Gatwick Airport

  anchor 10:00 27 Sep 2007
Locked

I have just returned from a holiday in Crete, flying from Gatwick.

What a complete shambles; and this is primarily down to BAA, and the shortage of security facilities & staff. It was taking about 45 mins to pass through security, as a result many flights had to be delayed. In fact, if your original flight time was not in the next 30 mins, they would not even let you join the enormous queue.

I, and many others, complained and asked to see a BAA manager. He explained that there were not enough staff and X-Ray machines to cope with the volume of passengers.

This confirmed what I had recently read in the newspaper; that the new owners of BAA were maximising profits by not recruiting more staff, or buying more equipment.

I heard a radio report this morning about the new Heathrow terminal 5, and how BAA wish to make it a pleasant experience to pass through. You can imagine my cynicism.

Yes, security is an essential part of modern travel, but it can be made more efficient.

  ventanas 10:24 27 Sep 2007

I think that much of this type of problem can be put down to time of day. We recently flew from Manchester at 7.00am. We had checked in (auto machine) and passed through security in less than 20 minutes.

Similarly on the return from Palma, we deliberately arrived at the Airport some hours early and joined a check in queue with only four people in it. Got through the security bit in another fifteen minutes, and then had a three hour wait, but it was probably worth it.

The next day some friends of ours returned from Palma mid-afternoon. They could not even get through the main door to the Airport, such was the queue. It apparantly took an hour and a half to check in, and then straight to the plane.

  techie4me 10:44 27 Sep 2007

Security at all UK Airports is tighter than usual after the attack on Glasgow Airport earlier in the year.
More security checks need to be carried out at times of high use.
Whilst there are viable threats to airports the high state of alert will still in place.
This is why all airlines insist that passengers check in at least 2 hours before, 3 for transatlantic flights due to the added security.

Think yourself lucky your not one of the many armed officers having to deal with many various security threats or left luggage left by idiots unattended, which ends up having to evacuate terminals.

It’s better to have high security in place and for passengers to comply to the current sanctions.

  anchor 10:49 27 Sep 2007

ventanas: I really don`t know, but would suspect that Manchester airport does not carry as much passenger traffic as Gatwick.

Time of day certainly could play a part, but looking at the flight departures on the Gatwick web site, it seems there is no time when things quiet down, (except at night).

  anchor 11:00 27 Sep 2007

techie4me:

The need for very good security is not in question. The issue is that BAA are not providing sufficient staff and facilities to cope with this extra security and passenger volumes.

It seems that Ferrovial, the owners of BAA, are making very large profits without being prepared to spend money to ease passenger misery.

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  kevinjuan 12:25 27 Sep 2007

I have flown from Gatwick twice this year and had no problems with security, though like Ventans I was there at least 3 hours before departure and had a long wait in departure.

I see that as an acceptable part of the journey.

If I was flying on regularly on business I must admit I would probably find it a drag.

  anchor 14:18 27 Sep 2007

kevinjuan:

It would not have helped you on this occasion arriving 3 hrs before departure, as they only allowed passengers to join the security queue 30 mins before their scheduled flight time.

You would have had to wait in the check in area which has no facilities. We were told by a BAA manager that airlines had been advised of this fact, and departures were being delayed.

If the newspaper article I referred to is to believed, BAA were not actively trying to recruit sufficient extra staff, so salary scales were not a factor in finding new personnel.

I agree this is not good for the actual people working there; they can only do their best. However, if their employer is reluctant to spend money on new staff and equipment, (as appears to be the case), what can they do?.

The only remedy I can see is for the UK government to put strong pressure on Ferrovial to quickly improve the situation.

  g0slp 14:31 27 Sep 2007

I hate having to transit through Gatwick. Heathrow's a bit better, but if I can I prefer to route through Schipol.

Paris Charles de Gaulle? Don't get me started...

  Bingalau 16:25 27 Sep 2007

Flying from Liverpool has always been a pleasure. Coming back is also no problem, I have never had to wait at security for more than a reasonable time. Luggage comes through quickly and efficiently. So I try to use the place as often as I can. Thinking of going to Munich for the beer festival????

  Woolwell 16:40 27 Sep 2007

I have to use Gatwick next week. Last time I flew from Gatwick, which was a year ago, the queues for security were very bad. I will see what happens this time.
I don't think you can compare Manchester, or for that matter Liverpool, with Gatwick. I have flown in and out of Manchester this year and found that the queues were very small.
At Gatwick I don't think that there are enough security screening facilities possibly due to lack of space to add more. BAA needs to do something about this.

  octal 17:28 27 Sep 2007

We went through Gatwick on the 4th September which is mid week and it took about 10 minutes to get through security, so I suspect the day of the week makes a difference, I know for a fact Mondays are mayhem having experienced it in the past, it's when there are a lot of people traveling on business.

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