Hopefully, your answer to that question is no.
In May, a senior executive at the IATA (International Air Transport Association) told Fortune.com that the British government had reneged on commitments made to airlines to provide a sufficient number of customs agents to avoid hour-long or longer waits at Heathrow. Not long after, as the summer heated up, the airport’s infernal passport queues were described as being “at a crisis point,” which may explain why Heathrow regularly receives miserable passenger reviews.
But behind every poor service crisis, there apparently lurks an opportunity to make money. Some thought that the British government was going to purposefully make the airport situation unbearable and use the crisis at the passport control center as an opportunity to collect revenue from inconvenienced passengers who were hoping to avoid the (government-induced) inconvenience the next time they flew.
For the tidy sum of 70 British pounds (about $93), that program gives you a one-year pass to use machines which allow members to jump the customs line if their passports have chips in them. It also includes the privilege of using the U.K./EU lines and not filling out landing cards if the machines aren’t available or their passports are not chip-equipped. After the first year, you can renew as a registered traveler by paying 50 pounds more for another 12 months.
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