Heathrow Gatwick Cars

Friday, 30 December 2011

9 essentials for traveling with tots

Traveling with little ones this holiday season? Dana Points, editor-in-chief of Parents magazine, suggests these items to keep kids safe and occupied while on the road.

Béaba Stackable Formula & Snack Containers These stackable food containers can be filled with snacks for older kids or formula for infants. The hook on top allows each stack to attach to your purse or carry-on bag. $12, potterybarn.com

QuickSmart 3-in-1 Travel Bassinet
This portable bassinet also folds into a changing station and diaper bag — great if you get stuck at an airport during a long delay — and provides everything you need for baby once you arrive at your destination. $69.99, amazon.com.

Dana Points, editor in chief of Parents magazine, suggests items to keep kids safe and occupied during family travel this holiday season.
Go Anywhere Booster Seat from Polar Gear BabyThis on-the-go booster gives your child a secure seat right at the table and has a five-point restraint harness and three sets of adjustable straps to secure to a chair. $39.99, amazon.com.

Sock OnsThis adorable mom-invented innovation keeps socks snug on baby's feet. No more lost socks at the airport! $8, sockons.com

Pit Stop Potty ProtectorsAny parent knows that traveling with toddlers means lots of pit stops. These disposable toilet seat covers keep little hands from touching the seat. $9.99, summerinfant.com.

Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette PlusIf you are road tripping, this full-size, potty-on-the-go will save you from having to try and find a restroom at a moment's notice. It uses self-absorbing, disposable liners that discard like a diaper. Put this in the trunk of your car and take it out when you need it. $11.99, kalencon.com

Travel Tot Childproofing KitNow you can childproof a room wherever you go. This kit includes a finger-pinch guard, electrical outlet plug covers, foam corner guards, door knob cover, cord wind-up, sliding door lock, cabinet lock, multi-purpose straps, water thermometer, bandages, forehead thermometer, and a "Shhh, Travel-Tot sleeping" door hanger. $24.95, travel-tot.com.

Original Seaband for ChildrenKids who suffer from motion sickness can place these acupressure bands around their wrists the next time they travel by plane, train, boat or car. $10, drugstore.com

Zoobies Plush Blanket PetThese stuffed animals double as a pillow and blanket. $35, zoobies.com.

Kids gets a place to play at the Airports

Chicago Department of Aviation
Chicago O'Hare International Airport has two play areas designed by the Chicago Children's Museum.

Airport planners have finally learned what all parents already knew: Give kids a place to run around, and you’ll have happier, calmer children on board planes, which can translate to happier passengers overall.
At least 30 of the nation’s major airports have (or will soon have) play areas, and some airlines have installed play spaces within their own terminals.
"It’s definitely on the rise,” said Debby McElroy, spokesperson for Airports Council International-North America. “When airports are developing their facilities, they recognize that families with children are spending more time at the airport, and they look at ways to make it a more enjoyable experience, whether it’s art displays, game rooms, DVD kiosks or play areas.”
San Francisco International Airport boasts three play spaces, two in the recently remodeled Terminal 2, featuring child-sized rocking chairs and unique art work that doubles as musical instruments.
Los Angeles International Airport is incorporating several play spaces in its new terminal to open, in phases, at the end of next year.
O’Hare International Airport has two play areas, designed by the Chicago Children’s Museum. One is a 2,200-square-foot space with a two-story air traffic control tower, a cockpit, and cargo hold, complete with luggage to load.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has a 1,400-square-foot play space with soft, aviation-themed equipment as well as a private room for nursing. Nearby Portland International Airport has two play areas. 

“It’s a great way for kids to burn off energy before boarding a plane, and it’s also separation from the business traveler, for example, who wants a quiet place to sit with his laptop,” said Perry Cooper, Sea-Tac Airport’s media and public affairs manager. 
Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with Atmosphere Research Group, said catering to families makes good business sense.
“This is a marketing opportunity for airlines and airports to make customers for life,” he said. “If the flying experience from airport to flight to airport isn’t good, then not only will kids not want to take trips, when they grow up they won’t want to travel.”
In 2007, Southwest Airlines began installing family seating areas in their terminals at many airports, complete with low tables and stools, and programming for children on flat-screen TVs.
“We’ve found from our customers that those spaces are very helpful for kids to be able to read, relax, eat or just blow off steam before getting onto the airplane,” said Beth Harbin, senior director of communications for Southwest Airlines. 
American Airlines has play areas in some of its Admiral Clubs, located in 22 of the nation’s airports. Not an Admiral Club member? Buy a $50 day pass, which covers one adult and up to three kids, for access to its play areas, showers, Wi-Fi, and free drinks and snacks.
Colleen Lanin, founder of TravelMamas.com, said while play areas can be hard to find, she’s thrilled more airports have families in mind.

“It’s great they are recognizing that families do travel with kids, and if our kids are able to get their energy out, it’s a better experience for everyone on the plane,” she said.
But if all else fails and you find yourself with squirming kids in tow and no play area in sight, do what Lanin does with her two small kids.

“Before we fly, I have them run around in our backyard or around a fountain at an airport and I pay them 10 cents for each lap,” she said. “It’s a fun way for them to earn a couple bucks to spend at the airport gift shop, and it burns some energy.”

Saturday, 3 December 2011

London Airport Gatwick Airlines and destinations

Airlines and destinations

Gatwick has two terminals: North and South. The South Terminal is Gatwick's older and busier terminal, and is also where the airport railway station is located. The following list includes all scheduled services to and from Gatwick Airport, as well as seasonal charter flights.[141]
Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aer Lingus Cork, Dublin, Knock, Málaga [ends 8 January]
Seasonal charter: Grenoble [begins 14 December]
Aerosvit Airlines Kiev-Boryspil South
AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur South
Air Berlin Nuremberg North
Air China Beijing-Capital [begins 1 May 2012][142] North
Air Europa Madrid South
Air Malta Malta South
Air Moldova Chişinău South
Air Transat Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton, Montréal-Trudeau, Vancouver
Air Zimbabwe Harare South
AirBaltic Riga South
Al-Naser Airlines Baghdad South
Aurigny Air Services Guernsey South
Belavia Minsk South
BH Air Burgas South
British Airways Algiers [begins 25 March 2012], Amsterdam, Antigua, Barbados, Bermuda, Bologna, Bordeaux, Cancún, Catania, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Faro, Genoa, Glasgow-International, Grenada, Jersey, Kingston, Málaga, Malé, Manchester, Marseille, Marrakech, Mauritius, Montego Bay [ends 25 March 2012],[143]Naples, Nice [begins 25 March 2012], Orlando, Port of Spain, Pristina, Punta Cana, Rome-Fiumicino, St Kitts, St Lucia, Salzburg, San Juan, Tampa, Thessaloniki, Tirana, Tobago, Tunis, Turin, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona
Seasonal: Bari, Geneva, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Paphos, Pisa
Bulgaria Air Seasonal: Varna South
Cimber Sterling Billund South
Croatia Airlines Zagreb
Seasonal: Split
Cubana de Aviación Havana, Holguín South
Delta Air Lines Atlanta North
EasyJet Aberdeen, Agadir, Alicante, Amman-Queen Alia, Amsterdam, Antalya, Arrecife, Barcelona, Bari [begins 12 June 2012], Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast-International, Bologna, Budapest, Catania, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Faro, Fuerteventura [begins 28 March 2012], Funchal, Geneva, Glasgow-International, Gibraltar, Gothenburg-Landvetter [ends 9 January], Hurghada, Inverness, Izmir, Krakow, Larnaca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lisbon, Luxor, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Murcia, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Porto, Prague, Salzburg, Sharm el-Sheikh, Sofia, Tenerife-South, Valencia, Verona, Zagreb
Seasonal: Ajaccio, Bastia, Bodrum, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Grenoble, Heraklion, Kefallonia [begins 28 April 2012], Kos, Mykonos, Nantes, Rhodes, Santorini-Thira, Zakynthos
EasyJet Almería, Athens, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bordeaux, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Milan-Linate, Milan-Malpensa, Montpellier, Munich, Nice, Palermo, Pisa, Rome-Fiumicino, Seville, Thessaloniki, Toulouse, Venice-Marco Polo, Vienna, Zürich
Seasonal: Biarritz, Dubrovnik, Ibiza, La Rochelle, Minorca, Olbia, Split
EasyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva North
Emirates Dubai North
Estonian Air Tallinn South
Fly Hellas Heraklion, Larnaca, Rhodes, South
Flybe Aberdeen, Belfast-City, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Nantes, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newquay
Seasonal: Bergerac
Charter: Chambéry
Hi Fly Georgetown, Mount Pleasant South
Hong Kong Airlines Hong Kong [begins 8 March 2012][144][145][146] North
Iceland Express Reykjavik-Keflavík South
Jet2.com Chartered Seasonal: Chambéry South
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon [begins 28 April 2012][147][148][149] North
Lufthansa Frankfurt South
Malév Hungarian Airlines Budapest North
Meridiana Fly operated by Air Italy Florence North
Monarch Scheduled: Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Lanzarote, Málaga, Milan-Malpensa [begins 25 March 2012], Minorca, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Venice-Marco Polo [begins 25 March 2012]
Scheduled Seasonal: Antalya [begins 3 May 2012], Bodrum, Dalaman, Dubrovnik [begins 1 May 2012], Heraklion [begins 1 May 2012], Ibiza, Larnaca, Paphos
Chartered Seasonal: Banjul, Chania, Corfu, Goa, Grenada, Hassi Messaoud, Heraklion, Huesca, Innsbruck, Kefalonia, Kittilä, Kos, Lamezia Terme, Luxor, Malé, Mombasa, Montreal-Trudeau, Mytilene, Preveza, Rhodes, Skiathos, Sofia, Tobago, Volos, Zakynthos
Norwegian Air Shuttle Ålesund, Bergen, Copenhagen, Gothenburg-Landvetter [begins 29 March 2012],[150] Helsinki, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda, Trondheim
Scheduled Seasonal: Aalborg
Nouvelair Monastir South
Pegasus Airlines Seasonal: Antalya, Dalaman South
Rossiya St Petersburg South
Ryanair Alicante, Cork, Dublin, Kaunas, Madrid, Moss-Rygge, Seville, Shannon, Stockholm-Skavsta
Seasonal: Rome-Ciampino
SATA International Ponta Delgada-João Paulo South
Scandinavian Airlines Bergen [ends 6 January 2012] South
Sky Airlines Seasonal charter: Antalya South
Strategic Airlines Corfu, Heraklion, Larnaca, Paphos, Rhodes, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos South
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul South
Sunwing Airlines Seasonal: Toronto-Pearson North
TAP Portugal Funchal, Lisbon, Porto South
Thomas Cook Airlines Antalya, Bodrum, Cancún, Calgary, Cayo Coco, Dalaman, Enfhida, Fuerteventura, Holguín, Hurghada, Izmir, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Montego Bay, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver
Seasonal: Acapulco, Agadir, Almería, Banjul, Barbados, Brescia, Burgas, Corfu, Djerba, Edmonton, Faro, Geneva, Goa, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Lleida-Alguaire [begins 19 December], Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Lemnos, Luxor, Malta, Minorca, Naples, Olbia, Orlando-Sanford, Ottawa, Palma de Mallorca, Preveza, Reus, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Salzburg, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Turin, Varadero, Zakynthos
Thomson Airways Agadir, Alicante, Antalya, Aswan, Banjul, Boa Vista, Cancún, Dalaman, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Girona, Heraklion, Holguín, Lanzarote, La Romana, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Liberia, Luxor, Málaga, Malé, Malta, Marrakech, Marsa Alam, Mersa Matruh, Mombasa, Monastir, Montego Bay, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Sal, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba, Tenerife-South, Varadero
Seasonal: Acapulco, Alghero, Aruba, Barbados, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania, Chania, Colombo, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Faro, Figari, Ibiza, İzmir, Kalamata, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Minorca, Mykonos, Mytilene, Naples, Pisa, Plovdiv, Preveza, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Samos, Samaná, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Tivat, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona, Zakynthos
Titan Airways Seasonal Charter: Chambéry South
Tor Air Burgas, Chania, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Erbil, Friedrichshafen, Heraklion, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Paphos, Preveza, Rhodes, Sulaimaniya, Santorini, Sharm el-Sheikh, Skiathos, Stockholm-Arlanda, Zakynthos
Seasonal: Geneva [begins 10 December]
Tunisair Djerba, Enfidha, Monastir South
Turkish Airlines İstanbul-Atatürk [begins 20 December][151][152] North
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev-Boryspil South
United Airways Dhaka South
US Airways Charlotte South
Vietnam Airlines Hanoi [begins 9 December],[153][154] Ho Chi Minh City [begins 10 December][153][154] North
Virgin Atlantic Airways Antigua, Barbados, Cancún [begins 12 June 2012],[155] Grenada, Havana, Kingston [ends 16 April 2012],[156][157] Las Vegas, Montego Bay, Orlando, St Lucia, Tobago South

Ground transport to London Airport Gatwick Taxi services

London Heathrow Airport Airlines and destinations

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aegean Airlines Athens, Larnaca 1
Aer Lingus Belfast-International, Cork, Dublin, Shannon 1
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo 4
Air Algérie Algiers 4
Air Astana Almaty 4
Air Canada Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver
Seasonal: St. John's
Air China Beijing-Capital 3
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 4
Air India Delhi, Mumbai 4
Air Malta Malta 4
Air Mauritius Mauritius 4
Air New Zealand Auckland, Hong Kong, Los Angeles 1
Air Seychelles Mahé [ends 8 January] 4
Air Transat Seasonal: Toronto-Pearson 4
Alitalia Milan-Linate, Rome-Fiumicino 4
Alitalia operated by Air One Rome-Fiumicino 4
All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Narita 3
American Airlines Boston, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, Raleigh/Durham 3
Arik Air Lagos 4
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon 1
Austrian Airlines Vienna 1
Austrian Airlines operated by Tyrolean Airways Vienna 1
Azerbaijan Airlines Baku 4
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka, Dubai 4
BMI Addis Ababa, Agadir, Almaty, Amman-Queen Alia, Amritsar, Baku, Basel/Mulhouse, Beirut, Belfast-City, Berlin-Brandenburg [begins 3 June 2012], Berlin-Tegel [ends 2 June 2012], Bishkek, Cairo, Casablanca, Damascus, Dammam, Dublin, Edinburgh, Freetown, Jeddah, Khartoum, Manchester, Marrakech, Moscow-Domodedovo, Nice, Riyadh, Tbilisi, Tehran-Imam Khomeini, Tripoli [resumes 26 December], Vienna, Yerevan 1
BMI operated by BMI Regional Aberdeen, Bergen, Edinburgh, Hanover, Manchester, Stavanger 1
British Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Bucharest-Otopeni, Budapest, Gibraltar, Helsinki, Larnaca, Lisbon, Prague, Singapore, Sydney, Vienna, Warsaw 3
British Airways Aberdeen, Abu Dhabi, Abuja, Accra, Algiers [ends 24 March 2012], Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Bahrain, Baltimore, Bangalore, Barcelona, Basel/Mulhouse, Beijing-Capital, Berlin-Brandenburg [Begins 3 June 2012], Berlin-Tegel [Ends 2 June 2012], Bologna [begins 29 April 2012], Boston, Brussels, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Cairo, Calgary, Cape Town, Chennai, Chicago-O'Hare, Copenhagen, Dallas/Fort Worth, Dar es Salaam, Delhi, Denver, Doha, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Entebbe, Frankfurt, Geneva, Glasgow-International, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Grand Cayman, Hamburg, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Houston-Intercontinental, Hyderabad, Istanbul-Atatürk, Jeddah, Johannesburg, Kiev-Boryspil, Kuwait, Lagos, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Luanda, Lusaka, Luxembourg, Lyon, Madrid, Manchester, Mexico City, Miami, Milan-Linate, Milan-Malpensa, Montréal-Trudeau, Moscow-Domodedovo, Mumbai, Munich, Muscat, Nairobi, Nassau, New York-JFK, Newark, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nice, Oslo-Gardermoen, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pisa, Providenciales, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, Riyadh, Rome-Fiumicino, St Petersburg, San Diego, San Francisco, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, Shanghai-Pudong, Sofia, Stockholm-Arlanda, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Toulouse, Vancouver, Venice, Washington-Dulles, Zürich 5
Brussels Airlines Brussels 1
Bulgaria Air Sofia 4
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong 3
China Airlines Taipei-Taoyuan 4
China Eastern Airlines Shanghai-Pudong 4
Continental Airlines Houston-Intercontinental, Newark 4
Croatia Airlines Zagreb
Seasonal: Rijeka, Split
Cyprus Airways Larnaca 1
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK 4
EgyptAir Cairo, Luxor, Sharm el-Sheikh 3
El Al Tel Aviv 1
Emirates Dubai 3
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa 3
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi 4
EVA Air Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Taipei-Taoyuan 3
Finnair Helsinki 3
Gulf Air Bahrain 4
Iberia Madrid 3
Icelandair Reykjavik-Keflavík 1
Iran Air Tehran-Imam Khomeini 3
Japan Airlines Tokyo-Narita 3
Jat Airways Belgrade 4
Jet Airways Delhi, Mumbai 4
Kenya Airways Nairobi 4
Kingfisher Airlines Delhi, Mumbai 4
KLM Amsterdam 4
KLM operated by KLM Cityhopper Amsterdam 4
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon 4
Kuwait Airways Kuwait, New York-JFK 4
Libyan Arab Airlines Tripoli 4
LOT Polish Airlines Warsaw 1
Lufthansa Cologne/Bonn [resumes 25 March 2012], Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich 1
Lufthansa operated by BMI Cologne/Bonn [ends 25 March 2012] 1
Lufthansa Regional operated by Contact Air Stuttgart 1
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur 4
Middle East Airlines Beirut 3
Oman Air Muscat 3
Pakistan International Airlines Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot 3
Qantas Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi [ends 25 March 2012][42], Hong Kong [ends 25 March 2012][42], Melbourne, Singapore, Sydney 3
Qatar Airways Doha 4
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca, Tangier 4
Royal Brunei Airlines Bandar Seri Begawan, Dubai 4
Royal Jordanian Amman-Queen Alia 3
Saudi Arabian Airlines Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh 4
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda 3
Singapore Airlines Singapore 3
South African Airways Cape Town, Johannesburg 1
SriLankan Airlines Colombo, Malé, Zürich [resumes 23 December] [43] 4
Swiss International Air Lines Geneva, Zürich 1
Syrian Air Damascus 4
TAM Airlines Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, São Paulo-Guarulhos 1
TAP Portugal Lisbon, Funchal 1
TAROM Bucharest-Otopeni 4
Thai Airways International Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi 3
Transaero Moscow-Domodedovo 1
Tunisair Tunis 4
Turkish Airlines Antalya, Istanbul-Atatürk 3
Turkmenistan Airlines Ashgabat 3
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles 1
US Airways Philadelphia 1
Uzbekistan Airlines Tashkent 1
Virgin Atlantic Airways Accra, Boston, Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lagos, Los Angeles, Miami, Nairobi, New York-JFK, Newark, San Francisco, Shanghai-Pudong, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita, Washington-Dulles
Seasonal: Cape Town, Chicago-O'Hare, Vancouver [begins 24 May 2012][44]
Vueling Airlines A Coruña, Bilbao, Vigo 3

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Bus border checks 'lax since 2007'

Border officials checked only if passport photographs of coach passengers matched the bearers, it was reportedCoach passengers were allowed into the UK without being properly checked by border staff for four years, it has been reported, in another blow for the under-fire Home Office.
A relaxation quietly introduced under the last Labour administration to ease queues at the port of Dover in 2007 was only halted 10 days ago when senior border officials were suspended, the Sunday Telegraph said.

Officials checked only if passport photographs matched the bearers, the newspaper said, and did not cross-check against computer databases of suspected terrorists, criminals and immigration offenders.
The extent of the watering down of security, such as whether it applied to other ports and was only employed at peak periods, remains unclear but the number of arrivals involved was estimated to be in the millions.
A Home Office spokesman said he was unable to discuss the claims because of the ongoing inquiry into unauthorised relaxations of controls, in what appeared to be an indication that they formed part of the probe.
But MPs will seek more information on Tuesday when the Home Affairs Committee questions Brodie Clark, the former head of the UK Border Force who quit his post amid an acrimonious dispute with Home Secretary Theresa May.
Mr Clark was suspended last week by UK Border Agency chief Rob Whiteman, who says he admitted allowing border staff to relax checks beyond the extent of a pilot scheme authorised by Mrs May.
He denies exceeding his authority and has left his post to pursue a claim of constructive dismissal.
A Home Office spokesman said: "Nothing is more important than the integrity of our border in order to protect national security and reduce and control immigration. There are ongoing investigations into allegations regarding the relaxation of border controls without ministerial approval."
Security checks at Heathrow airport were also watered down during a two-day strike by immigration officers in October last year, it was reported. The Home Office said: "UKBA ensured additional trained staff authorised to carry out all necessary checks were in place at the border during the strike last year."

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Airport border control 'at breaking point'

Sophy Ridge, political correspondent | Sky News

Queues at Heathrow Airport (PA) 

A  whistleblower who works at Heathrow Airport has told Sky News the system is at breaking point. The immigration officer said it is "frightening" how many people slip through the net and exposed a culture of deceit where employees are bussed in when politicians visit to give the impression of more staff.
He told Sky News he feels security has been "compromised" because of pressure over queues.
The whistleblower, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: "We've operated a light touch over the summer for the past couple of years.
"It was never meant as an intelligence-led way of improving security. It's all about the queues."
Home Secretary Theresa May is fighting for her political reputation after it emerged checks on people entering the UK were secretly relaxed over the summer.
She has blamed the former head of the UK border force Brodie Clark for acting without ministerial approval.
Mrs May approved relaxing certain checks on passengers within the EU but accused Mr Clark of going much further.
The Government's pilot aims to deploy resources more effectively by using intelligence-led risk assessments.
But the Terminal 3 worker strongly disputes any suggestion that the looser checks he has witnessed are a better use of resources.
He said: "It's just a way of trying to get people through passport control quickly. It only saves 30 seconds per person, but that adds up to a lot.
"We would only use light touch checks when there were big queues - from around 2.30pm onwards over the summer months.
"For instance, if there was a big flight arriving from Pakistan.
"It makes us very angry because that's the very time when we should be taking time and asking questions.
"But the truth is, there's not enough staff. We can't cope with the number of people.
"There's only five or six of us and we have the worst of the queues at Terminal 3."
The whistleblower does not believe Mrs May was aware of what happened or that she ordered the relaxing of the controls.
He said: "I think Theresa May has been misled by Brodie Clark. He never implemented what she thought. But he may not have been aware of what was happening on the front line either."
But he also has concerns over aspects of the pilot ordered by Mrs May, in particular the flexibility over relaxing checks on children.
He said: "Operating a light touch with children is serious. It's very dangerous.
"If there's a family with four children in tow coming off a long-haul flight, one of those children could have easily been slipped in with that family."
Sky News has asked Heathrow airport if it would like to comment on the whistleblower's claims but it has yet to reply.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

'Months' before the Somerset crash cause is known

The scene of the crashIt may be weeks before police know what caused the M5 pile-up in which seven people were killed, the Transport Secretary has said.
Justine Greening told MPs a total of 37 vehicles were involved in the Friday night horror crash that left seven dead and 51 injured.
Making a Commons statement on the tragedy, she said: "Given the large number of vehicles involved, the need to carefully look at those vehicles recovered and to talk to many of the witnesses, it may be some weeks until the investigation can conclude on any cause or causes of this incident."
Avon and Somerset Police are investigating whether the crash happened as smoke from a rugby club fireworks display drifted on to the M5, affecting drivers' visibility and concentration. Officers are conducting a criminal investigation.
Elderly couple Anthony and Pamela Adams, from Newport, south Wales, were among those killed in the smash.
Lorry driver Terry Brice, from Bristol, was also named as one of the victims, as was Malcolm Beacham, from Woolavington in Somerset.
The crash also left a young woman in a coma and her wheelchair-bound father and sister dead.
Emma Barton, believed to be 19, was said to have been travelling in a car with her boyfriend Christopher Burbull, father Michael and sister Maggie, when they were caught up in the chaos.
The seventh victim was named as Kye Thomas, 38, from Gunnislake, Cornwall.
Ms Greening told MPs: "While Avon and Somerset Police have indicated the presence of smoke on the carriageway is a significant line of inquiry, Assistant Chief Constable (Anthony) Bangham has been clear to me that, in his words to me early today, 'it is far too early to jump to conclusions on the causal factors of this incident'."

Number let into UK unchecked 'not known'

UK passport control PA

The Home Secretary admits she doesn't know how many foreigners entered the UK via relaxed border controls

 Travel to Heathrow and Gatwick Airport

Home Secretary Theresa May has admitted she relaxed border controls at all UK ports during the peak summer period.
But senior officials at the UK's border force went even further, scrapping key checks against a Home Office database without ministerial approval.
The number of suspected terrorists, criminals and illegal immigrants who entered the country as a result of the move will never be known, Mrs May said.
Three staff, including the head of the UK border force Brodie Clark, have been suspended and those responsible will be punished "to make sure that border force officials can never take such risks with border security again", she said.
"As a result of these unauthorised actions, we will never know how many people entered the country who should have been prevented from doing so after being flagged by the warnings index."
Mr Clark confirmed he had gone further than the pilot scheme allowed when John Vine, the independent chief inspector of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), raised concerns last week, she said.
Biometric checks on European nationals and checks against the Home Office database on children from the European Economic Area (EEA) "were abandoned on a regular basis, without ministerial approval", Mrs May said.
Adults were not checked against the database at Calais and the fingerprints of non-European nationals from countries that require a visa were stopped, all without ministerial approval, she said.
"I did not give my consent or authorisation for any of these decisions," Mrs May told MPs.
"Indeed I told officials explicitly that the pilot was to go no further than we had agreed."