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Author Topic: Avoid Heathrow Airport in London UK at all costs  (Read 67003 times)
marty m
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« on: June 09, 2007, 03:13:55 PM »
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DO NOT FLY TO HEATHROW AIRPORT IF YOU MUST USE TWO CARRY-ON BAGS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL.

HEATHROW AIRPORT POLICE WILL STOP YOU FROM BOARDING OR EVEN TRANSFERRING FROM ONE FLIGHT TO ANOTHER IF YOU HAVE TWO CARRY-ON BAGS, EVEN IF THE OTHER IS A SMALL PURSE OR SMALL BAG.

DO NOT FLY ON BRITISH AIRWAYS IF THEY CONNECT THROUGH HEATHROW.  

DO NOT INCLUDE LONDON ON ANY ITINERARY TO VISIT EUROPE IF THE ONLY CONVENIENT AIRPORT IS HEATHROW -- NOT IF YOU MUST USE TWO CARRY ON BAGS.


A later edit -- this apparently applies at all UK airports not just Heathrow.  It is a uniform UK restriction for all airlines and all airports.  Welcome to the friendly skies in England.

There are other places to visit.  Dealing with the zealous British police at Heathrow isn't worth a visit to England.  Instead visit a country that actually encourages tourism by following sensible policies at their largest international airports -- and that includes every other airport in Europe (based on what European business travelers told me) and probably the world.

(I suspect that British Airways encourages this policy to cut down on carry-on bags even though they deny it.  They richly deserve the loss of business, as does every hotel and tourist establishment in London, as long as Heathrow enforces this policy.)

A backpack with a camera and lens, and a briefcase with a laptop PC or even a purse will count as two carry-on bags.  Any photographer or tourist travelling to more than one European country and who must take two carry-on bags has no choice but to avoid London and if necessary the United Kingdom if Heathrow is the only convenient airport.  (As an advanced amateur photographer I must carry one backpack with camera bodies and lenses, and a briefcase with a laptop for the downloading of photos.)

The Heathrow police run all passengers transferring planes, as well as flights originating at Heathrow, through a single file gauntlet. Numerous Heathrow police, on both sides of the single file line, are posted for ONLY one purpose -- to stop passengers with two carry on bags, no matter how small, and pull them out of the line.  

I witnessed over a dozen passengers pulled out of line in a ten minute period who had been allowed to board their first flight at another airport with two carry-on bags. None of those passengers had any reason to anticipate this problem at Heathrow since all other airports follow a two carry-on policy.

Any passenger pulled out of the line by the Heathrow police must exit by standing in the long British custom line, then wait in another line at their airline to check the second bag, and then must pass back through airport security.  I went through the above unbelievable hassle and only made by flight because it was late.

I must give the British Heathrow police full credit for being more zealous and unyielding than the worst cops in any American city.  The Heathrow airport police pulled old ladies with a small carry-on and a purse out of the line.  I literally mean old ladies.   Mayor Rizzo or Mayor Daly's police would be more reasonable by comparison.

When I flew out of Berlin on Lufthansa, and transferred to United in Frankfurt, the airport police sent me right through with two carry-on bags.  In the last six months I have had two carry-on bags when flying out of numerous US airports, on both domestic and international flights, as well as the airports in Tokyo and Beijing.  Other business travelers who fly around the world said that this only happens at Heathrow.

Finally it should be noted that this policy has nothing to do with stopping crime or terrorism. If that was the case it would be universally applied across Europe and the U.S.  I'm no expert on terrorism but something dangerous can just as easily be carried in the largest legal carry-on as in two small carry on bags such as a backpack and a briefcase.  And all carry on bags are x-rayed in any event.

Other airlines, airports and business travelers have told me that Heathrow is notorious and is probably already impacting tourism to Britain.

AVOID HEATHROW, AND THE UK IF THAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE, AS A TOURIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER.

AND AVOID LONDON HOTELS, AND TOURISM IN LONDON, IF THAT MEANS USING HEATHROW.

IT JUST ISN'T WORTH IT.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2007, 09:20:38 PM by marty m » Logged
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2007, 04:31:31 PM »
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We went through Heathrow a couple of months ago and were surprised by the same situation.  It's not *that* bad if you plan for it (get one larger plastic bag to put both your small carry-on and camera bag in while you're in Heathrow, for example).  We ended up quickly stuffing my camera bag in my spouse's carry-on, while he wore five shirts and and two pairs of pants through security to make room for it (and put them back once we were through security).

I was guessing that the reason behind it all is that the carry-on screening stations are overburdened and undermanned, and someone decided that everyone would get through security faster if they have a fewer number of carry-ons.  It's the only rational reason I can think of (and makes some small amount of sense).  However, they really should warn you ahead of time, instead of when you're rushing to make a connection.  Or, better yet, get enough security people and stations so they don't have to do this...

It's not the worst airport, though.  I'll go through Heathrow, but never through De Gaulle.    Refusing to use Heathrow because of this new policy seems overkill to me; just learn to pack light and be ready for it.

I can certainly understand being annoyed by this change in policy when it's sprung on you without warning, though (having been there).

Lisa
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 04:33:06 PM by nniko » Logged

marty m
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2007, 02:32:01 PM »
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We ended up quickly stuffing my camera bag in my spouse's carry-on, while he wore five shirts and and two pairs of pants through security to make room for it (and put them back once we were through security).
Yes, that is possible, if you can combine carry-on bags.  There were some people who were able to do that.  But if you have a backpack filled with camera gear, and a briefcase with a laptop, then that is not possible.  I had to check the laptop.  

Have you ever watched the guys who THROW checked luggage onto planes?  That is what I presume happened to my laptop.  Fortunately it was not broken -- or stolen.

My original posting was worded quite carefully.  If you must use two carry-ons, then avoid Heathrow at all costs.  Because you can't use two carry on bags -- not at that airport.

If you flying on to another country, there are other airlines besides British Airways, and there are other airports to connect through.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 02:32:41 PM by marty m » Logged
marty m
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2007, 03:21:22 PM »
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I'll go through Heathrow, but never through De Gaulle.    
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In my response, I forgot to ask, what is wrong with De Gaulle?  Never flown through it, but it would be good to know why we should avoid it.
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peter.doerrie
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2007, 03:47:19 PM »
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I havent traveled via Charles de Gaulle myself, but my mother has twice and they lost her luggage there twice...

As I live in Germany and therefore meet people who traveled via CdG frequently, I often hear those kinds of stories. They must be quite a messy bunch, the frenchmen
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2007, 04:11:18 PM »
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In my response, I forgot to ask, what is wrong with De Gaulle? Never flown through it, but it would be good to know why we should avoid it.

The last time I tried to fly through there, we had a 3-1/2 hour connection to make, and made it barely in time only because we could take the much shorter business-class check-in line (the economy line was waaay out the building doors).  We waited well over a half hour for the bus connecting the two terminals we were transferring between, when they were supposed to be running at least every ten minutes.  Then the terminal we were in (I believe it was the main international terminal) had huge, huge lines with people crowded everywhere, including being dumped by escalators at places that were already packed full (not good!), and we had to check in again, go through security, and go through customs in these enormous lines.  The lines took over two hours total, all in cattle-car crowded conditions with desperate people crowded together and pushing.  Different people in different places checked our passports three times, and when we asked what was going on, we were told, "This is normal" (though I didnt't believe it).

A previous time my spouse flew through there, he had a few minutes in the gate area before his flight, and decided to wander around the terminal.  He went up one of the scenic glassed-in escalators to another level before realizing that it was a one-way path (it wasn't obvious), and it took him a very nervous several minutes to dash about trying a find the way back to his gate before his flight boarded.   He also complained that he was on the wrong side of a barrier from his gate that they weren't allowing anyone through, despite the fact that a person could get to *both* sides of the barrier (!), and he had to circle all the way back around the terminal to get to the right side (again, worrying he would miss his boarding).

In short, the transfer times are sometimes very lengthy, nerve-wracking and unreliable, and it's easy to get yourself into trouble trying to get to your gate in a timely fashion.

(It also appears more grimy and less good condition than most other major Western & Northern European airports, or at least was the last couple of times I've flown through.  I was last there about four or five years ago, and have successfully avoided it since.  In case you're wondering what a *good* European airport is, Frankfurt is pretty decent.)

Lisa
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 04:14:18 PM by nniko » Logged

marty m
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2007, 04:43:25 PM »
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The last time I tried to fly through there, we had a 3-1/2 hour connection to make, and made it barely in time only because we could take the much shorter business-class check-in line (the economy line was waaay out the building doors).  We waited well over a half hour for the bus connecting the two terminals we were transferring between, when they were supposed to be running at least every ten minutes.  Then the terminal we were in (I believe it was the main international terminal) had huge, huge lines with people crowded everywhere, including being dumped by escalators at places that were already packed full (not good!), and we had to check in again, go through security, and go through customs in these enormous lines.  The lines took over two hours total, all in cattle-car crowded conditions with desperate people crowded together and pushing.  Different people in different places checked our passports three times, and when we asked what was going on, we were told, "This is normal" (though I didnt't believe it).

A previous time my spouse flew through there, he had a few minutes in the gate area before his flight, and decided to wander around the terminal.  He went up one of the scenic glassed-in escalators to another level before realizing that it was a one-way path (it wasn't obvious), and it took him a very nervous several minutes to dash about trying a find the way back to his gate before his flight boarded.   He also complained that he was on the wrong side of a barrier from his gate that they weren't allowing anyone through, despite the fact that a person could get to *both* sides of the barrier (!), and he had to circle all the way back around the terminal to get to the right side (again, worrying he would miss his boarding).

In short, the transfer times are sometimes very lengthy, nerve-wracking and unreliable, and it's easy to get yourself into trouble trying to get to your gate in a timely fashion.

(It also appears more grimy and less good condition than most other major Western & Northern European airports, or at least was the last couple of times I've flown through.  I was last there about four or five years ago, and have successfully avoided it since.  In case you're wondering what a *good* European airport is, Frankfurt is pretty decent.)

Lisa
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Even I have to admit that Heathrow was much better than that, just so long as you have only one carry-on bag.  But note that I base that on only one experience with the airport.
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mahleu
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2007, 02:44:47 AM »
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They richly deserve the loss of business, as does every hotel and tourist establishment in London
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That seems a touch unfair considering they have nothing to do with what the airports do.
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2007, 05:00:39 AM »
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Have any of you complaining souls forgotten about terrorism? No, perhaps it doesn´t happen in Muskogee, USA but it sure as hell does in the good old UK!

Old ladies pulled out of line: right, no old lady would dream of carrying a parcel on behalf of that sweet, kind young man who helped her with her luggage; no veiled damsel would think of secreting a vial of high explosive inside herself. Come alive, folks, this is the era of heartless violence against anyone who is different, believes in a different god or simply doesn´t believe in anything much at all.

I am only too happy to put up with security if it means I have a chance of arriving at my destination in one piece. If that means inconvenience for photographers then so be it. I have lived with X-Ray fogged film (despite claims it can´t happen) and lost professional pics, but I am around to try another day! Or to shoot at home, or to do it digitally or even to take up drawing.

Better an airport that takes the threats seriously than one which doesn´t.

Live in peace - Rob C
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John Camp
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2007, 09:18:20 AM »
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Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is pretty good. The last time I went through CDG in Paris, two years ago, it was crowded but not really a problem -- maybe I was lucky. One thing you never want to do is change money there...I don't know why it is, but British minor officialdom (customs, security) has always been among the rudest, which seems odd, since the British are usually so polite. There might be something to the proposition that the British airports just don't have the equipment -- just like the London underground doesn't get the equipment it needs. Frankfurt is good, Munich and Budapest work because they are quite small...Rome is screwed up but you expect that...Tel Aviv is cold but efficient, Cairo chaotic. I find American airports reasonably friendly and efficient compared to European airports,  though they sometimes expect you to make ridiculously long walks.

I don't intend to start a political argument here, but I think one difference might be that European airports are dominated by government functionaries, who treat travelers as people to be governed and directed (and as a pain in their ass), while American airports are dominated by businesses, which have more of a tendency to treat people as customers who they'd like to return. That may be why among European airports I like Schiphol -- it's almost like a shopping center, with minimal bureaucracy.

JC
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peter.doerrie
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2007, 10:06:19 AM »
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Have any of you complaining souls forgotten about terrorism? No, perhaps it doesn´t happen in Muskogee, USA but it sure as hell does in the good old UK!

Old ladies pulled out of line: right, no old lady would dream of carrying a parcel on behalf of that sweet, kind young man who helped her with her luggage; no veiled damsel would think of secreting a vial of high explosive inside herself. Come alive, folks, this is the era of heartless violence against anyone who is different, believes in a different god or simply doesn´t believe in anything much at all.

I am only too happy to put up with security if it means I have a chance of arriving at my destination in one piece. If that means inconvenience for photographers then so be it. I have lived with X-Ray fogged film (despite claims it can´t happen) and lost professional pics, but I am around to try another day! Or to shoot at home, or to do it digitally or even to take up drawing.

Better an airport that takes the threats seriously than one which doesn´t.

Live in peace - Rob C
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I cant see how somebody carrying two bags is more dangerous than somebody carrying one bag... I would second the idea that they want to stop the people from overcrowding the head compardments of the planes - quite a danger too, but not a terroristic one

Peter
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2007, 10:31:00 AM »
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I am only too happy to put up with security if it means I have a chance of arriving at my destination in one piece. If that means inconvenience for photographers then so be it.

You haven't been reading the posts closely enough, Rob.  We're not complaining about security per se, we're complaining about security rules that noone tells you about until they bite you, that are peculiar to one particular airport, rules that have nothing to do with increased security.  The lack of advance warning, leaving one suddenly stuck with little choice except to check camera gear or a purse (if one doesn't figure out a valid way around the rules fast enough like we did), is the main offense here.

Lisa
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2007, 11:19:32 AM »
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You haven't been reading the posts closely enough, Rob.  We're not complaining about security per se, we're complaining about security rules that noone tells you about until they bite you, that are peculiar to one particular airport, rules that have nothing to do with increased security.  The lack of advance warning, leaving one suddenly stuck with little choice except to check camera gear or a purse (if one doesn't figure out a valid way around the rules fast enough like we did), is the main offense here.

Lisa
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Ah Lisa - like John Camp I have no wish to start or further political argument, suffice to say that the entire aircraft problem of one bag, two bags or three bags full is ALL about security. I remember very well flying in the early 50s when there was no security at all, and neither was there risk other than from metal fatigue which made some aircraft fall out of the sky.

We live in an era where political correctness plays totally into the hands of the criminal, something which in my kinder moments I feel is not what was intended; consequently, the younger group of traveller today believes two things: that he should be able to do exactly as he wishes; that all attempts to make life safer or more fair is an attack on supposed civil liberties.

The checking in times have grown longer and these would be even worse were the security people forced to examine even more hand luggage than they have to cope with already; the limited carry aboard idea is to force more stuff to be booked ´not wanted on voyage´, if I may make an arcane reference to the elegant days of the steamship. That some people want to encumber themselves with more bags than are essential (open to argument) does not mean that they should be granted that right. Do you have memories of tourist air flights, where desperate people filled the available space with even more desperate bottles and packages of duty-free goods? A manifestation of both stupidy and greed.

So, embrace the security which limits in-flight access to your toys and live to fly another day.

Rob C
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 11:21:25 AM by Rob C » Logged

Khurram
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2007, 11:45:14 AM »
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Ah Lisa - like John Camp I have no wish to start or further political argument, suffice to say that the entire aircraft problem of one bag, two bags or three bags full is ALL about security. I remember very well flying in the early 50s when there was no security at all, and neither was there risk other than from metal fatigue which made some aircraft fall out of the sky.

We live in an era where political correctness plays totally into the hands of the criminal, something which in my kinder moments I feel is not what was intended; consequently, the younger group of traveller today believes two things: that he should be able to do exactly as he wishes; that all attempts to make life safer or more fair is an attack on supposed civil liberties.

The checking in times have grown longer and these would be even worse were the security people forced to examine even more hand luggage than they have to cope with already; the limited carry aboard idea is to force more stuff to be booked ´not wanted on voyage´, if I may make an arcane reference to the elegant days of the steamship. That some people want to encumber themselves with more bags than are essential (open to argument) does not mean that they should be granted that right. Do you have memories of tourist air flights, where desperate people filled the available space with even more desperate bottles and packages of duty-free goods? A manifestation of both stupidy and greed.

So, embrace the security which limits in-flight access to your toys and live to fly another day.

Rob C
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If airlines want to force passengers to check-in more luggage, they should also be willing to accept greater liablility for checked-in luggage.  A limit of $1500 which excludes anything that is deemed fragile (i.e. camera gear) for checked baggage is a joke.  I would have no problem buying a pelican case and checking it in - IF AND ONLY IF, the airlines accepted complete liablility of its loss or damage.
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2007, 12:35:09 PM »
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If airlines want to force passengers to check-in more luggage, they should also be willing to accept greater liablility for checked-in luggage.  A limit of $1500 which excludes anything that is deemed fragile (i.e. camera gear) for checked baggage is a joke.  I would have no problem buying a pelican case and checking it in - IF AND ONLY IF, the airlines accepted complete liablility of its loss or damage.
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With that sentiment I have no quarrel other than that there are no free lunches and so, like it or not, the traveller would still end up paying for the additional compensation. Let´s face it, all airlines are in a hell of an economic condition and the wonder is that they can manage their debt well enough to continue flying.

Baggage handlers are not, by job and inclination, going to be amongst the most careful people on Earth. It´s a wonder anything gets through without being stolen, smashed by accident or on purpose. Travel often enough and you will lose any expectations of reliability, speed or service. The days of flight being in any way up-market have long gone; even poor old Concorde bit the dust at the seat prices that were possible in its day; that it was an accident just waiting to happen was another aspect altogether.

In the end, it all comes down to the fact that man is a s.o.b willing and more than able to screw up the world for everyone else. That being so, we have to live with these later quirks of the human condition and get on with making the best of a shoddy deal.

Rob C
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2007, 03:00:58 PM »
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Ah Lisa - like John Camp I have no wish to start or further political argument, suffice to say that the entire aircraft problem of one bag, two bags or three bags full is ALL about security. I remember very well flying in the early 50s when there was no security at all, and neither was there risk other than from metal fatigue which made some aircraft fall out of the sky.

We live in an era where political correctness plays totally into the hands of the criminal, something which in my kinder moments I feel is not what was intended; consequently, the younger group of traveller today believes two things: that he should be able to do exactly as he wishes; that all attempts to make life safer or more fair is an attack on supposed civil liberties.

The checking in times have grown longer and these would be even worse were the security people forced to examine even more hand luggage than they have to cope with already; the limited carry aboard idea is to force more stuff to be booked ´not wanted on voyage´, if I may make an arcane reference to the elegant days of the steamship. That some people want to encumber themselves with more bags than are essential (open to argument) does not mean that they should be granted that right. Do you have memories of tourist air flights, where desperate people filled the available space with even more desperate bottles and packages of duty-free goods? A manifestation of both stupidy and greed.

So, embrace the security which limits in-flight access to your toys and live to fly another day.

Rob C
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You're still missing the point, Rob. Lisa spelled it out very clearly, if you would care to read her post. No one in this thread has denied the need for security. And no one has given a good reason why (1) security rules at Heathrow are out of kilter with those of other civilized airports, and (2) even if there are special security needs at Heathrow, no one has explained why the rules need to be kept secret until the passenger can't do anything about it. To my mind, the increased confusion is unlikely to increase security.
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2007, 06:37:24 PM »
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no one has explained why the rules need to be kept secret until the passenger can't do anything about it.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=122249\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Actually that's not true. If you go to Heathrow Airport website, it is very easy to find the following information:

Hand baggage restrictions
Passengers are allowed to carry ONE item of hand baggage, no larger than:

    *
      56 centimetres tall (approximately 22 inches)
    *
      45 centimetres wide (approximately 17.7 inches)
    *
      25 centimetres deep (approximately 10 inches)

through the airport security search point. Please note, this is the maximum bag size allowed through security. Smaller bag sizes may apply depending on which airline you travel with.We therefore advise you to contact your airline.


The information is there...you just need to look for it. Maybe airlines should tell passengers about the rules...but it sure isn't the airport's responsability.

I've been in over 20 countries, many more airports, several times at Heathrow and don't find it worse than the other european airports I have been to.
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2007, 07:16:56 PM »
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I don't intend to start a political argument here, but I think one difference might be that European airports are dominated by government functionaries, who treat travelers as people to be governed and directed (and as a pain in their ass), while American airports are dominated by businesses, which have more of a tendency to treat people as customers who they'd like to return. That may be why among European airports I like Schiphol -- it's almost like a shopping center, with minimal bureaucracy.

JC
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That's simply not true as well. You're probably speaking about American airports on a perspective of a US citizen. Well, let me tell you a little story about my last connection at an American airport.

Last January, on my way to Costa Rica, I had a connection flight in Miami. I was almost an hour on a line to be fingerprinted. Ohh...I wasn't even going to stay in the US, as I told you. My stay in Miami was like 2 hours. This was around 10 PM local, after a flight from Lisbon to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Miami. By the way...Portuguese citizens don't even need a visa to get in the US...but still, even if I'm just passing by, I still need to be on a line to be fingerprinted. Are you fingerprinted at european airports? I guess not. After the fingerprint, another line (this time I didn't count the time but it wasn't much less) to check the luggage...many of it hand checked. All shoes off, all coats off and a young woman yelling "DO YOU HAVE LIGHTERS? PLEASE GIVE US YOUR LIGHTERS"...something like that.

So trust me...in my experience, there are not less friendly airports in the world than american airports...at least at this time.

Sometimes we sould not talk about something we don't have total knowledge.
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2007, 10:28:59 PM »
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There is a certain amount of incorrect information here. If you fly BA from an external destination, as I did from Toronto, they ask how many carry-on items you have and they ask whether you are transiting through Heathrow, and they tell you why they are asking. If you are staying in England, you are allowed to carry two items because North American rules apply. If you are transiting through a UK airport, and definitly when you leave a UK airport, then European rules apply and the one bag limit is enforced. They do tell passengers this on embarking from wherever - if they don't they are being remiss. Anyhow, it is on their website.

This carry-on rule is Europe-wide. It is not limited to BA and England. If you check the history of this new system, you will see that it was decided by the European Union in consultation with the airlines and the security people amongst all member states. Every member of the European union is expected to enforce this carry-on baggage regime. Implementation of course will vary over time and place - this is not unusual. But sooner or later all will comply, or the system will be changed.

The ostensible reason why this is happening is because for the longest time the airlines have been trying to limit carry-on baggage. It is a huge nuissance for them. With the added security arrangements as a result of the recent intelligence about planned co-ordinated terror attacks, the onus on the security people to search carry-on bags became very heavy. Those airports simply don't have either the space (because of duty free shopping which pays rent) or the people (which costs salaries) to handle this efficiently, therefore reducing the carry-on allowance was the option they selected to keep the security operations manageable and costs down. Remember also oil prices have increased alot, so the less weight they need to carry, the less they pay for fuel.

BA has also vastly reduced the checked baggage allowance,s and imposed huge penalties for exceeding the reduced new limit, hence between this new policy and the reduced carry on allowance, anyone who wants to travel outside these minimalist limits will pay through the nose. This has nothing to do with security - it is completely commercial - a fare increase through the back door to pay for rising costs. Not all airlines in Europe have done likewise for checked baggage, but they are all wathcing the BA experience with keen interest, so there could be more widespread grief to come.

What is most unsatisfactory about all this is that they have not correspondingly improved the conditions for handling checked baggage, nor changed their liability exposure, hence the customer ends-up carrying all the risk and the cost. This is a real problem all airline companies traveling through Europe need to face, otherwise people who must carry more than one bag with sensitive equipment will start avoiding Europe altogether.

Heathrow also needs to drastically improve how they enforce the policy. It is inexcusable that they allow passengers beyond the check-in counter with illegal luggage and then force them through the whole queue again. Anyone experiencing this should write a letter to the Chairman of the British Airports Authority, the Chairman of BA, and copy it to all the main newspapers in the UK and abroad. This may wake them up.

As for CDG-Paris. We were through there last November. We found it more than usual a complete administrative mess in almost every conceivable respect. We ran into a staff member of Air France incapable of using their own reservation system, their baggage handling is a total disaster (they lost our bags for two days), their electronic notification system for flight gates often leaves out your flight and gate (as happened with ours), and as usual the airport is dirty, the signage is poor, it is vastly over-crowded, some of the booths of the immigration service are dimly lit and cramped, so they can lose documents placed in front of them causing near panic (happened to us) - really a place to avoid if at all possible. To their credit, when I outlined all of this to Jean-Cyril Spinetta, the CEO of Air France (yes, you get action by starting at the top), several months later I received a letter apologizing for the inconvenience and a credit of 5000 Frequence Plus points. So at least they aren't insensititive.

These are not good times for travelling photographers with substantial gear. Something needs to be done to sensitize the European policy makers at the level of the E.U. about how all of this is not suitable and therefore not acceptable. One can make photographs in many parts of the world other than Europe, and this needs to be impressed upon them - it is a big negative for their photographic tourist industries. Maybe they care, maybe it is beneath the radar screen - we won't know until it is really put under their noses at a very high level.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2007, 11:17:50 PM »
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This carry-on rule is Europe-wide. It is not limited to BA and England. If you check the history of this new system, you will see that it was decided by the European Union in consultation with the airlines and the security people amongst all member states. Every member of the European union is expected to enforce this carry-on baggage regime. Implementation of course will vary over time and place - this is not unusual. But sooner or later all will comply, or the system will be changed.

Interesting.  Other European airports on the same trip (a couple of months ago) had no problem with two carry-ons (one of them a small purse); only Heathrow.

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There is a certain amount of incorrect information here. If you fly BA from an external destination, as I did from Toronto, they ask how many carry-on items you have and they ask whether you are transiting through Heathrow, and they tell you why they are asking. If you are staying in England, you are allowed to carry two items because North American rules apply. If you are transiting through a UK airport, and definitly when you leave a UK airport, then European rules apply and the one bag limit is enforced. They do tell passengers this on embarking from wherever - if they don't they are being remiss. Anyhow, it is on their website.

The problem is, I wasn't flying BA.  I was flying a US airline that didn't have a one-bag policy and never told me that Heathrow did.  The European (non-British) airline I was connecting to in Heathrow didn't tell me either (and I *did* check their luggage policies on their web site ahead of time).  There was no way for me to get the info other than to meticulously check the web site for every single airport I'm transiting through, which seems an awful lot to ask of someone. They really aren't doing a decent job of getting the word out.

Lisa
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