Arrived BRS late afternoon Friday on a flight from GVA. After the very long walk from gate 1 (including three flights of stairs) arrived in the immigration hall. The two queues were labeled: "EU/EEA passports" and "All passports". Many non-ff Swiss passengers headed for the "All passport line". Both queues quite long (to the stairway). Halfway along the queues were then labeled "EU/EEA/Swiss passports" and "All non-EU/EEA" passports (Yes this confused the normally bright Swiss). So almost everyone in my queue was trying to get into the other queue giving rise to moans and groans in both queues. Once past this point I got straight to an agent and out. Waited for my British wife for about 10 minutes.
There was a ground agent (not Border Control) sitting on a high chair at the end of the queue pointing to the agent that was free. Is it really better to employ a person for this mindless job that employ a simple flashing light? (And how about some signs in languages other than English)
Of course the magic machine designed to let Brits through faster wasn't working (the hours were posted). Couldn't see why it was only open a few hours a day. If they needed a body to redirect those that the machine misdirected they could have taken that lady off her high chair.
Compared to Miami, LHR is a breeze.................
Flew CDG-MIA on 26th, immigration hall full in MIA but all desks manned, was through in approx 15 minutes, no problem. Did not arrive at LHR on this trip but did depart from T5 to CDG, arrived into MAN from JFK and no problem at all at immigration, straight through, only had hand luggage and was in the hotel less than 30 minutes after landing.
My last two trips through IAD, we spent about 10 minutes at the Border, and sadly had to wait a minute for baggage. My last two trips through LHR, we spent about 10 minutes at the Border, and had to wait about 15 minutes for baggage.
At IAD they seem to have done a bit of rescheduling of International arrivals, so that the 10 Border Agents on duty at their 50 desks can actually manage the through-put. At LHR we were apparently lucky, at 06** in the morning. The e-passport gates were operating [yes, all of them], and we were amongst the first to get off the aircraft.
I have no doubt that other airports, or at different times, will generate completely different 'statistics'. And that's the problem: snapshots of when it all goes Pete-Tong make great Daily Mail headlines, but what is the reality? I suspect that the arrival of a bunch of long-haul flights within 30 minutes of each other would test the processing capacity of any Border, anywhere.
As a footnote, last year at IAD there was a 'staff announcement' that 'overtime had been approved for those staff who wished to remain at work to process the incoming International flights'. You can have as many desks as you like, but without the bums on seats to operate them - you're screwed. And who is supposed to pay?
My BIL arrived at Heathrow last night on a flight from the Far East. At some later point in the flight they were informed that Border Agency staff would be coming on board to check passports after landing.
He finally disembarked and more than an hour's wait later, BIL and wife got back into the UK. I won't repeat his comments here because they are easy to guess.
Heathrow isn't functioning now by any normal standards and it won't be during the Olympics, either.
I suspect that the arrival of a bunch of long-haul flights within 30 minutes of each other would test the processing capacity of any Border, anywhere.
I think that is one of the problems though. It's not as if they are surprised by the fact that a lot of long haul flights are suddenly turning up. This happens on a daily basis. Actually - maybe they are surprised by it and that's the reason why we have the queues!!
I can imagine the conversations
"Oh crikey more hoards of people coming though and we still haven't got enough staff"
"I know - that's the 5th time this week and it's only Friday."
"Weird - the same thing happened last week - what do you think's going on?"
I suspect that if BAA have resorted to handing out leaflets apologizing then the situation must be coming to a head.
I just heard that to alleviate the queues at Heathrow during the Olympics, the Border Agency is considering a system where each arriving passenger checks the passport of the person next to him in the queue. This is so briliant I wonder why they don't do it all the year around......
Don't Panic!!! You'll be relieved to know that the 'immigration minister' has it all under control ...
The UK's Border Force will ensure all immigration desks are fully staffed during summer peak times, Immigration Minister Damian Green has told MPs.
Mr Green made an emergency Commons statement on the lengthy immigration queues seen at Heathrow recently.
He said delays were caused mainly by severe weather disrupting flights
Phew! And there we were thinking it was penny pinching and managerial incompetence.
Added this quote from the BBC article: Mr Green also said there would be a new Border Force central control room at Heathrow and rapid response teams to deal with pressures across the airport, and new shift patterns would be implemented within weeks.
But the Immigration Services Union's Lucy Moreton told BBC News: "It takes some time to move from terminal to terminal at Heathrow - it takes about 45 minutes to get to each side of the airport.
"So even then deployment isn't going to be an instantaneous thing as Mr Green thinks it is." She criticised him for talking of "an unexpected surge in passenger flows" and said: "These aircraft have been flying for some hours and we do know exactly how many people are on them.
Analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that the iris recognition immigration system, which scans the unique patterns of travellers' eyes to confirm their identities, has cost just over £9m – but has only been used 4.7 million times, at a cost of £2 per passenger scanned.
Have the passengers never said stuff the queues and just walked through? What would/could the BA do? K, those that need a stamp thingy would have to wait but the rest, especially those with EU passports should just walk.
'The performance target is 25 minutes for EU passengers at Heathrow, though the target is routinely missed.'
So even if they meet the target I will still spend more than two working days a year waiting in line at Heathrow - plenty of time to reflect on the benefits of locating an international business in the UK and of paying 50% tax.
And when you do get to the desk, the staff are such nice people.
I'm going to have a rant! I'm sorry, but I just can't hold back any more. A sort of fury wells up inside until it just bursts out (I suppose I'll regret this later...)
The whole crass, tacky Olympics farce is maddening. It's ludicrously expensive (estimating £12 - £24Bn now) and involves the temporary suspension of some of our laws and ancient rights and our ability to travel, and indeed live, normally. I didn't want it in the first place and will be boycotting all tv coverage, London and specifically the sponsors as a result.
I hope that they don't fix the problems at Immigration: I hope the problems get worse. I hope that the world stays away, and that if it in fact turns up there are riots in the queue - at least that way something might get changed in the long term. I love the fact that while imbecile Britain stands back drooling and sucking its' thumb, wondering where the comfort blanket of democracy has gone, other people in the world appear to be deciding that they don't wish to be treated with total contempt by the local authorities. I say visitors should go for it, big time: Fight, Scream, Punch, Kick - knock the desks and the staff over: Hang the Border Patrol managers from the nearest ceiling beam with their own Tensabarriers. Hell, let's provide disembarking passengers with firearms: Maybe they'll move on from Immigration and change some other stuff in Britain for the better?
OK - Sorry. I'm going to have a drink and a lie down now
I too will be boycotting this party. What can you say about an organisation that is sponsored by McDonalds, Coca Cola, and Heineken? puke: :vomit:
Apparently British beers cannot be purchased on-site or within a km or two, nor is there any food other than McDoodoo. I'm guessing you can also have any soft drink you want, provided it is made by Crappy Cola.
This ain't sports, it's marketing. (And I'm boycotting their products as well)
YOU ARE CORRECT!!! At the risk of this thread now going to JB ...
If my work permitted, I would be out of the country for the whole period and find the tiniest possible island to sit on.
The politicians went for it because they knew that they would all be out of the game by the time the games happened. They had win-win. They 'won' because they supported the bid and then because they got the games. Yet, ANYONE and EVERYONE knew that the money would evaporate into the back pockets of the big boys and the wide boys. The history of the Olympics since 1945 is clearly visible.
I could rant about this for ages simply because it was damm stupid arrogance to get the country into this. Especially when a property and financial crash was already overdue at the time of the bid. So it was bound to have popped at the wrong moment and it did.
And DON'T get me started on that bl@@dy word 'legacy' because the legacy is debt. I lived in the Munich Olympic village for six months in 1999/2000 and could see how amazingly far forward they were in their thinking. They were planning in the late 1960s and I'll bet the things that are left behind in East London are not as good.
Actually, there's no chance of this thread going to JB - because TS is on our side.