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My Impressions of T5 security - it may just be me!

My Impressions of T5 security - it may just be me!

Old Dec 17, 17, 7:08 am
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My Impressions of T5 security - it may just be me!

Like lots of you, I go through T5 security a lot. I have really come to dislike the whole process and it stems from the attitude of the people working there. I find them sour, humourless and dour. I have never signed on at a job center, but I suspect that the same indifference of manner applies. This applies equally to First Wing. Maybe they are fed up with the attitudes of the passengers in that privileged zone which, I have witnessed endears itself to nobody. Long have I wondered if they go out to give the Fast Track entitled a hard time.

I contrast this with the pleasant people that I have encountered at LGW. Both Fast Track South and Regular North (BA don't fly to Nantes in winter unfortunately) have actually been pleasant experiences. On Friday both our bags went for secondary screening, one was a Blu-Ray player intended as a present for our friends, and the other was a very well spotted error of some liquid medicine ampoules that is required by Him Indoors for purposes that I shall spare you. Chalk and Cheese. The young woman who rooted through the cases - as required by her job - was sassy, pleasant, and personable. three adjectives that I would never apply to anyone working in T5. I might add that Stansted (yes that place) security personnel unfailingly polite as well. As HI is always pulled because of his hip (the only thing that is hip about him, poor Darling), we spend more time there than others.

It used not to be this way. I have no basis of comparison with other Terminals at LHR - but honestly, T5 security has now become more of an endurance test than anywhere else that I have traveled. I am sure that there is worse - I had problems at AMM this November with HI's binoculars, but T5 evokes a sort of Oh Law, here we go again .

It may just be me/us. I'd be interested to know what you think.
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Old Dec 17, 17, 7:20 am
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To be honest it’s got better this year and I find the First Wing security amazing. That said I find T3 fast track consistently amazing but my favourite airport security experience is always Newcastle. Fast, efficient, warm and friendly.. even telling me I’d left a can of pop in my bag (it was a ready mixed G&T.. gutting to have to bin it but done in such a niice way took the edge off it). Gatwick fast track also pretty good. Worst airport is Manchester.

Wonder why the difference between T5 and T3
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Old Dec 17, 17, 7:21 am
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I have a general dislike for LHR security overall (not everybody working there, to be clear!), and have had to complain about behaviour to other pax in the past. I didn’t think that the First Wing was so bad, but I haven’t hit it at busy times so far.

Comparison to somewhere like LCY is amazing though - there was an issue on Friday evening so when I arrived the queue was literally out the door! Despite that I was through in just under 20 minutes, with really proactive measures to manage queue
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Old Dec 17, 17, 7:57 am
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I find security at LHR T5 generally fine and my experiences if the first wing are good, although overall it can be a little slow. However, MAN T3 is the worst. The staff need a good kick up the behind. This summer they scanned every single jar of baby food from every passenger in a separate tray. They wondered why the queue was so long. You couldn’t move to another queue as they would only allow pushchairs through one if the scanners. Fast track was non-existent.
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Old Dec 17, 17, 8:00 am
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PUCCI totally agree re friendly folk at LGW
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Old Dec 17, 17, 8:07 am
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Try a route from T3 (I hear Cape Town is lovely when it's not having a drought) and you'll find that (in my opinion) it is specifically T5 security that is dour, borderline aggressive, and extremely slow at any exception handling. The staff in T5 act like they've both got a huge chip on their shoulder and are in a bitter work-to-rule-and-go-slow-too workplace dispute - except the First Wing at T5, which is lovely and almost up to Japanese standards.

So no, I don't think it's just you.
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Old Dec 17, 17, 8:15 am
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I agree. LGW=LCY>LHRT3>>LHRT5FW>>LHRT5.

i wonder if any of the management lurk here?
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Old Dec 17, 17, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by madfish View Post
I find security at LHR T5 generally fine and my experiences if the first wing are good, although overall it can be a little slow. However, MAN T3 is the worst. The staff need a good kick up the behind. This summer they scanned every single jar of baby food from every passenger in a separate tray. They wondered why the queue was so long. You couldn’t move to another queue as they would only allow pushchairs through one if the scanners. Fast track was non-existent.
Anyone who complains about T5 security clearly hasn't flown from MAN recently! In my experience, the other passengers in T5 F Wing are far ruder than the staff...
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Old Dec 17, 17, 8:49 am
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Heathrow security is a disaster

They have spent untold millions on a whole bunch of technology to supposedly speed up the security experience while the technology actually slows up the security line. I just this past week watched the whole line judder to a halt because the bin return lane was jammed and passengers unfamiliar with the technology couldn't figure out what to do. Infuriating when you've been standing in line for fifteen minutes.

Heathrow's security personnel assume that it's the technology's job to do the screening, not theirs. So their instruction is minimal and patronizing to passengers, many of whom are foreign or not frequent UK travelers and not familiar with the process, and their queue management is abysmal. Unfortunately I can't ascribe all this to security because Heathrow's inbound customs processing is just as bad.

But my main quibble is the increasingly high cost circle Heathrow is caught up in. They spend tons on security, the airport isn't getting any easier to transit, so hey let's raise the passenger duty again. Between shoddy customer service and ridiculous pricing, the UK has managed to get me to drop 50% of my international business that used to go through Heathrow (as an AA EP) and move it to United. I think next year that figure may climb to 100% (in part because Munoz finally has United doing some of the right things).
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Old Dec 17, 17, 9:01 am
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I mostly encounter T5 security when transferring INT-DOM, and I must say it is variable - but I've certainly noticed some poor interactions from some of the staff. Most often this has taken the form of loudly repeating the security instructions at people, on the assumption that the passenger doesn't speak English well enough to understand. Such a patronising way of interacting also tends to get people's backs up - no-one likes being snapped/shouted at for no reason, especially if you are trying to engage with a genuine question!

The other thing I've noticed is a general surliness in interactions compared to other airports/terminals. I've only flown through MAN once, a long time ago on a charter, so can't comment on that.

Originally Posted by KeaneJohn View Post
… but my favourite airport security experience is always Newcastle. Fast, efficient, warm and friendly..
I second this - an excellent airport, though I might be biased. At quiet times, you can get from the Metro to the gate in <10 minutes.

The only downside is the refresh a year or so back, which created a double-S-bend in Duty Free that you have to walk through. I've not found a way of skipping it, and it probably only adds a minute to your walk, but I find the compulsory additional zig-zagging (and inevitable upselling attempts, which is why they've done it) quite infuriating. It also means that there is less space airside to sit or wander, making it a more claustrophobic than before.
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Old Dec 17, 17, 9:19 am
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I'm not sure if you are familiar with folk who live in London, but they are not know to be friendly or hospitable. I had a conversation with a girl working the secondary line on profiling last week as my bag got pulled out and she was interested in my experiences of security in Asia. Sensible and informed views from her side, but not an ounce of friendliness. Same type of indifference at Fortnum and Mason - which at £50 for a lunch - you expect better.

Perhaps i transit at off-peak times, but in the last 18 months i have not had to wait more than 5 minutes at security.

The "best" experience of security is in Brussels who have installed a system with no place to put down the plastic box apart from the belt, and once the plastic box is on the belt it cannot be stopped or removed and proceeds at extreme speed. The throughput time here is astonishing.
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Old Dec 17, 17, 9:26 am
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One of the issues I see with the security is the fancy system they have for pushing the trays out into the scanner, which is different from pretty much any other airport I've ever flown through. It constantly flummoxes people who aren't used to it and you can see why. Most other airports - you grab 2-3 trays, your sort your belongs, all of your items go through as a group. At T5, you've got to push your first tray onto the main belt, grab your second tray, wait your turn until there is a break to push forward your second tray. I've seen people with multiple trays stacked up, waiting to get them all on to the main belt at once. And of course there are always the people trying to jump the queue and get their tray onto the main belt before it's their turn. Seems to create additional stress and confusion for little benefit.
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Old Dec 17, 17, 9:34 am
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Not just you at all... I have been thinking the exact same thing!
I transited twice in a weekend in Oct and that resulted in two complaints! Not that I received a response to the second, more serious one.

The first was a secondary screening with a security person who had absolutely no urgency whatsoever and I got short shrift from a colleague of theirs when I exasperatedly pointed out nothing was moving.

The second was more serious in my view. A Spanish elderly gent in front of me at the metal detector had his passport in hand (quite normal in some countries) and was being spoken at louder and louder by the troll to put it in the tray. I translated and then snapped at said troll that perhaps speaking louder in English is not helpful to a non English speaker. He looked a bit embarrassed but I was quite annoyed. Then, and this really pissed me off, I overhead a colleague say in a sarcastic tone “oh it looks like the Spanish plane landed” to which I loudly said “excuse me, what did you say?!” but he skulked off. Absolutely shocking. I complained to the lady at the podium who in fairness took it seriously and promised to take action but I was so angry it was shaking - I mean, this is the first thing people visiting our country see, this is the face of the UK and it is completely lacking professional integrity!

Frankly, I’m glad I left for windier shores.. at least in Holland they say all the bad things directly to your face and tell you exactly what they want you to do 😂

Please do complain though... that’s the only way it will change!
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Old Dec 17, 17, 9:49 am
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What infuriates me most about security in T5 isn't the staff, but passengers leaving empty trays on the belt on the far side of the machine, which blocks it, rather than removing them and putting them away. You can often find me there, running up and down collecting together empty trays and putting them in the tray collector while waiting for my own carry on. The staff don't exactly go out of their way to be jocular, but they're generally helpful.

Worst staff experience for courtesy and difficulty is probably Chicago or DC. You get orders barked at you and the lines are often extremely long.
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Old Dec 17, 17, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by lorcancoyle View Post
It may just be me/us. I'd be interested to know what you think.
I get more annoyed by the people at immigration (not the border police but the nannies standing around guiding you). Both at LHR and LGW, I found them rather unpleasant in recent time. Every time "Sir, this is the queue for EU passport". Yes, FFS. I can read the bloody signs. "Sir, you have to take off your glasses in the e-gates". Yes I know, but how about letting me see where I put the passport, etc. first.

On my arrival yesterday in LGW, I put the passport in, stood correctly and had taken off my glasses and the machine just wouldn't budge. I put my glasses back. "NO SIR. NO GLASSES". I know, thanks. I had taken my efffffing glasses off. And in case you're wondering: It's always the UK machines that don't work in my case. I haven't had a problem anywhere else
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