Wednesday, November 30, 2011

London International Airport Arrivals Reported Smooth Despite 'Public Sector' Protests in UK

A heads-up on travel to or through Britain:

So far today, international arrivals at London-area airports are said to be running smoothly despite the biggest public sector strike in 30 years in the UK.

Most schools are closed, and some public transportation and emergency services are being disrupted in London. But, at least as of early afternoon, international air travel was not being severely affected. About two-thirds of the workforce of the customs and immigration agency were on the job, according to Agence France Presse.

The Times of London reports on its blog at about 1.30 pm London time today, "A magician employed by Gatwick airport to entertain passengers delayed by today’s strike reports sadly that the airport is flowing so smoothly he has struggled to create any interest in his tricks.

"'I’d like a crowd. I thrive on the applause, so trying to find an audience today has been more difficult than I thought it would be. People are getting their bags and moving straight on,' says Danny Hall, 28, from Mile End, East London."

That could change for the worse, though, so anyone traveling to or through the UK needs to check airline information carefully.

Here's a link to the live coverage by the Independent newspaper.

Here's the current bulletin on the Heathrow Airport site:

"UK Border Agency (UKBA) staff are undertaking industrial action today until midnight tonight. We have been working with UKBA and airlines to minimize disruption. However, arriving passengers required to pass through border agency checks may experience some delays at immigration and should therefore follow UKBA advice:

--Have travel documents/passports available and removed from wallets
--Use automatic e-passport gates (where available) if you have a biometric passport
--Ensure landing cards are fully completed and ready
--Stay in family groups.

All other passengers are advised to continue to check the status of your flight with your airline. We’re doing all we can to support affected passengers at the airport."

Here's a link to a Q&A on the border agency requirements for arrivals.


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