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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:00 pm   #1
 
Join Date: May 2012
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T1 domestic to T5 domestic without a passport

I had an interesting experience on Friday. I'd arrived at Heathrow T1 on a flight from Leeds-Bradford and (to my subsequent regret) followed the 'Flight Connections' route to T5 for my connection to Edinburgh. Having never before connected UK domestic to UK domestic, I hadn't appreciated that this would present me at the UK border in T5 - a small problem for me as I didn't have my passport with me.

I am pleased to say that, after spending some time on the seats of shame and explaining myself to the Chief Immigration Officer, I was not deported back to the Republic of West Yorkshire - much to the chagrin I'm sure of the lounge food and beverage budget manager - but permitted to enter the country I hadn't realised I'd left.

Not a mistake I intend to repeat in future!

Last edited by FocalLength; Jan 14, 13 at 2:01 pm. Reason: Clarifying that my connection was at LHR
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:08 pm   #2
 
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Excellent post.
UKBA, or UKBF as they are currently known as (and will be changing from again soon) certainly are a wondrous bunch.
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:15 pm   #3
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That was something I hadn't appreciated until reading this post. If arriving at T5 Flight Connections by airside bus there is no escaping the UK Border, unless, ironically, you were to be flying on to somewhere that actually needs a passport. There's no UKBF check on international connections. Well you'd not get far, you would get stopped at the boarding gate, but at least you'd be able to stuff up in the T5 lounges as well.
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:20 pm   #4
 
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Once Scotland joins Schengen you'd better not leave that passport at home again...
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:32 pm   #5
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Bit of a long way round to get to
EDI...
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:33 pm   #6
 
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Had exactly the same problem in late November. Arrived from BHD to T1 and just presumed to follow 'Flight Connections' as you do to find myself and my partner stood in front of the T5 UKBA desks with only driving licenses!

However, the Inspector on duty was a right jobsworth and suspected that we maybe anyone and have no proof that we flew in from BHD (despite a boarding pass) so after little consideration, and not even gracing us with the pleasure of a conversation refused to grant us entry to the UK.

Crazy as we were flying from BHD via LHR to NCL. The BA manager intervened but couldn't do anything, as the clock ticked I was missing our time in the Galleries Lounge and even missed the flight. Terminal 5 duty manager was also hopeless, couldn't sort it out between them.

After a lot of stress, we clearly missed the last flight to NCL - they all pointed the finger at each other for blame. It's a Heathrow infrastructural problem which is well known to them already. I think the guy at T1 who scanned our boarding cards to allow us 'airside' - unbeknown to us was really at fault. BA admitted we hadn't done anything wrong by following flight connections.

We were rebooked for the morning, a night in the Sofitel at T5, we were told to go back to T1 where the Chief Immigration Officer was too busy to check things, 10 minutes later with an officer our identity was confirmed, checked and we were on our way through! BA were great, but had no clout to solve this issue at all...

Not a bad story to go to the press with really, as we were flying from the UK to the UK connecting in LHR but not granted access to the UK! It's ironic really as the jobsworth inspector said that we could be journalists showing undercover how easy it is to get access to the UK!
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:36 pm   #7
 
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I can't be the only one who now wants to try this out!

Let's make it an FT do.
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:45 pm   #8
 
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Yes, it's quite an exclusive club.... And it seems like a lottery to see who you will get on duty at the Border Agency in T5
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:45 pm   #9
 
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T1 domestic to T5 domestic without a passport

+1!
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:46 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulwelch101 View Post
We were rebooked for the morning, a night in the Sofitel at T5, we were told to go back to T1 where the Chief Immigration Officer was too busy to check things, 10 minutes later with an officer our identity was confirmed, checked and we were on our way through! BA were great, but had no clout to solve this issue at all...
Well the bit I don't understand is why they let you go to the Sofitel, when you had been denied entry to the UK? Maybe they gave you a temporary visa to stay in your own country or something, I can't imagine that UKBF would want to provide you with "accommodation" in this situation.
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:56 pm   #11
 
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Apparently the rule is that if you attempt to enter the UK without the correct documentation then you have to be processed at your point of entry, ours being Terminal 1, so the Border Force at T5 wouldn't do anything until we went by bus back to T1 to have an interview and for them to run background checks.

It was BA who sorted out the rebooking and Sofitel, as they stated it was a known LHR problem and we hadn't done anything wrong by following 'Flight Connections'.... They were very embarrassed! We only got to the Sofitel after returning to T1 and getting through the checks, then we had to head back to T5 for around 5 hours sleep!

It's actually a simple problem to fix, all they need is to produce some signs at T1 that say 'International Flight Connections' and train the agent to direct domestic pax out of the baggage claim, onto the Heathrow Express to T5... Would have done that had we realised!
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Old Jan 14, 13, 3:04 pm   #12
 
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I must give credit where it is due: each of the border officials who dealt with me was polite, efficient and pleasant; I have no complaint with them. Well, except a little when one of them (the Chief, i think) echoed clubman's wonder at my routing. (Since you ask: it was barely any longer than the train would have taken, it was cheaper, and anyway I wanted to try out the new LBA-LHR route.)

I shall, however, be writing to Heathrow Airport with my complaint, for their Flight Connections model is broken and should either be fixed or else efforts made to prevent others from finding themselves in such a position.

I am, though, very pleased to read the even cws, whom from my loitering here I had thought omniscient as respects Heathrow, had not appreciated this little quirk in the airside connections game. I do feel much less the dolt for learning that.
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Old Jan 14, 13, 3:11 pm   #13
 
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Problem 1) Overpaid consultant misses a node on a decision tree when designing the "process"

Problem 2) UK BA, after being alerted to the problem, which is clearly theirs to solve, adopt public service default position [bury head in sand].

It's worthy of a Private Eye article, amusing for everyone, apart from the poor buggers like those upthread who have to put up with it.

Last edited by Kgmm77; Jan 14, 13 at 3:13 pm.
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Old Jan 14, 13, 4:02 pm   #14
 
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Does that explain why I have never been able to access flight connections when on a domestic into Gatwick arriving onto an "international stand" - they actually stand guard at the top of the airbridge and force you onto the buses - which then drop you at baggage reclaim?
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Old Jan 14, 13, 4:08 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sschwenk View Post
Once Scotland joins Schengen you'd better not leave that passport at home again...


LOL
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