Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


IDEAS: Heathrow Trials Pre-Booked Security Slots

9 months ago

Heathrow has announced that it is trialing an initiative that allows passengers travelling through the airport to pre-book their security slots ahead of their journeys.

Credit: Heathrow

It is hoped that the service, known as ‘Heathrow Timeslot‘, will offer travellers more peace of mind when moving through the airport as well as helping to reduce queue times.

Currently live in Terminal 3, the trial is set to run for the next six months and will be open to passengers travelling with American Airlines, Delta, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic.

“Everyone is familiar with airport security, but at Heathrow we’re constantly thinking of innovative ways to boost the safety and streamline the experience for our passengers. This new trial will give passengers that extra added bit of certainty and reassurance ahead of their journey and we think it will be particularly popular for those with families or nervous travellers who may want a bit more confidence in their journeys. We look forward to seeing the data come in to give us some learnings on how we can roll this out more widely across Heathrow,” said Mark Powell, operational planning director at Heathrow.

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

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Emirates Rejects London Heathrow Passenger Caps

2 years ago

Emirates is appealing to travelers’ heartstrings in an effort to avoid implementing schedule cuts at London Heathrow that are sought by the airport operator to avoid further operational meltdowns this summer.

“Emirates believes in doing the right thing by our customers,” the Dubai-based airline said Thursday. “However, re-booking the sheer numbers of potentially impacted passengers is impossible with all flights running full for the next weeks, including at other London airports and on other airlines.”

“We reject these demands,” Emirates went on to say in response to Heathrow’s request to cut capacity and stop selling seats on its flights to the airport through September 11. It called the request as “unreasonable and unacceptable” and “with blatant disregard for consumers.”

A model Emirates aircraft sits at the entrance to London Heathrow airport (Cityswift/Flickr)

Heathrow has been dogged by the operational issues that plague European air travel this summer. Images of piles of lost luggage have grabbed headlines, while travelers have also faced long queues, as well as flight delays and cancellations that are mostly attributed to staffing shortfalls. The airport’s largest airline, British Airways, has cut its Heathrow capacity by 13 percent from pre-summer plans through October.

Emirates, for its part, said that its ground handling provider at Heathrow, Dnata, is fully staffed.

What happens next between Emirates and Heathrow is unclear. The airline said the airport threatened “legal action” if it did not comply with the request to reduce seats and stop sales. However, a court case could take some time to reach a conclusion, potentially longer than the caps are in place. In addition, slots — or the right for an airline to land or takeoff at an airport — at Heathrow are managed by Airport Coordination Limited, and not by the airport itself.


UK Speeds Up Security Checks for New Airport Workers Amid Staffing Shortages

2 years ago

The UK government is accelerating national security checks for new airport employees to tackle staffing shortages that have contributed to a chaotic summer for travelers in the country and throughout Europe.

The country has sped up the vetting process all new aviation recruits must undergo, with accreditation checks being completed on average within five days and counter-terrorist checks taking less than 10 days — half of the average in March, according to the Department of Transport.

A common scene at airports this summer (Courtesy: Mark Hodson Photos/Flickr)

Staffing shortages have driven London’s Gatwick and Heathrow Airports to limit the flights the number during the summer travel season to avoid overcrowding. In addition, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told airlines to stop selling tickets for flights they cannot staff.