Wealthy travellers can pay £1,800 to jump long immigration queues at Heathrow airport.
The service, described as Heathrow's 'best kept' secret has outraged critics at a time when many passengers are forced to endure a three-hour wait to enter the country.
And it follows claims long queues and staff shortages have forced customs officials to stop screening travellers for arms and drugs.
Passengers who pay the £1,800 fee are whisked by limousine from their aircraft to a VIP suite, where they can sip champagne while their passports are checked and their luggage is brought to them.
The fee covers up to six passengers, who are given priority treatment, even if airport staff are stretched by long queues inside the terminal.
Staff shortages, caused by recent government cutbacks, have been blamed for weeks of chaos at Britain's airports.
Some travellers arriving in the UK have had to endure queues of three hours to pass through immigration, prompting huge numbers of complaints.
Police officers have been called in on several occasions in recent weeks to control impatient passengers who had attempted to force their way through immigration without having their passports checked.
The chaos has piled pressure on immigration minister Damian Green and critics are calling on Home Secretary Theresa May to intervene.
Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Commons transport select committee said the VIP offer 'shows the contempt for members of the public trying to get into the country.'
And Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told The Sunday Times: 'If the only way to avoid a nightmare queue is to fork out over £1,000 extra, Britain's reputation for travellers will be in shreds.'
A report in The Observer newspaper today claimed staff shortages are so severe at Heathrow, frontline officers have had to abandon screening for passengers smuggling arms and drugs into the UK.
A senior official, who chose to remain anonymous, told the newspaper Heathrow could be described as having 'no border controls' at all when it comes to smuggling.
2012-05-14 11:26 编辑：crystal156