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Self Loading Freight
7th Jun 2004, 00:31
Living in London, I've never had occasion to make a connection within LHR from an international flight to an internal. Last week, I did: I blew in from Nice and changed at LHR for a flight to Edinburgh, both legs BA and both at Terminal 1. I think having to eat two All Day Deli cheese and ham toasties is cruel and unusual punishment, but anyway...

I never (apparently) went through customs on the trip, but I did go through a security scan at London. I would have expected this to be quite the opposite - after all, I'd been through a security scan at Nice (well, as close as they get down there) and having never left airside at Heathrow there should be no reason to repeat the experience, right? Yet I was expecting to have to pick a blue channel through customs, but no - it was the real as-promised European borderless experience.

Did I take a wrong turning somewhere? Are there any non-EU flights into LHR Terminal 1 that would go through the same sequence? Feels like there's an opportunity there for the devoted importer of interesting items, and that can't be right.

R

Jordan D
7th Jun 2004, 09:59
You're not the only one to think that ....

I'm here at Edinburgh Uni, and two of my friends are ex-pat students, and at Christmas disappeared off to sunnier climes. One went to Brunei, and on flying back, came via LHR, and passed through the domestic exit at EDI, although she had a luggage forward to halls as BMI couldn't make the connection at LHR. She never cleared customs at any point (Airside transfer T3-T1 at LHR).

The other went to the states. She flew United/BMI ... this time the luggage made it ... but she never cleared customs at any point: luggage was on the domestic belt at EDI.

I know that there is a special belt for 'journeys that have started outside the EU' at EDI, but I never see any luggage on it, when I leave EDI.

Jordan

BahrainLad
7th Jun 2004, 11:24
Shhhhh............. ;)

Globaliser
7th Jun 2004, 12:33
You'd definitely clear UK immigration at T1 on these connections.

LHR tries to do 100% security scanning of pax between flights (except possibly domestic/Ireland connections to domestic/Ireland connections?) so it's no surprise to be security screened on transfer. Soon I think we'll see it enforced for all international transfers, although there are ways around it in some parts of some terminals at the moment.

I would bet that Customs is working behind the scenes on the transfer bags in a way which makes the ultimate green/blue channel decision pretty irrelevant - hence the low priority accorded to it at EDI.

Avman
7th Jun 2004, 13:10
About to fly LH Economy DUS-PMI-DUS. Reading the above I'm getting myself mentally prepared not to expect too much :( . I'll let y'all know when I get back.

bealine
7th Jun 2004, 22:20
LHR tries to do 100% security scanning of pax between flights

This is a mandatory requirement - all pax and baggage transferring at UK airports mustbe screened - it must not be assumed that an arriving flight is "clean".

UK/Ireland Domestic to UK/Ireland Domestic should also be screened, but pax who know where they are heading may circumvent this by remaining in the Domestic gate area instead of following the transfer route.

Globaliser
8th Jun 2004, 08:59
bealine: UK/Ireland Domestic to UK/Ireland Domestic should also be screened, but pax who know where they are heading may circumvent this by remaining in the Domestic gate area instead of following the transfer route.Pax who know what they're doing can also circumvent this very easily in one of the higher-risk terminals at LHR, which is (I suspect) why BA has additional gate screening for the destination which it operates from there.

Self Loading Freight
10th Jun 2004, 00:50
Globaliser -

Whatever Customs might be doing behind the scenes, it didn't matter to me - I just had one carry-on bag. The thing that struck me was that I never cleared Customs. There may have been some passageway where the shoulder marigold brigade lurked behind a one-way mirror waiting to pounce, but it wasn't explicit. From the moment I left the Martinez in Cannes to the point I checked in to the Sheraton in Edinburgh, I made no declaration, explicit or implicit, to those chaps and chapesses who guard our shores from portable harm and Gordon Brown's purse from light-fingered duty evaders.

There's an argument that for EU arrivals, this is as it should be. It's certainly a new freedom that I cherish. But flights from Israel and SA (at least) arrive at T1, and unless they have a separate customs check before the transfers hall their hand luggage is similarly sacrosanct. Even if the checked baggage is given intensive scrutiny behind the scenes, there's simply no place that people could declare goods on which duty is due, assuming they wanted to.

I appreciate that somewhere like Heathrow it's very difficult to efficiently segregate the different classes of incoming pax, but it seems a bit ironic given the draconian levels of security we currently enjoy.

R

Globaliser
10th Jun 2004, 09:43
SLF - I suspect the answer is a pragmatic one that goes a bit like this. As your carry on will have been security screened at T1 or the FCC, it won't have anything particularly dangerous in it and the screening will itself be a deterrent to carriage of certain types of contraband. And Customs just aren't interested in the small leakage that might still get through this route, considering that such transfer pax are a relatively small proportion of total London arrivals and what they can smuggle in cabin baggage alone is very limited. Customs are largely playing a numbers game and they know what they're really interested in.

Frankfurt_Cowboy
13th Jun 2004, 18:43
Anyone fancying themselves a bit of a smuggler would be well advised to arrive at LBA anytime after about 2000 (I think!!) and not have a crisis of conscience causing them to confess to customs (somewhere!!) on the phone provided!!!

WHBM
13th Jun 2004, 20:37
This is the same elsewhere in Europe. Went with Finnair London to Helsinki, customs check at Helsinki as usual. Next trip was connecting at Helsinki to Lappeenranta, and my bag was checked right through to the domestic flight. Now Lappeenranta, if you've ever heard of it, doesn't even appear to run to a customs officer. So where is that controlled ?

skydriller
20th Jun 2004, 22:39
Errr guys......you are in the EU....

The last time I drove from Bordeaux to Amsterdam I do not remember stopping at customs on any borders en route, so why would I need to clear customs just because I am flying? Similarly with a train journey.

It should be the same anywhere in the EU. Thats what the EU is all about....

It should also apply to immigration controls too, like with a road or rail journey in continental EU, but it appears to not apply when you fly into either France or UK?

Am I missing something?

Regards, SD..

TightSlot
21st Jun 2004, 05:50
Please accept apologies if you have already got there, but just in case...

EU nations may or may not be signatories to the Schengen Agreement (http://socialpolicy.ucc.ie/Shengen-agreement_io.pdf). This will affect the requirement for Customs and Immigration checks on arrival in a signatory country from a non signatory country and vice versa.

Hale
27th Jun 2004, 01:01
But even when Schengen doesn't apply, arrivals from within the EU do not have to clear customs. That is why UK airports like LHR and MAN have blue channels in baggage halls that allow you to bypass customs. Of course customs can still choose to stop you for security purposes, but in practice the monitoring seems to consist of a CCTV camera.

This is why EU airports issue baggage tags with green edging on them - allows customs officers to immediately identify bags from within the EU.

jonathang
27th Jun 2004, 20:29
SLF - I suspect the answer is a pragmatic one that goes a bit like this. As your carry on will have been security screened at T1 or the FCC, it won't have anything particularly dangerous in it and the screening will itself be a deterrent to carriage of certain types of contraband. And Customs just aren't interested in the small leakage that might still get through this route, considering that such transfer pax are a relatively small proportion of total London arrivals and what they can smuggle in cabin baggage alone is very limited. Customs are largely playing a numbers game and they know what they're really interested in.

Agree with Globaliser on this. A couple of transfer bags off a flight to Customs is a low priority compared to a Las Palmas flight with 330 passengers, 20 of whom may have huge excess imports. It's a staffing, risk assessed numbers game.

There is a distinction to Security screening of all hold baggage and rescanning of transfer baggage which is a legal requirement stipulated by the Department for Transport and Customs screening.

They are two completely separate issues. Security doesnít care if you have 600,000 cigarettes in your bag. They will probably give Custom's the heads up however.

In reality to the passenger he or she really doesn't know if their bag is being checked by Custom's or not so has a similar effect to mandatory screening of all bags for customs issues.

After all it's protecting our taxes not a security risk.

The scanning of bags for security reasons is so strict because sadly this could have prevented Lockerbie. The bag from Lockerbie was a FRA transfer bag loaded at LHR without rescanning.

All dispatch, loadering etc staff have it drummed into them that they don't accept hold to hold transfer baggage. If there is not enough time to screen this baggage before the onward flight departs. The bags stay behind and the flight operates without them. Thatís why there are so many issues with late short connection bags.