(Today, there’s a general strike of public employees in the UK and fears have been reported that as a result of Border Control staff being on strike, waits at Heathrow could be up to 12 hours. We were already booked on a BA flight scheduled to arrive at Heathrow at 8.30am on the morning of the strike)
As we dropped off our bags at Logan Airport, the BA clerk asked if we’d like to change to an earlier flight. We hummed for the shortest of times before declining the kind thought – after all, it’s a quicker journey on a 747 and we had already secured our favourite seats.
But of course, we were a little anxious about what might await us at Heathrow and no amount of reasoning that we are registered IRIS users, could have gone “Fast Track” through immigration and have both also got scannable passports too could save us from the worry that we simply didn’t know how it would be. Not only that, but neither did anyone else! So, we settled in for the five and a half hours sleep that’s the journey home and were happy to fly over our little corner of the world around 7.30am this morning, as we were finishing our breakfast and preparing to land.
At 8am, we walked off the plane to be greeted by a posse of smiling people wearing bright purple T shirts giving clear directions of where to go for connecting flights or to passport control. Everyone was steered into clearly designated channels right from the start and whoever had been out with those black poles and webbing barriers had done a great job. We walked past crates marked “Passenger Welfare” containing apples, KitKats and other snacks – everything had been prepared ready, though thankfully, not a bit of it was needed.
When we arrived in the immigration hall we gasped…it was empty! Every passport control desk was staffed and we all sailed right through. We used the IRIS machine as usual, but none of those scanning their own passport nor the others going through the regular check had to wait.
No emergency KitKats for us then.
Down in the baggage reclaim it was a similar story. Staff were on hand to offload the luggage as it arrived, to avoid the chance of it piling up as the owners were delayed earlier in the system. But of course, with no delays, we simply walked up and picked up our suitcases already there and waiting for us and wheeled through the Customs post and out to our waiting car.
At 8.30am we were on the motorway.