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Trip report: Poland, Czech Rep., Hungary, Poland, UK

Trip report: Poland, Czech Rep., Hungary, Poland, UK

Apr 2nd, 2007, 09:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Made it home safe and sound....

Both flights experienced slight delays but nothing major. I walked into the house about 45 minutes later than anticipated.

OTOH, the UK security is becoming the real joke. I thought that TSA was bad....well? wait until you need to deal with their security. It makes for a fun and exciting day. I felt sorry for the people in economy as the queues were about an 1-2 hours long and they were making people get practically naked...(not really, but you know what I mean).

I was lucky to get "fast track security" but with only about 5 people in front of me and 3 of them were crew members who know the drill, it still took about 15-20 minutes. Then my carry on was practically ripped apart by a secondary checker because I "forgot " about a tiny spray bottle of cleaning spray for my camera lenses. It's a 1.5 oz. size bottle. At the end, the spray bottle was just "forgotten" by the checker as she was looking for "something?". Nevertheless it took about 45 minutes for me to get through this ridiculous procedure, because I had to repack everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. And this wasn't even Heathrow, it was Manchester.

Had a very nice time at the BA Terraces Lounge.

Boarded on time but UK ATC had some computer problems and had to reschedule all the flights across the big pond. It took about an extra hour to get a new routing and a release from ATC. No biggie. I'm somewhat used to this.

At first the pilots turned on some turbos and we were making great time, but unfortunately we hit some strong headwinds about half way and everything slowed down. We still arrived "almost" on time. The ORD immigration and customs was a breeze. The ORD TSA security even quicker. Got from terminal 5 to terminal 3, all the way to the end of concourse K within about 1/2 hour of deplaning.

Then my homebound flight to TPA was missing an FA. She was flying in and that flight was delayed. Fortunately they were able to find a substitue and we took off about 45 minutes late. btw, the substitue worked the F cabin and she turned out to be fantastic. Could not have asked for better service.

That's it. My annual month long trip is all done with. I still have another part of the ticket to use. I will be visiting some friends in San Francisco in June on the same ticket.

My new gf looked beautiful at the top of the stairs last night. I was REALLY HAPPY to get home!

AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 641
A very enjoyable report. Thanks.

What was it about the security check in the UK that you disliked? We go through Heathrow next month, and your report has me concerned. How much time should we allow?

Woody is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 02:30 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
It seems to me that UK is taking the security issue to a much higher level. In comparison, TSA seems like it should be the poster child for airport security procedures. I still don't like what they are trying to do with the CAPPS program but I really never had a problem with the physical security. In today's world it's needed.

If you are flying to US or Canada, you will have to be interviewed by an airline security person before you can check in. Obviously if flying coach then there will be longer queues just for the interview.

Depending on the time of the day the queues for the actual security check may also be very long as witnessed by me at Manchester. I can't imagine Heathrow being any better, possibly worst.

DO NOt take ANY liquid bottle with you and and forget to declare it. At that point it's too late. As I said, I had a very small spray bottle of lens cleaner in my camera bag which I forgot to declare and I was subjected to a full check with EVERYTHING in my carry on taken out. Ridiculous. They saw nothing else on the x-ray screen in the small suitcase to raise any more suspicions, yet they kept on digging.

Ironically, while the spray bottle was suppose to be confiscated (I did not declare it before the x-ray), it was "forgotten" and left in the case.

Go figure.

If flying economy and if you want to relax for at least 1/2 hour before boarding once you are through all these procedures, maybe to grab a bite or shop in duty free, I would suggest about 2.5 hours just to be on the safe side. And you may also be subjected to a random search at the gate. The same security agents that did the interview will pull out some random number of people to look through their carry on. There really is no formula anymore. It's really hard to predict.

In Chicago I went through immigration, collected my luggage, customs, rechecked my luggage, changed terminals, got through security in a span of about 1/2 hour.

Yet, last June or July coming back from Osaka through Dallas I was subjected to secondary customs and long lines at the TSA security so the whole process took about 1.5 hours. I had time for one quick drink at the Admirals Club before I needed to go to the connecting gate. I was planning on showering at the club after this long flight but customs and TSA made sure I wouldn't.

Have a good trip!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 641
AA -- Thanks for the info!

Woody is offline  
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