Heathrow T4 – a fitting gateway to the UK?

This morning I flew into Heathrow T4 once again.  What a complete shit fight.  We arrived on time at 7.30am and I promptly marched down to the arrivals area.

Oh shit – IRIS machine is broken AGAIN.

The queue for “Other Passports” stretches as far as the eye can see.  From the immigration desks, it snaked back through the 8 or 10 queueing loops then down a long corridor back to the T1,2,3 transfer corridor.  I negotiated my way into the “Fast Track” queue which also stretched down the same corridor but only half as far.  As I stood in this painfully slow ‘Fast Track’ queue I became aware of a public announcement system highlighting the next free desk.  The ‘courtesy’ announcement was happening with considerable frequency, but it only ever announced “Desk 22”, whether that desk was free or not.

 Sixty minutes later I hit the immigration desk.  Compare this to when the IRIS machine is working and I can get from the door of the airplane to a taxi in 10 minutes.  This entire sorry episode took me 90 minutes.

I cannot wait to see how this works when London has the Olympics.  It will be a complete fucking shitfight because I am convinced that in general when it comes to executing infrastructure, the English haven’t a bloody clue.

Even though I dont agree with much that is written by Tyler Bruhle in the FT Weekend, his observations about Heathrow are spot on.  It would be an embarrassment to any country that prides itself on being a major transport hub. 

What adds insult to injury is the presumption on behalf of immigration officers (once you reach the desk), is that you would be stupid enough to want to stay here  – recession, credit cards to the max, bad schooling, ‘russian-roulette’ health care, sub-standard infrastructure, over priced everything.  Yes, sign me up!

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