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Heathrow to trial fast tracking vaccinated arrivals.

Heathrow airport will trial fast track lanes in arrivals for fully vaccinated passengers. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will take part and collect vaccine information prior to boarding. Passengers will be able to upload this information. Four routes are part of the trial including flights from LAX and NYC.

Arrival rules for passengers from amber countries (USA included) still have to be followed but it's hoping this will help take pressure off the UK immigration halls.

Both the paper CDC card and U.S. states digital certification will be accepted. (You don't need both.)

BBC News - Covid: Heathrow to trial fast-tracking vaccinated arrivals
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57743038

Posted by
4412 posts

When I arrived at Heathrow a couple of weeks ago it took me just over 15 minutes to get through immigration and that included the time wasted at the e-gates when they all suddenly decided to stop working and we had to revert back to a manned desk so there isn't that much pressure at the border. They've also finally got round to placing perspex screens around the desks in order that all of them can be occupied, it's only taken a year or so to do when most supermarkets managed it within a week! A lot of the pressure has been relieved by utilising Terminal 3 to process arrivals from 'red' countries as those passengers typically take the longest to process.

Covid test results and passenger locator forms are already checked by airline staff prior to boarding yet they're still being checked at immigration as well. I'm assuming the vaccination information will also be checked upon arrival meaning that the fast track will not actually be any faster than the regular line. If you're coming from the US you'll still have to provide evidence of a negative Covid test and a completed passenger locator form upon arrival.

Posted by
10050 posts

A few notes.....

--Terminal 3 re-opens next week to regular flights. Delta and Virgin Atlantic have already announced they are goug back.

--in June, there were reports of waits up to six hours at Heathrow arrivals to be processed.

--not having to show vaccine information at immigration will make it faster. There is no standard form for vaccines so it would take time for the agents to figure each one.

--there should be an announcement this week about changes to the rules for amber countries.

Posted by
4412 posts

-in June, there were reports of waits up to six hours at Heathrow arrivals to be processed.
--not having to show vaccine information at immigration will make it faster. There is no standard form for vaccines so it would take time for the agents to figure each one.

Those headline grabbing long waits were not typical. It was a perfect storm of insufficient border agents (distancing measures meant that every other desk could not be manned because screens had not been placed between between posts. Instead of getting on and installing them both the Border Force and Heathrow Airport kept passing the buck over who was responsible for financing the screens. This has now been rectified after intervention from the Home Secretary and now the desks are all fully staffed). Along with the arrival of extra flights laid on by the airlines to cope with the increased demand from passengers desperate to return home before the country they were in was placed on the red or amber list.

I've been through Heathrow since and I can assure you, my experience was nothing like those news reports. There's also no standard documentation for proof of a negative test. It all depends on who conducted the test and how they produce the results. Some passengers had the information in electronic form on their phones or tablets, others had it printed out on paper, all of which had to be checked by an agent along with a passport check and the passenger locator form both of which will still need to be done in the fast track line however this doesn't take long at all, all of 30 seconds in my case.