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Skip the Heathrow nightmare? Only if you're rich
Seems interesting, though I wonder how this will differ from the current general fast track lines at LHR - whether this will just be an additional fast track queue (with perhaps the introduction of fast track queues at other UK airports that may not have them already), or whether this will be a VIP-only escorted entry?The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has disclosed that it is working on plans for fast-track passport lanes for rich travellers at Heathrow and other British airports so they can avoid any repeat of the two-hour queues seen this year.
Brian Moore, the departing head of the UK Border Force, told MPs that ''high value'' people who were considered valuable passengers by the airlines or valuable to the British economy would be given priority treatment at immigration control under the plans. It would be an extension of a priority queueing system trialled this year at Heathrow, under which passengers from Australia, Canada, the US, New Zealand and other, mainly ''old Commonwealth'' countries who do not need a visa to enter Britain would be fast-tracked.
In late December last year, I used the fast track line at LHR T3 arrivals (express pass from QF), and we were through in about 25 minutes, while the main queue apparently had delays of about 2 hours. If this creates an additional (and faster) 'fast track' service, then I wonder if QF will reserve the higher cards for only F pax and CLs, or if this would extend to WP1s (or even WPs as well), with J pax still receiving the current 'fast track' invitations. Also interesting the comment made in the article about those "valuable to the British economy" - I'm curious as to how the border staff would be able to identify such individuals who are arriving under the VWP (ie. those that aren't entering under the "high value" visas (UK Border Agency | High-value migrants), or if it is restricted to those visa types only... only time will tell!
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Last edited by straitman; 20th September 2012 at 08:18 AM. Reason: quote repaired
Qn is why are the lines normally so slow? Lack of officers or antiquated systems? Not sure why the UK lines are so long when the Schengen country ones are normally a breeze?
I suppose one could always travel in via some other point from LHR
It is I, Leclerc !
The secret to happiness in life, is low expectations !
Centurion has a fast track + meet and greet service if you book travel through them. We used them when flying into LHR last year and it was worth its weight in gold.
Yeah, I don't understand this, they already have a 'Fast Track' card just like Sydney Airport's 'Express Path' card only it seems a lot faster, but maybe that's because the crowds at Heathrow are always bigger and the lines always much longer! Anyway doesn't every airline already offer these Fast Track cards to their premium passengers?
Here's a slightly different take on the story from a UK perspective:
The locals are a bit incensed over the above (ie. it applies to foreigners and not to Brits), based upon talk show feedback.
Went through LHR 5 days ago - they do have automated systems for EU Passport holders. Took me 2 minutes to get through the Border (non EU had a queue of about 100) using passport and facial scanning.
No customs officers in sight in the 'nothing to declare' lane- sort of eerie.
Bags came out within 5 minutes so, all-in-all, took me about 20 minutes from disembarking to be good to go...
... Pity the driver was running 30 mins late
Fly through LGW (Emirates has good flights there). If you have an EU passport you will get through Immigration checks in about 1 minute or less.
Even LHR is pretty good for EU passport holders. Who cares about the rest?
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