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Old 03-10-16, 10:51   #1
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Angry FURY at UK Govt's Plan >Travellers Pay £17.50 to Beat Airport Security Queues

'Air Passengers are Treated Like Cash Cows': Fury Over Government's Plan to Let Travellers Pay £17.50 to Beat Queues at Airport Security

  • Passengers could be asked to pay £17.50 to beat queues at UK airports
  • Premium would allow passengers to jump the queues at passport control
  • Fees would be aimed at easing overall congestion at passport desks in UK
Daily Mail UK, 3 October 2016

Passengers are to be charged up to up to £17.50 for the chance to jump lengthy queues at airport passport control points.

Ministers have confirmed they are ‘working closely’ with airports across the country to extend a scheme that allows travellers to pay a premium to avoid delays at border security when they arrive in the UK.

The ‘fast-track’ fees would be aimed at easing congestion at passport desks, which has soared to unprecedented levels at some airports.

Passengers are to be charged up to £17.50 for the chance to jump lengthy queues at airport passport control points

But they would come on top of other charges including paying for priority boarding, booking and baggage.

Last night critics condemned the plan as ‘barmy’ and said travellers were being exploited as ‘cash cows’.

Immigration unions attacked the initiative as a gimmick to distract from what they said was the Government’s failure to fund border controls properly.

There were also fears that passengers who do not pay for the premium service will have to wait even longer in the standard queue as staff are diverted to the fast lanes.

Officials said the scheme had been planned with the Border Force, which is responsible for carrying out passport checks.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: ‘This is a barmy idea. Why can’t people stop treating passengers like cash cows?
‘This plan also shows how overstretched our Border Force are and this can only make it worse.

‘Also, the person who decided this plan must have realised if the fast-track system becomes very popular and lots of people use it, it’s not fast track any more and won’t save any time.’

Heathrow and Gatwick, the country’s busiest airports, already offer holidaymakers the chance to pay up to £12.50 to use an exclusive lane so they can pass quickly through passport control. At Gatwick, this is limited to 50 passengers an hour.

Most airports in the UK already charge around £5 for a fast-track service in the departure hall to enable passengers to skip queues at security.
Added together, this would mean a traveller pays £17.50.

The service was tested on first and business-class passengers at passport control at Heathrow, before the Home Office permitted other UK airports to levy their own charges.

The expansion of the scheme follows a Government consultation in 2013 when the possibility of charging for quickly passing through passport control was raised.

Ministers suggested raising the price and using the money to ‘help fund the immigration system, secure the border and invest in improving processes’.

It is understood at least £5 of any charge would be passed from the airport to the Border Force, which has suffered a £50million cut to its budget since 2012-13. This year it has been handed £558million.

The Home Office said:

‘Border Force is working closely with several airport operators to introduce a fast-track passport control service.
‘Our first priority will always be maintaining the security of our borders.’
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