Immigration queues at T5 (22/01/21)

Old Jan 23, 21, 2:00 am
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Immigration queues at T5 (22/01/21)

I landed last night from Stockholm at around 18:30. We were swiftly off the plane and into immigration, which was about half full. When the next plane load arrived they were sent to the non-U.K./EU line regardless of passport.

It took over two hours to get through immigration. At times there was only manned immigration desk and the egates were closed the whole time.

All passengers had to show their test result and PLF. It was also checked at check in and at boarding.

One passenger in the line was a woman holding a crying baby with two other small children. Passengers around her asked Heathrow staff to take her forward as it was hot, late and clearly difficult for her and the woman from LHR said there is no priority system any more (last year at least families were being taken ahead) and then she said you shouldnít travel with kids if you donít want to queue. Personally I didnít think that was an acceptable thing to say. I donít think anyone in that queue looked like they were enjoying it and I doubt they would chose to fly at the moment if they didnít need to.

Eventually a BA pilot took the lady and her children out of the queue and forward to the desks. He argued with immigration. They seemed to accept the lady but the BA pilot (I assume off duty as heíd been a passenger on my flight but in uniform) was then sent to the back of the immigration line. I offered him his original space back as he was directly in front of me but he declined.

As we approached two hours, I suggested to a member of LHR staff that they should hand out water and he said I can go get water. He disappeared and we never saw him again.

Even in a packed room there are people wearing masks incorrectly.

Finally the non U.K./EU line moved much quicker as they always seemed to have around 4 officers.

By the time I made it through, Stockholm was nowhere to be seen on the baggage board, so I then had to walk the length of the baggage hall to look for my luggage.

Overall a pretty poor performance, and all the socially distanced measures pre-boarding and onboard are lost if you then have to spend two hours together in a hot room at the end.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 2:33 am
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Does sound pretty poor, but equally sounds like there are more people travelling than essential.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 2:44 am
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The background to this is that PLFs and test results are now being checked to 50%, whereas before it was 30% as a target and often less in reality. The documentation is being scrutinised in more detail and more Fixed Penalty Notices are being written out, which takes a lot of time and can tie down multiple staff. It was like this for a bit after PLFs were brought in, it found its own level in due course.

If you consider a government work space to be unsafe, you can raise a concern via the HSE website.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 2:46 am
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Originally Posted by Scots_Al View Post
Does sound pretty poor, but equally sounds like there are more people travelling than essential.
There are a wide range of reasons for people to travel. Some people had to clear immigration because their flights were changed - one guy was traveling ARN-LHR-DXB and his ARN-LHR on sat was cancelled so he needed to overnight in London. Iím traveling for work (and certainly not by choice). The two guys next to me were coming back from working on an engineering project.

Just because some people can work from home doesnít mean everyone can. There are still thousands of people who live in one place and work in another and if our employers want us to work we have little choice.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 2:49 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
The background to this is that PLFs and test results are now being checked to 50%, whereas before it was 30% as a target and often less in reality. The documentation is being scrutinised in more detail and more Fixed Penalty Notices are being written out, which takes a lot of time and can tie down multiple staff. It was like this for a bit after PLFs were brought in, it found its own level in due course.

If you consider a government work space to be unsafe, you can raise a concern via the HSE website.
FPNs for non compliant test results and incorrect PLFs? Or other reasons?
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Old Jan 23, 21, 2:49 am
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Originally Posted by citiflyerUK View Post

Just because some people can work from home doesnít mean everyone can. There are still thousands of people who live in one place and work in another and if our employers want us to work we have little choice.
Exactly. The amount of people that think essential travel is forbidden = everyone that is travelling is a criminal is baffling. For every Dubai-stagrammer there's probably 100 people who rather were at home but had to travel.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 2:53 am
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Originally Posted by KSVVZ2015 View Post
FPNs for non compliant test results and incorrect PLFs? Or other reasons?
No FPN or test results at all, and travelling outside Covid regulations (e.g. UK holiday makers, mixed household travel), though the police handle the latter if the preson is a UK resident.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 2:56 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
No FPN or test results at all, and travelling outside Covid regulations (e.g. UK holiday makers, mixed household travel), though the police handle the latter if the preson is a UK resident.
interesting. I would have thought any UK holiday makers would be smart enough to come up with a cover story. Maybe harder with the entire family in tow but still...
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Old Jan 23, 21, 3:29 am
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Originally Posted by KSVVZ2015 View Post
interesting. I would have thought any UK holiday makers would be smart enough to come up with a cover story. Maybe harder with the entire family in tow but still...
I wouldnít describe any aspect of that as smart tbh. This isnít a game to see how you can still go on holiday and get back in without being spotted.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 3:34 am
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2 words. Global Britain
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Old Jan 23, 21, 3:42 am
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
I wouldnít describe any aspect of that as smart tbh. This isnít a game to see how you can still go on holiday and get back in without being spotted.
Right but we are talking about the people who did it in the first place

point being - if you go on holiday in the first place seems like most in that position would be willing to come up with a fake reason. Based on reports it would seem for UK residents, any plausible reason will be accepted absent evidence to the contrary
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Old Jan 23, 21, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by AAtticus View Post
Exactly. The amount of people that think essential travel is forbidden = everyone that is travelling is a criminal is baffling. For every Dubai-stagrammer there's probably 100 people who rather were at home but had to travel.
Thereís essential travel and thereís essential travel.

I wonder if the same amount of essential travel would be undertaken if people were escorted to a UK quarantine hotel Far East/New Zealand style at their own cost . The confines of a hotel room Iím sure would see projects reviewed.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 3:54 am
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I arrived at LHR T5 yesterday from Madrid at about 1730.

There were no queues. The e-gates were closed so we needed to go to join the UK/EU queue. I was in business and first off the plane so the queue was minimal.

My PLF was checked and my COVID test was scanned in detail with the officer checking specific details.

So the OP was have been unlucky in arriving at a busy time, though of course the service was unacceptable.

I have already been contacted by phone to check I am self-isolating (which I am and it is sensible for them to check)
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Old Jan 23, 21, 3:55 am
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Originally Posted by KSVVZ2015 View Post
Right but we are talking about the people who did it in the first place

point being - if you go on holiday in the first place seems like most in that position would be willing to come up with a fake reason. Based on reports it would seem for UK residents, any plausible reason will be accepted absent evidence to the contrary
And I guess this is partly why we are moving to increased enforcement and enforced hotel quarantine instead.
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Old Jan 23, 21, 4:00 am
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Originally Posted by KeaneJohn View Post
Thereís essential travel and thereís essential travel.

I wonder if the same amount of essential travel would be undertaken if people were escorted to a UK quarantine hotel Far East/New Zealand style at their own cost . The confines of a hotel room Iím sure would see projects reviewed.
I can't comment on other people's behaviour but I'm about to head into my 4th quarantaine on arrival in a hotel since March 2020. So about 2 months spent in a hotel without being able to go out paid for by our company. Would I rather have remained at home? Yes, was it essential, yes also.
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