Travel expert shares how to avoid ‘significant delays’ at Heathrow

Security staff at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 will go on strike today for 10 days over pay, after each side failed to reach an agreement during talks. The airport has warned passengers they could face longer queues at security during the busy Easter holiday period.

Nicky Kelvin, head of the Points Guy and travel expert, said that British Airways customers might find their flight is cancelled.

The flag carrier has already cancelled flights ahead of the action and passengers should have been informed.

Nicky added: “The other way in which travellers will be impacted is for those who are going to still be travelling through Terminal 5 because of the strike action.

“They may experience significant delays at security checkpoints due to the reduced number of staff available to manage and staff those security points.”

British travellers are no strangers to long delays at security as staff shortages led to chaos at several UK airports last summer.

Nicky shared his top advice to beat the queues at Heathrow this Easter and said it was “more important than ever” to be efficient.

He said: “Travellers should be ready to remove laptops and other electrical items from bags which need to be scanned individually and ensure they are only carrying liquids of 100ml or less.

“All liquids should be under 100ml and should all fit into one of the small, clear plastic bags which are issued at the airport.

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“If passengers have the bags prepared ahead of time, either at home, or before they join the queue at security, then they can simply place items in the trays as required.

“This reduces the chance of their bags getting searched and causing additional security checks which causes significant additional delays for both that passenger and others behind them.”

Preparing for security ahead of time can make the process a lot smoother for every tourist in the line.

British tourists could use their own reusable clear bag for security which is also better for the environment.

Electronics will also need to be removed from hand luggage so it’s a good idea to keep them at the top of the bag.

Nicky added: “Arriving too early could potentially cause excessive crowds in the terminal but not allowing enough time could mean there is not sufficient time to get through all the security checks pre departure – so leaving three to four hours for long-haul flights is always prudent.

“Even if you have priority security, for example access to the First Wing which is for First Class Passengers and Gold Card Holders of British Airways, these check points could be busy or potentially even closed. Travellers should be prepared for delays at other priority security lanes.”

Passengers should arrive at least two hours ahead of time for a short-haul flight to give themselves enough time to process through security.

Nicky said that “airline and airport websites should be the main source of information for passengers”.

He added: “Twitter is also a great resource to see what it’s like live on the ground in the airport, to see if there are huge queues or to see how the situation is developing.”

British tourists could also face disruption or cancellations as a result of air traffic control staff striking in France.

Ryanair and easyJet have warned passengers that flights could be affected by the industrial action.

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