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Heathrow immigration - hurry up and wait

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I've had the joy :-< of passing through Heathrow a few times in the past couple of months, and wanted to mention that ongoing staffing issues with the UK Border Agency have led to horrendous queues for immigration/passport control at LHR. I've gone through both Terminal 3 and Terminal 5 on arrivals, and each time it's taken well over an hour to get to the UKBA inspectors.

I've been going through the non-EU passport holders' lines, but looking over at the EU lines it's been about the same. It's gotten bad enough that the head of BA is speaking out, as have numerous others. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/transport/end-border-chaos-airline-boss-willie-walsh-tells-pm-7681626.html

It augurs poorly for the immense crowds expected to visit Britain for the Olympics, now less than 100 days in the future. On one of my passes last week I stood in line a couple of people back from a person who I gathered works for the IOC, on her way to a meeting with her London Organiz/sing Committee counterparts. She was phoning from the queue saying she was going to miss her meeting with them. I couldn't hear the other side of the conversation (my eavesdropping skills are, sadly, lacking) but it was clear that notes were being taken and the outrage was general. I confess I experienced a moment of Schadenfreude, but not enough to make my feet hurt less.

So a note to travelers to Heathrow for the next few weeks: budget extra time for immigration, and by all means use the loo before you join the queue. 'Nuff said.

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