Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stansted passport queues set to return

UPDATE:  18th November.  Unfortunately the predicted long queues at Stansted passport control are indeed starting to become reality.

I have come through twice in the last week and both times there were large queues.  Each time was late at night and the queues, while not long enough to get in the newspapers like earlier in the year, were extensive (and annoying) for a quiet day in November (hardly peak season).

Last night there were not that many passengers but still long queues because they only had two desks open which confirms the suspicion that they are cutting back on staff numbers.

On a final note of discontent, I tried to use the automatic passport control gates and, on both occasions, something went wrong with the machine reader and I had to go through the manned controls.   Lots of other people seemed to be having the same problem with this technology which is presumably "the future" for passport control.

Original article:

I regularly pass through Stansted, coming back and forth from Spain, and this Summer have been pleasantly surprised by the lack of serious queues at passport control.

But enjoy the speedy passage through immigration while you can - it may not last.

According to a chatty immigration officer I spoke with last week the queues are set to return as early as this month.

She explained that the Summer's surprisingly short queues were down to extra staff being drafted in by the UK Border Force when things got out of hand in the Spring and made some awkward headlines:  Long passport queues unacceptable.

The extra staff, some of which were drafted in from other parts of the UK Border Force, are said to be reassigned back to their normal roles which will leave the queues to mushroom again.  I hope not as I have a lot of flights planned including a return through Stansted on Sunday night.  We'll see.

Similar reports of forthcoming queues at Heathrow:

From our website:  Spanish Tax Services

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