Virgin Atlantic Gives Snacks to Flyers Waiting in LHR Misery
The airline has 23 international flights arrive at LHR each day. The airline says it has seen the number of US passengers increase by 20%. Virgin Atlantic hopes its "Greet and Treat" trolly will extend a "warm welcome" as passengers wait in the two-hour immigration queues, however, passengers are still expressing their frustrations.
The UK Border Force has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to process at least 95% of passengers visiting from outside the EU through immigration within 45 minutes — only one day in July met this target. So far, the longest wait time non-EU passengers have experienced has been two hours and 38 minutes, according to Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin's Cheif Executive Officer Craig Kreeger said the airline is doing what it can to help its passengers, but ultimately it's up to the UK Border Force to solve this issue.
“We all agree that security and safety at our airports is vital and remains our top priority, but other countries are managing their borders more effectively," Kreeger said in a recent blog post. "At a time when the UK needs to show the world it is open for business, the Government and Border Force need to provide a great first impression, for every visitor, every time.”
Heathrow receives nearly 80 million passengers annually, and 94% are internaitonal travalers, according to the airports 2017 statistics. These numbers are only going to increase once Heathrow's third runway is complete, which means if the UK Border Force doesn't figure out a way to speed up this process, these wait times will continue to worsen.