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BA ‘express arrivals’ pass appeared to have no use in Sydney

BA ‘express arrivals’ pass appeared to have no use in Sydney

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Old Feb 19, 19, 1:37 pm
  #1  
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BA ‘express arrivals’ pass appeared to have no use in Sydney

Arrived into SYD this morn. Totally rammed with arrivals from Asia.

I hopefully presented the ‘express arrivals’ pass BA handed me on the flight, but was told flatly it had no use here.

Is that right? Do BA know this?
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Old Feb 19, 19, 3:04 pm
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Was this for immigration or customs?

I think it may now be correct for customs, although it's been ages since I last arrived at a busy time.

For immigration, I now use the gates so I haven't had any queuing issues. But I do seem to recall seeing Express signs.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 3:29 pm
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For both the gates and customs. I used the gates too, still pretty large queues.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 4:21 pm
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Didn't use the QF express pass arriving from HKG last week. Automated passport gates worked well, priority luggage came off as priority, straight through customs. These passes appear to be less and less relevant in SYD.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 4:26 pm
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They are largely pointless in SYD now.

Last week I was in a cab within 15 mins of doors open (CX from HKG). This was with checked luggage.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 4:49 pm
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Just got off the CX161. SYD is a mess today with not enough passport reading machines operating and the ones that were available were refusing to read a significant number of passports so it certainly wasn't business as usual.That being said I was still through in 15 minutes.

Depending on the time of year the fast track arrival vouchers have different utility. If it's winter and you are arriving at 0500 then you don't need them (and can't use them) because you're the first flight in and they haven't opened up express path yet. If it's summer and you arrive closer to 0600 then it's a bit busier. The voucher does have a use for both immigration (if you're not using the gates then you can use it to go through the central two desks) and for customs where, if it's busy, they will open a specific set of doors for express path but before they do that they open doors off to the right of baggage reclaim (coming from immigration) for "Nothing to Declare" flyers which are usually pretty speedy.

So the short answer is "Sometimes" but the pile of BA, QF, CX and SQ express arrivals cards I have sitting on my desk for some imagined future use is testament to the fact that "sometimes" means "usually not".
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Old Feb 19, 19, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by marcosscriven View Post
Arrived into SYD this morn. Totally rammed with arrivals from Asia.

I hopefully presented the ‘express arrivals’ pass BA handed me on the flight, but was told flatly it had no use here.

Is that right? Do BA know this?
Was this at a designated express queue? I've only ever used the automatic gates in recent years.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 8:09 pm
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When I chose 'I have visted Africa', I couldn't use an automatic gate.
Japanese version inquiry is 'Have you EVER been Afirca ?'
Next time, I had better choose English inquiry ?
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Old Feb 19, 19, 9:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Wasabi Tofu View Post
When I chose 'I have visted Africa', I couldn't use an automatic gate.
Japanese version inquiry is 'Have you EVER been Afirca ?'
Next time, I had better choose English inquiry ?
Australia due to an Continent which was isolated from the rest of the world is very wary of anything of foreign pests and diseases, and Africa is seen as high risk. It used to be "have you visited Africa in X days", but these things can get lost in translation by bureaucrats just doing a job (and don't give a BS about) and probably why the variance in meaning/translation.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 3:02 am
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Originally Posted by marcosscriven View Post
For both the gates and customs. I used the gates too, still pretty large queues.
If you used the automated gate, it's no use.

For customs/quarantine, there is supposed to be an express lane but it's not always there and they just seem to merge the lot from time to time.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 4:12 am
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When we arrived in Melbourne late last year it was a real scrum to clear customs and we had a tight connection. In the end it appeared as though we could use our express passes in the 'crew' (or similar) lane to exit customs. It was not labelled or signed but a staff member was collecting the passes of those who worked it out.

This was not on BA (obviously) but the same principle.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by Wasabi Tofu View Post
When I chose 'I have visted Africa', I couldn't use an automatic gate.
Japanese version inquiry is 'Have you EVER been Afirca ?'
Next time, I had better choose English inquiry ?
That is really interesting. I arrived in Aus directly from South Africa, so ticked "yes" to that question. The English version went to an additional screen asking which countries I had visited in the last x days. By only ticking SA, I got the usual print out for the egates and had no problem. So it does seem something is lost in translation here.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 11:30 am
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The egates at SYD are generally very good and swift - rather different to LHR but I've had no problems with them since installation.

Everyone arriving is questioned by a customs officer and a decision made about whether you are screened any further. That process is also usually pretty fast. If you are passed as clean which again I always have been since the current system was introduced you are out in minutes, if you are subject to secondary customs and/or quarantine it can take some time.

Australia takes biosecurity very seriously and if they think you pose any sort of risk at all you will be screened further.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by lhrpete View Post
Everyone arriving is questioned by a customs officer and a decision made about whether you are screened any further. That process is also usually pretty fast. If you are passed as clean which again I always have been since the current system was introduced you are out in minutes, if you are subject to secondary customs and/or quarantine it can take some time.
I often have things to declare (wooden items, food etc.) and it usually adds about 15-20 minutes to the process at most.

One time though, I was shocked that two quarantine officers did not know what teak was. They thought I said "tick" and thought I had brought insect specimens... I said it was a type of wood but it did not register with them somehow, and I eventually showed them what teak was (it was a part of a boat I took in my suitcase to have it reworked in Australia), and they were like "Oh, so "teak" is wood???" I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 7:42 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
I often have things to declare (wooden items, food etc.) and it usually adds about 15-20 minutes to the process at most.

One time though, I was shocked that two quarantine officers did not know what teak was. They thought I said "tick" and thought I had brought insect specimens... I said it was a type of wood but it did not register with them somehow, and I eventually showed them what teak was (it was a part of a boat I took in my suitcase to have it reworked in Australia), and they were like "Oh, so "teak" is wood???" I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.
I regularly pass through with a carnet and a whole load of equipment... I have lost count of the number of times I've had to explain to them how to fill out the forms!
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