once, I side with BAA who are trying to ensure they don't get the blame that belongs to the Border Agency, i.e. the Home Office.