Shooting video in LHR T5 Border Control

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Old Apr 16, 18, 1:19 am
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Shooting video in LHR T5 Border Control

landed the other day to see a big queue, 3 e-passport gates operating and the rest not functioning. I was having a bad day and used my phone to snap a 6 second video of the e-gates to post on twitter and have a bit of a moan (it does my nut in when they don't open more gates). i didn't see any 'no photography' signs (AFAIK they are only by the personnel-controlled booths but there certainly weren't any where I was standing in the queue). A guy approaches me, tells me 'no filming' and I apologise and say no worries but I didn't see any signs saying that, otherwise I wouldn't have done so. He said to me 'I'm not arguing with you, I'm telling you no photography'. Which annoyed me and instead of just going on my way I (perhaps stupidly) said 'can you show me where the signs are that say that? otherwise how am i supposed to know?'. He smiles, immediately tells me i'm a security risk (?) and asks where my passport is. Then (the annoying bit) without waiting for me to offer it to him he literally grabs it out of my hand, says to me 'now I'm going to delay you even more', marches me to another desk and tells a couple more staff that I was filming. They look a bit embarrassed (I get the impression they know that this guy is a bit over-eager), ask me to show them the footage and delete it in front of them, which I do. They didn't ask me to delete it from the 'deleted items' iPhone folder. Then they, oddly, fast-tracked me through immigration and wished me a nice day.
An hour later I post the footage on twitter briefly explaining the situation and receive an apology from LHR's account (they didn't say photography wasn't allowed).
Question I have is, was I in the wrong shooting video (you couldn't see any people, just a row of around ten non-functioning passport gates)? I think i probably was but can't help feeling the guy over-reacted somewhat.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 1:33 am
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You aren’t supposed to video or take photos in the immigration area - that’s certainly not unusual to LHR and applies at most airports I have been to.

However, if this was a HAL agent rather than a border force agent he had no right to ask for and take your passport and no right to force you to delete the video. It sounds like he is lacking any ability to deal with passengers with any courtesy.

EDIT: to add I have just come back from a country where you are nearly shot if you dare even use your phone in the immigration area, never mind take photos/videos

Last edited by KARFA; Apr 16, 18 at 1:44 am Reason: Spelling
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Old Apr 16, 18, 1:49 am
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Originally Posted by musical View Post
Question I have is, was I in the wrong shooting video
Yes. Signs or no signs most experienced travellers will know they are inviting trouble by filming in restricted airport areas.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 1:57 am
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Closed e-gates are annoying, but this is another example of the risks involved when people feel the need to share every aspect of life via social media...

Did you actually end up getting through sooner than the queue though
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:00 am
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Yes, it's a common rule, but—without commenting on its merits—they still ought to put signs up, both from a natural-justice point of view and so that non-"experienced travellers" will know about it. So no, I don't think the OP was in the wrong.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:06 am
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Originally Posted by ianwall View Post
Closed e-gates are annoying, but this is another example of the risks involved when people feel the need to share every aspect of life via social media...

Did you actually end up getting through sooner than the queue though
think the social media dig is a little unjust - my thought is if enough people call them out on things like this and do it in public then, over time, things can actually change. Having 15% of e-gates functional in one of the world's busiest airports is ridiculous. This wasn't a selfie...
and yes, I did end up getting out faster
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:19 am
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I can remember seeing 'no video' or 'no mobile phones' signs at immigration all over the world so I don't remember whether they are at Heathrow or not.
Personally I wouldn't take video in an immigration hall.
I also think observations in posts such as, 'They look a bit embarrassed (I get the impression they know that this guy is a bit over-eager)', which really amounts to nothing more than personal conjecture to support your own view, detract from the post so I would tend to avoid that as well and just stick to the facts .
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:28 am
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I do feel sorry for you, rudeness is never acceptable regardless of what you may or may not have done.

As a general note, are you aware that E-gates are manned by humans? A lot of people don't realise this and get angry when they're closed. A border force agent still views the passports and images, but they're able to monitor multiple gates a once, so if you don't have staff available then you can't open them.
That doesn't excuse them for being understaffed obviously! But it's useful to bear in mind.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:30 am
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There are some "no photography" signs up, but if you slide in from the southern side (gate 20, T5B, T5C), you probably wouldn't notice them. The Border Force agents are probably not that bothered about it frankly (generally speaking), it's almost impossible to stop it happening and they have a long list of other things that bother them more.

But there's always one.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:38 am
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Originally Posted by Foltan View Post
I do feel sorry for you, rudeness is never acceptable regardless of what you may or may not have done.

As a general note, are you aware that E-gates are manned by humans? A lot of people don't realise this and get angry when they're closed. A border force agent still views the passports and images, but they're able to monitor multiple gates a once, so if you don't have staff available then you can't open them.
That doesn't excuse them for being understaffed obviously! But it's useful to bear in mind.
this is fascinating - genuinely had no idea! Thank you. Good to know the robots havenít taken over the world just yet...
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:46 am
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Don't worry about it. The problem now is it is so unnatural not to take pictures or film almost anywhere in the World- plenty of people would not even "see" the signs even staring right at them.

Plenty of, for example, twenty-something occasional travellers could not comprehend the concept of not being able to use a phone anywhere. Its just alien to some.

Much like the BA forum here where more and more threads have nothing to do with BA. It's just accepted.


Sounds like a wonderfully eager member of staff that worked to your advantage. Just imagine what it is like doing that job- fighting an uphill battle - and your interaction probably excited him somewhat.

In a crowded Arrivals area you've basically posted an interesting tip.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:48 am
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Don't do it at any Australian airports - they are hot on this. A colleague of mine was told he would be fined if he didn't put his phone away.

The person you should send your ire to is Theresa May. She cut the Border Force budget as Home Secretary so they don't have enough staff to monitor all the e-gates.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 2:59 am
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What's the issue with filming in this area? Genuine question, are there really weakspots that peope could plan to use to sneak in? On the last day of T1, I and I could see a few others were happily snapping pics on the way back at the UK Border.
Can someone please explain what the real security risk actually is?
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Old Apr 16, 18, 3:56 am
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Originally Posted by musical View Post
I was having a bad day and used my phone to snap a 6 second video of the e-gates to post on twitter and have a bit of a moan (it does my nut in when they don't open more gates).
Originally Posted by musical View Post
think the social media dig is a little unjust
Originally Posted by musical View Post
this is fascinating - genuinely had no idea!
It sounds like the social media dig was entirely justified. You were intending to have publicly splash your opinions about when you actually didn't even know why not all of the gates could be open. It's almost a textbook case of a social media whinge from someone who doesn't even know what they don't know about the topic they're sounding off about.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 4:14 am
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Originally Posted by skipness1E View Post
What's the issue with filming in this area? Genuine question, are there really weakspots that peope could plan to use to sneak in? On the last day of T1, I and I could see a few others were happily snapping pics on the way back at the UK Border.
Can someone please explain what the real security risk actually is?
There is no security risk and the whole charade is pathetic. I can understand why you would not take films of these areas in tyrannies like Qatar, China and so on. Or in free countries where they are sensitive about these things and you do not have an automatic right of admission like the United States. But this is the UK, where we do things openly and everybody knows that everything run by the government or a big private sector company (but especially the government) is a shambles. "Security" is just an excuse to cover up for management incompetence. If everybody was filming and taking pictures the management would have to do something about the queues and general poor service standards, which would cost money that could otherwise be spent on making tax more complicated or hiring community cat champions.
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