BRITISH Airways has publicly slated Heathrow for the lengthy queues passengers face at passport control.
The airline said that some passengers were facing queues of up to two and a half hours in a “sea of people” – and that it’s painting a negative image of the nation as a global country.
The Evening Standard reported that offical targets for getting people through immigration had been missed and that recent monthly figures showed that 70,000 people had been made to wait too long.
Targets from the Home Office are for Brits and others from the European Economic Area to get through immigration within 25 minutes, with the rest of the world getting through in 45 minutes.
A lack of UK Border staff members was blamed, as well as e-gate machines being closed, which are meant to make immigration a speedier process. The airline added that the UK faces a “summer of misery” at the airport unless things change.
Social media has been awash with comments from users who have faced lengthy queues at Heathrow.
‘monster’ queues at Heathrow terminal 4 immigration. One hour in the line not even get me close to the middle of the queue. Is this how London welcomes guests? pic.twitter.com/gQtf2hPHxF
— Ewa D (@solo1666) June 18, 2018
@Heathrow ridiculously long queues in ‘fast track’ are becoming an issue on a daily basis. This needs to be resolved!
— Ness (@BitterNessx) June 20, 2018
— Itsmyway (@Itsmyway6) June 19, 2018
British Airways has asked the Home Office to look at the issue before peak holiday time in July and August.
A statement from the airline shared with the Evening Standard reads: “Visitors flying to the UK, and Brits flying home, all deserve better.
“It is totally unacceptable that returning families and visitors regularly face huge queues and a sea of people due to inadequately staffed desks and gates in the immigration hall.
“We understand the importance of policing our borders but what is the cost to our economy of putting off business travellers who frequently have to endure queues of two hours or more?”
It continued: “The UK needs to show it’s open to the world but the figures show that the queues are getting worse not better.
“We’re urging the Government to take urgent action to prevent a summer of misery for thousands of travellers. Visitors flying to the UK, and Britons flying home, deserve better.”