Heathrow Airport / security check caused me to lose my flight

GB Review updated:

This is a complained I have just sent to Heathrow, and since I still have an hour of sitting around missing work waiting for the next available flight, I thought the least I could do was tell others what to expect in Heathrow airport.

Today I missed my flight to Glasgow and was late for work, due to the airport security, who not only conducted unnecessary search of me and inappropriate search of my luggage but also had no regard to my constant reminders that my flight will be boarding soon.

Once the scanner beeped and the female officer searched me, she decided I was wearing a corset and had to be put through a personal search. . I said I wasn't wearing a corset ( I didn't know such things exist anymore!) and was told I have to go through a personal search.NOT the full body scan, no, only a PERSONAL search would determine the truth of the matter.

I was then taken to a room with two female officers, WITHOUT ANY OF MY BELONGINGS. I was told to leave my handbag with my passport and boarding pass behind, while it was still going though the security scanner. So I was taken away from any form of identification I own and walked into a room leaving it all behind, which left me without a passport or phone inside an airport and my bags unattended and out of my reach.

Inside the room she discovered at last that I wasn't wearing a corset. What she had mistaken for it was a simple wired bra. Instead of giving me the papers I needed to sign, she then decided to LECTURE ME ON WHAT TO WEAR FOR FLYING. When I said that I need to sign and leave because my flight was about to start boarding in a few minutes, she became irate and lost all semblance of professionalism, raised her voice and begun repeating herself in accounting a long list of appropriate and not appropriate airport wear. Many precious minutes later I continued to ask for the paper I was supposed to sign while, the lecture was being repeated in even higher volumes, with the added pleasantness of 'you are making yourself late for your flight if you are not listening to me' and 'you are very rude, you probably don't have many friends do you?' Apparently reminding an airport employee that my flight is probably already boarding is ground for a criticism of my social life?

The other officer at this point, probably realizing I was being held in the room much longer than required, since the 'search' (AKA the lifting up of my dress to show that I was not wearing a corset, that's all that happened search -wise) had finished a good ten minutes ago, finally begun handing me the papers where my signature (and other irrelevant infromation like my ethnic origin and skin colour) were needed.

I had to read the papers to the best of my ability WHILE SHE WAS STILL SHOUTING OVER MY HEAD about not wearing wired bras if I don't want to be late for my flight, which meant I have no idea what I was signing on that paper. I haven't yet learned to read official documents under duress but maybe that's a new skill I need to acquire to fly from Heathrow form now on. Because she never gave me time to read and sign, she just kept repeating the lecture a tenth time round for good measure.

With the papers signed she could no longer keep me in the room so she had to stop shouting and let the other officer take me out. Please note that the 'search' part of this procedure took 5 seconds (lift up dress, 'Oh look, no corset!' and pull down dress) while the aggravating shouting/ signature delaying part took more than 15 minutes. Because by the time I was out, my flight was not already boarding, it was on final call.

And of course I could not go to the flight, BECAUSE MY UNATTENDED HANDBAG WAS NOT THERE. I was left without a passport or phone or money or any kind of id in the middle of the airport, looking for my partner who I was hoping had picked up my bag for me.

When I eventually found him, (after we had both missed our flight which closed in the next 15 minutes, because he was looking for me at the full body scanner assuming that's where I had been taken, without imagining I had been whisked off to some top secret corset apprehending security room) I learned that MY BAG HAD ALSO BEEN SEARCHED WITHOUT ME PRESENT.

Specifically, after I had been taken away, while my handbag was still being scanned, he had been asked if this is his bag. He said no, it's my partner's. Then he was asked if it has anything sharp in it. He said I do not know, it's not my bag, should you be asking me this? Then the bag was opened, and searched, to discover the sharp item was my pump heals- AND HANDED TO HIM. Obviously the security officer decided that a man lingering around a woman's handbag means he can take it, just by saying he is dating the girl it belongs to. EVEN THOUGH THE ACTUAL OWNER IS NO WHERE TO BE SEEN.

I am logging this complaint because I have not only been late in the office this morning, but my partner had to cancel 3 hours worth of meetings as well, which were actually the reason we were flying to Glasgow.

I want to know exactly what will happen to ensure these two airport employees will never again cause someone else to miss their flight. I also want to know what my compensation will be for this ordeal. Therefore, I very much DO require a response, thank you.

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  • An
      Oct 26, 2012

    Please refrain from giving flying time advice to someone who boards a plane 3 times a month. You don't know what time I arrived so you can't comment. I can tell you that I arrived the same time as always for my 7am flight, I wasnt late. I do the airport security procedure like clockwork for years now, since my work requires frequent travel within europe and without. The only other time I have ever missed a flight is once when I was a student and that was 10 years ago. If the security check hadn't taken 20 minutes I would have enough time to sit and read an entire newspaper with my morning coffee outside the gate as I always do. So shut up when you don't know what you are talking about.
    For the nothing and nothing answer, yes they did. They should have waited for me to pick up my bag after it was scanned. That is the correct procedure and they didn't follow it. I have been taken for a full body scan a million times before and the SO will ask you to please take your belongings for the scanner before you follow him wherever he needs to take you next. The fact that I was left stranded without a passport in an airport during a security check is a grave mistake.
    Also the fact that they removed me from my bag, thus making my bag an item of unattended luggage.

    And most importantly, the mistake is the attitude. It is not her job to spend 15 minutes in a room berating someone for wearing a wired bra. Her problem was that she thought the wired bra was a corset and she was proved wrong, so she felt she had to justify herself by shouting. For a long long time. This is where the need for this complaint comes in. Security officers are there to protect airoplane passengers from a real threat, not harass those who clearly pose no danger.

    -1 Votes
  • An
      Oct 26, 2012

    And to anyone genuinely looking for information on other appalling encounters with Heathrow security staff, in case you came out of that hell pit feeling emotionally violated and having missed a flight or having come very close to it, here's some other instances--

    To any potential time wasters who pass their time reading complaint boards just for the hell of it (and not because something actually happened to them and they googled the complaints procedure for their personal incident), feel free to keep writing to my post and to every other post that entertained your boredom; I'm out of here, done what I came here to do, and won't be reading you any more.

    0 Votes
  • Ty
      Jul 14, 2016

    I had the same problem but worse on the 5th of April this month i got news that my brother in law had been in a fatal bike accident in the uk, i live in sweden so I packed my bags asap to get next flight home, my sister had called me sounding very upset and has two kids by the way that are very young, i got to airport terminal 5 and need to get the shuttle bus to 3, after not sleeping snd traveling sll night to get home I finally got on thf shuttle bus, i was standing in the front of a over loaded shuttle when i saw a cargo carrier coming towards us on other side of the road, as it was about to pass us a load fell off, causing it to hit the bus and us to go flying, I witnessed the whole thing after hearing sich hard news the day b4, the driver pulled over and was in such shock, the airport manager came and was very rude, saying we need to stay there etc honestly i was so upset as i just wanted to get home and see my family, after fighting with him abit the whole bus full of passengers was getting angry at this point as we were going to miss our flights, he then asked if anyone was hurt and i put my gand up as I suffer from, pain in my neck as a result of a broken arm i had a few uears back, im a chef by the way so that my earnings i will lose, he thrn repeatedly was very ride amd said because i have been hurt i will cost all these people to miss there flights, i then stated that i had been hurt and i was upset as i had just witnessed an accident after hearing about my brother in law of 22years the day b4, I finally got my details taken and his name etc and i got in touch with a lawyer and waiting to hear back as its really still hunts me to this day, i csnt sleep and im struggling at work. Hope you grt what you deserve in compensation

    0 Votes

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