Airport security expert lists simple tips for passengers to ease lengthy queues

The scenes from some of the UK’s biggest airports in recent days have been described as chaotic, with delays and huge queues. Problems have been blamed on staff shortages following the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in security.

British Airways also already cancelled another 74 flights scheduled for Thursday, while easyJet has grounded 52. Airports, especially Manchester, Heathrow and Birmingham are expected to remain busy, especially for check-in and pre-departure security clearance.

Shahzad Ali, chief executive at security training experts Get Licensed, said the industry was failing to keep pace with needs for experienced personnel increasing all all sectors. He said: “The airport queues are down to a number of factors, but the main one is due to lack of security personnel.

“Staffing and recruitment issues have affected every sector as we see a return to normality following the pandemic, but one industry still catching up is security. This causes major issues, especially when security is vital in almost every sector – from supermarkets to travel. The rate the industry is recruiting is not keeping pace with business demand.”

Get Licensed has listed its top tips on making the airport experience smoother and less stressful with essential advice for passengers planning to jet away in the coming weeks.

  • Don’t arrive too early – One strategy is to turn up well ahead of a flight. However, this adds to the pressure of the earlier departures, which can cause extra delays.
  • Prepare – It makes it so much easier and quicker for security to prepare carry-on luggage and remove any restricted items. Wear sensible shoes, slip on are the easiest, and remove any jewellery, belts and glasses. Make sure liquids are contained in a clear plastic bag. Take an extra 10 minutes to prepare and make everything quicker for yourself and security.
  • Clear tray and belongings – Make sure the clear plastic bag isn’t covered up by anything in the tray as it goes through the scanner. If it’s seen to be covered or looks like it is hidden inside a bag, you are more likely to be stopped and checked. Make sure your clear plastic bag and belongings are separate in a tray.
  • Fast-track security – You can often pay for fast-track security which is around £4. Check the departure airport’s website for the most recent prices. Keep in mind that airports often cap the number so it doesn’t always accelerate the process.

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  • Speak up – If you have a valid excuse and are in need of getting through quicker, just ask as you may be allowed to jump the queue. You might not, however, get sympathy from the others in the queue.
  • One security guard – Often if there is more than one security officer at an x-ray machine chances are one is a trainee, so the line may go a little slower.
  • Spot the right queue – Believe it or not, business travellers usually get through security quicker as they have less baggage. When picking a queue try to keep an eye out for business flyers.
  • Hold back the yawns – Excessive yawning, whistling or even too much laughter has been reported as just a few reasons why you could be questioned by security, but of course it depends on the officer.

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.

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Tips for avoiding a lengthy wait at London Heathrow immigration

Tips for avoiding a lengthy wait at London Heathrow immigration

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Lengthy traffic queues at Gatewarth Tip

LENGTHY traffic queues were forming at Warrington’s Gatewarth Tip as soon as it opened at 8am earlier today, Bank Holiday Monday.

Warrington Borough Council’s community recycling centres at Stockton Heath, Gatewarth and Woolston community recycling centres (CRCs) are open for essential trips only during the COVID pandemic.
The council is urging residents to only visit the CRCs for an essential need to dispose of household waste.

There are strict restrictions and traffic management in place on-site, so people should only travel to the recycling centre if any of your household waste cannot be safely stored at home.
For full details visit

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Fly-tipping reported nine times a day in Blackpool as motorists face lengthy tip queues during pandemic

Incidents in neighbouring Wyre were reported four times a day on average, and reports came in twice a day in Fylde during the same period.

Last weekend saw long queues of cars waiting to responsibly dispose of rubbish at Bristol Avenue tip in Bispham – as fly-tipping numbers fell by 249 in the borough compared with 2018/19.

But one offender was taken to court by Blackpool Council last year, at a cost of £150, and was given an £80 fine.

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Fly tipping in Thornton.
Fly tipping in Thornton.

Long queues for Bristol Avenue tip highlighted resort residents’ responsible actions, Councillor Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives at Blackpool Council, said.

“It’s encouraging to see that the number of fly tipping incidents is reducing but it’s still high,” Coun Williams added.

“I think Blackpool residents are becoming more responsible when it comes to disposing of their unwanted rubbish but rogue traders are still trying to save a few pounds by illegally tipping debris from their work on our streets and green spaces.

“Council officers have been vigilant in bringing these offender to court and some hefty fines have been given out. Also, there are more resident CCTV cameras and video door bells in our neighbourhoods, so any blatant fly tippers are more easily caught in the act.

“I do think Blackpool needs an extra recycling station in the south end of town. It’s along way to travel from places like Squires Gate to Bristol Avenue tip to dispose of small amounts of rubbish, so obviously the temptation is there to get rid of it on the way.

“Maybe the council could introduce ‘amnesty days’ for certain types of traders or review their off-peak charges to encourage more people to tip rather than dump.”

Coun Jim Hobson, cabinet member for Climate Change and Environment at Blackpool Council, added: “We’ve had a really busy weekend down at Bristol Avenue tip. The good weather has obviously inspired a lot of people to have a spring clean and clear out.

“We would always expect it to be busy at this time of year but the Covid safety measures that we’ve put in place have led to longer queues than normal.

“On behalf of the staff down at the site I’d like to thank residents for their patience. Everyone using the tip this weekend has been good-natured and appreciated that they may have to wait a little longer than normal while we have reduced capacity.

“The tip team has done a great job and have been walking down the queue to keep people updated and even stayed open later on Sunday to make sure no-one left with waste still in their car.

“There is never an excuse for fly-tipping. For people without cars we have Rover, our mobile recycling unit, travelling across the town five days a week.

“Fly-tipping in back alleys can be anything from one black bin bag to a whole van of dumped waste. Whatever the size it is illegal and a blight on the community. We need the help of our residents to be vigilant and report it to us via our website.”

Alleyways proved the most problematic areas for the Fylde coast last year, with rubbish found strewn behind houses accounting for over 70 per cent of reports in both Blackpool and Wyre – 78 per cent and 72 per cent respectively.

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy said the crime was being driven by conmen, who offer to remove household rubbish for a fee but dump it illegally.

On some occasions enough waste was dumped to fill tipper lorries – costing local authorities significant amounts to remove.

Some £17,250 was forked out by Blackpool Council after lorries were tasked with clearing fly-tipped items 138 times.

Tippers were needed 19 times in Wyre, costing the council £6,300, but in Fylde just one lorry was required, costing £150.

A spokesman for Wyre Council said: “Fly tipping can easily be avoided if we all follow the SCRAP rules, suspect all waste carriers, check their registration details, refuse unexpected offers to take waste, ask what will happen to your waste and paperwork should be obtained.

“Last year, our Cleaner Greener Project officer, worked with residents who were fed up of fly tipping taking place and wanted to take back their alley – the results were outstanding and the group were shortlisted in the National Keep Britain Tidy Awards.

“We would like to support more residents who are committed to making a difference with their neighbours by transforming other alleyways when Covid regulations allow.

“Wyre Council continues to engage, advise and take enforcement action where necessary to prevent this, but we really need the support of local people to step forward and speak up when they see fly tipping.”

Fylde Council did not respond to a request for comment.

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