Madness At Passport Control

(Originally posted 2007-05-25.)

I happened to be travelling through Heathrow Terminal 2 yesterday and the day before. Two incidents that made me scratch my head, both related to Passport Control…

  • On the way out there are two Passport Control desks, just past Security. They are set a few feet apart and people can go either side of either of them. For once there was someone on duty, but only one officer. At the head of the queue is a man who asks the Passport guy “Who are you? And can you prove you are a Passport official? You could be anyone.” The debate ensues for a few minutes, with the queue getting longer. Finally the official pulls out his badge and shows the man. The man’s claim is that there were no signs up announcing this as a passport checkpoint.

    Meanwhile some other passengers go for the gaps between the desks. Finally the passport official waves everyone through the gaps.

  • On the way back in there are (as most people know) two queues: EU and non-EU. The EU queue is long and there are 4 people on duty at the head of it. There are more people on duty at the head of the non-existent non-EU queue. Nobody seems to think to let some of the EU travellers come over to the non-EU queue. Next time this happens I think I’ll try the non-EU queue and see what happens.

So this seems like chaos to me. Perhaps it’s just as well that Terminal 2 is being pulled down next year. On the front of the building is a nice sign saying so (tho’ I did already know this: A taxi driver told me last year so it must be true.) 🙂 Also on the sign is an artist’s impression of the new Terminal 2. It looks like a giant inflatable mattress without jetways. I wonder how you’ll be expected to board your plane: Bounce onto the mattress and bounce in through the open door? 🙂

Published by Martin Packer

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