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doomandgloom2

Cr@p Service, Cr@p Country

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I`ve been flying into Luton for the past 5 years once a month, arriving between 7-8AM. Everything was fine except I never understood why the plane starts its descent over Amsterdam then zigzags through N.Sea, Suffolk, Cambs, Beds, Herts and few other counties . All seem to take rather long. No straight flypath between Amsterdam and Luton? Once on the ground the service was good, max 10min at the immigration. On my last 2 trips the I qued to show my passport 45 min and 55 min respectively. I recon there were 1000 people waiting, all waiting patiently, mothers holding up todlers, kids screeming etc. Of course there was no announcement, no staff to help, no sorry. Two employees of LA and policewoman stood together, relaxed and happily chatted. They had the cheek to shout at one mother holding 2 yo who tried to get to the front. Instead of 6 immigration officers only 2 worked. I thought that every passenger paid tax and airport charge to get bloody good service. Not in Luton thou. Most of the passengers arrive from E.Europe and need no visa so checking passport takes 5 sec. Lets treat them like a cattle and show them who is in charge. There is no excuse for such a poor service, it must happen every day. Wellcome to Britain.

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Its only when you go to America that you see exactly how bad our airports are.

The Newyork airports even have 'taxi people' who make sure the queue is sorted out, they ask you where your going tell the driver where to go and also tell you how much it will cost.

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Its only when you go to America that you see exactly how bad our airports are.

On the contrary, queues of 60-90 minutes for immigration are the norm in my experience (3-4 trips to the US a year on average). This frequently results in a missed connection, which in turn usually means that your luggage doesn't make it to your final destination. All you need is to be in a queue behind three or four people with passports from African and/or Asian countries who the immigration officers go through with a fine tooth comb, and it's a case of being prepared for a very long wait.

Some US airports are equally bad for departing passengers. At LAX an hour's queue for the security x-ray is about the average.

On this side of the pond, I find that the key is to use the smallest airports possible. I've never faced any significant queues at Teesside or Humberside, and no more than 15-25 minutes at Leeds/Bradford and Newcastle. At Manchester, on the other hand, hour-long queues are the norm (though usually for departures rather than arrivals), and the only London airport I've ever found to be remotely tolerable is City.

If London is the OP's final destination, the VLM flights from AMS-LCY might be worth checking out. They're more expensive than the likes of Easyjet or Ryanair, but if you book reasonably well in advance and your stay includes a Saturday night they're not too bad.

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Its only when you go to America that you see exactly how bad our airports are.

The Newyork airports even have 'taxi people' who make sure the queue is sorted out, they ask you where your going tell the driver where to go and also tell you how much it will cost.

I disagree a bit with that. US immigration is routinely a nightmare. The worst was that I once made the mistake of picking up an AirFrance flight via Paris and wound up in a queue full of Francophone Africans, it was like something out of a dystopian novel (I was waiting for them to force us onto the cattle trucks). We were treated rudely, without any respect and it took forever. We were even separated from the US passport holders and sent to a different hall for extra paranoia (this was Dulles if I remember correctly). If there'd been a way of turning round and leaving, I'd have done it.

I actually feel a short burst of pride when I say our lot speaking to people in a friendly and polite manner, perhaps its just the airline food talking though.

A taxi dispatcher doesn't really make up for it (EWR its best to get the train though anyway).

I find OP's comments about zigzagging a bit odd, they wouldn't have done that if they had any other option.

Time/changes in course = fuel = money = profit. You can't lay something like that at the door of the airline.

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Once you've been to Asia , where getting through immigration on a UK passport takes 3-4 minutes (on HK citizenship papers it takes 12 seconds) , you realise how crappy UK immigration is.

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Once you've been to Asia , where getting through immigration on a UK passport takes 3-4 minutes (on HK citizenship papers it takes 12 seconds) , you realise how crappy UK immigration is.

The Chinese system, whereby they do the vetting before you leave rather than at the port of entry, has a lot to recommend it. When I went to a conference in Shanghai last winter, the process of applying for the visa was lengthy, convoluted and expensive (they needed UK references and a letter of invitation from my Chinese host). However, when I arrived at the airport, the immigration officer barely glanced at my passport, muttered a curt 'Thank you, Sir' and then I was on my way.

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I`ve been flying into Luton for the past 5 years once a month, arriving between 7-8AM. Everything was fine except I never understood why the plane starts its descent over Amsterdam then zigzags through N.Sea, Suffolk, Cambs, Beds, Herts and few other counties . All seem to take rather long. No straight flypath between Amsterdam and Luton? Once on the ground the service was good, max 10min at the immigration. On my last 2 trips the I qued to show my passport 45 min and 55 min respectively. I recon there were 1000 people waiting, all waiting patiently, mothers holding up todlers, kids screeming etc. Of course there was no announcement, no staff to help, no sorry. Two employees of LA and policewoman stood together, relaxed and happily chatted. They had the cheek to shout at one mother holding 2 yo who tried to get to the front. Instead of 6 immigration officers only 2 worked. I thought that every passenger paid tax and airport charge to get bloody good service. Not in Luton thou. Most of the passengers arrive from E.Europe and need no visa so checking passport takes 5 sec. Lets treat them like a cattle and show them who is in charge. There is no excuse for such a poor service, it must happen every day. Wellcome to Britain.

Agreed.

Arriving from Geneva at Luton is instant culture shock.

Queues in the rain, bus-stops in the rain, car-hire miles away, loads of fat pale people eating burgers, traffic queues, an instant impression of an infrastructure close to breaking point.

The Netherlands is just as densely populated and rainy but doesn't convey the same impression at all.

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US Airports good? Wtf?

Have you ever been to Atlanta? Busiest airport in the world and it is rubbish. Queues are horrendous even for US citizens, entry and baggage control are miles apart (you go on a subway train), and the final luggage carousels are in a room open to the street. Anybody can come in and pick up and your bags so you have to hurry (or have cheap-looking luggage).

I like UK regional airports. Birmingham and Bristol are both excellent.

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The Chinese system, whereby they do the vetting before you leave rather than at the port of entry, has a lot to recommend it. When I went to a conference in Shanghai last winter, the process of applying for the visa was lengthy, convoluted and expensive (they needed UK references and a letter of invitation from my Chinese host). However, when I arrived at the airport, the immigration officer barely glanced at my passport, muttered a curt 'Thank you, Sir' and then I was on my way.

What you didn't just cheat like 99% of backpackers do ? , ie go to a travel agent ask for a flight to China , ask for the itinary to be printed out , then when asked if you want the flight say no,

Then go to a netcafe and print out a fake air reference number ,

Go to hostelworld and pay $1 to get a hostel booking...

Then take it to the embassy and wait 2 days ,put down $50US voila Chinese visa......

The Chinese visa vetting system is BS tbh , its just a tourist tax its just disguised to look like vetting , unlike turkey where you have to buy a £10 sticker to be allowed to enter the country.

But no I was talking about HK/Macau / Korea immigration , the desks at the ports of entry and exit are full ie when they have 50 desks there are 50 immigration officers. But for HK I can get in in 12 seconds , using the E entry barriers.

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You only realise how diabolically awful our airports are when you arrive in the other country. The only good airport ive used in the UK was Stansted in the 90s. Even that has now been overcrowded and filled beyond capacity. Heathrow. Hell on Earth.

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Guest theboltonfury
US Airports good? Wtf?

Have you ever been to Atlanta? Busiest airport in the world and it is rubbish. Queues are horrendous even for US citizens, entry and baggage control are miles apart (you go on a subway train), and the final luggage carousels are in a room open to the street. Anybody can come in and pick up and your bags so you have to hurry (or have cheap-looking luggage).

I like UK regional airports. Birmingham and Bristol are both excellent.

Atlanta. Well said.

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I know I'll get into a lot of trouble for saying something good about the UK ( :huh: ), but Heathrow T5 is the best large airport terminal i've ever been to.

Please accept my apologies for mentioning this good thing about the UK.

Thankyou.

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US airports in my experience are frustrating and routinely crap - full of unnecessarily rude staff.

The only recent exception i can think of was Miami International where customs and immigration were surprisingly good considering it is such a large transit airport for South American and the Caribbean. I put it down to fact that Miami and its folk are now part of South America these days so has a different culture to that seen in other US east coast cities. By comparison, service at the New York Airports was just dire. Unfortunately the UK airports seem to be following the New York model :(

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In fact, Heathrow T5 is such a success now that no one talks about it anymore in the papers.

Just like no one talks about the Dome now that it too is a success.

One gets the feeling that people don't like success much... :huh:

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With the US as with anywhere else, the smaller the airport the smaller the aggro. Minneapolis, Portland and Memphis (and, for the couple of years that it was served by flights from Amsterdam, Hartford) are my preferred entry points to the US: they are never processing more than one or two international arrivals at a time and so the worst case scenario is having 200ish people in front of you rather than 1,000 plus, which can easily happen at airport-zillas such as JFK and LAX.

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In fact, Heathrow T5 is such a success now that no one talks about it anymore in the papers.

Just like no one talks about the Dome now that it too is a success.

One gets the feeling that people don't like success much... :huh:

No, there's just no news in something operating how it should.

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No, there's just no news in something operating how it should.

How about giving praise where it's due? I said it's the best airport in the world for its size... in fact, for any size.

Not a bad achievement for good ol' Blighty.

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I`ve been flying into Luton for the past 5 years once a month, arriving between 7-8AM. Everything was fine except I never understood why the plane starts its descent over Amsterdam then zigzags through N.Sea, Suffolk, Cambs, Beds, Herts and few other counties . All seem to take rather long. No straight flypath between Amsterdam and Luton? Once on the ground the service was good, max 10min at the immigration. On my last 2 trips the I qued to show my passport 45 min and 55 min respectively. I recon there were 1000 people waiting, all waiting patiently, mothers holding up todlers, kids screeming etc. Of course there was no announcement, no staff to help, no sorry. Two employees of LA and policewoman stood together, relaxed and happily chatted. They had the cheek to shout at one mother holding 2 yo who tried to get to the front. Instead of 6 immigration officers only 2 worked. I thought that every passenger paid tax and airport charge to get bloody good service. Not in Luton thou. Most of the passengers arrive from E.Europe and need no visa so checking passport takes 5 sec. Lets treat them like a cattle and show them who is in charge. There is no excuse for such a poor service, it must happen every day. Wellcome to Britain.

Agree with the airport criticism - extremely unpleasant places at the best of times

Luton - Amsterdam is around 220 miles direct (less than 200 Nautical Miles). Take an average speed of 300 NM/h for a jet, gives you about 40 minutes flying time. Chances are you're be cruising around 25,000 ft - 30,000ft. Max descent rate is around 1,000 ft per minute (which is quite uncomfortable), so even at that rate it'll take 30 minutes to descend, and the flight time is 40 mins.

Of course, it'll be more if you're routing round to avoid Stansted, plus the amount of traffic in the area is extremely high anyway due to Heathrow, Stansted, City and Gatwick. Hence the strange seeming route.

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On the contrary, queues of 60-90 minutes for immigration are the norm in my experience (3-4 trips to the US a year on average). This frequently results in a missed connection, which in turn usually means that your luggage doesn't make it to your final destination. All you need is to be in a queue behind three or four people with passports from African and/or Asian countries who the immigration officers go through with a fine tooth comb, and it's a case of being prepared for a very long wait.

Some US airports are equally bad for departing passengers. At LAX an hour's queue for the security x-ray is about the average.

On this side of the pond, I find that the key is to use the smallest airports possible. I've never faced any significant queues at Teesside or Humberside, and no more than 15-25 minutes at Leeds/Bradford and Newcastle. At Manchester, on the other hand, hour-long queues are the norm (though usually for departures rather than arrivals), and the only London airport I've ever found to be remotely tolerable is City.

If London is the OP's final destination, the VLM flights from AMS-LCY might be worth checking out. They're more expensive than the likes of Easyjet or Ryanair, but if you book reasonably well in advance and your stay includes a Saturday night they're not too bad.

+1, everything.

But please dont tell people about LCy: If it gets much busier, it will be as crap as everywhere else.

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That's what cars were invented for. To avoid the hoi polloi and detritus of the bus, ahem, plane station.

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LCY is better than Luton. Can also check in 15 minutes before your flight! Though the x-rays etc are longer than they used to be due to popularity, allow 10 mins.

Oh and take some food with you. The only food available is for rich city toffs. There are no BK or McDs in there, at least not yet.

You'll still get the same shit "customer service" from border police though (I think that's what they call them now). When I arrived back in the UK a couple of months ago, I noticed an open desk next to the only other one used (and a huge queue of people behind).

As I approached and tried to make eye contract, the grunt moaned at me "I didn't ask you to come forward" so I half took the piss and said "alright mate, alight mate" hands raised etc.

The way he said it to me, what a ****. He looked the typical baby boomer always had it good, bitter public sector Englishman who probably hates his fuc k1n job and really resents it, is just a miserable sod the whole time and spreads his negativity outwards. Welcome back to GREAT (!) Britain!

Let me tell you, this attitude prevails nowhere else in the world, this kind of almost self-pity. I love the UK but I also hate it. Was chatting to another English expatriate the other day who said he will NEVER return to the UK.

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I know I'll get into a lot of trouble for saying something good about the UK ( :huh: ), but Heathrow T5 is the best large airport terminal i've ever been to.

Please accept my apologies for mentioning this good thing about the UK.

Thankyou.

I like T5 too. Been through twice in the past 3 months, no queues, no crowds, no problems.

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Its only when you go to America that you see exactly how bad our airports are.

Only if you are using the small ones. San Jose and Orange County were a breeze, but the others :blink:

Cogs, we flew Air France out of Dulles via Paris to Manchester. The words p1ss up and brewery came to mind. :angry:

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Agree with the airport criticism - extremely unpleasant places at the best of times

Luton - Amsterdam is around 220 miles direct (less than 200 Nautical Miles). Take an average speed of 300 NM/h for a jet, gives you about 40 minutes flying time. Chances are you're be cruising around 25,000 ft - 30,000ft. Max descent rate is around 1,000 ft per minute (which is quite uncomfortable), so even at that rate it'll take 30 minutes to descend, and the flight time is 40 mins.

Of course, it'll be more if you're routing round to avoid Stansted, plus the amount of traffic in the area is extremely high anyway due to Heathrow, Stansted, City and Gatwick. Hence the strange seeming route.

Cruising altitude on this sector would be no higher than 24 000ft. A Jet will climb and descend at around 3000 ft/min but the cabin will only climb / descend at aroung 350 - 400fpm.

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As I approached and tried to make eye contract, the grunt moaned at me "I didn't ask you to come forward" so I half took the piss and said "alright mate, alight mate" hands raised etc.

That is just so fecking rude (of him): Treating ordinary people who have done nothing wrong as scum just because they have (temporary) official power over them. They should give him a nice black uniform and a spiffy armband and be done with it.

I did wonder if we were both overreacting. But no, an 'Excuse me sir, would you mind waiting behind the line until you are called.' 'Please' optional, even, would have acheived the same end, but without the offensive exercise of' Little Hitlerism.' And yes, I know these people have to put up with lots of shit but, as with any other job, that should not be projected onto someone else.

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