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Fast-lane immigration service for VIPs to start at Narita, Kansai airports

37 Comments

Narita and Kansai international airports on Wednesday will open a special "fast lane" at immigration intended to decrease the amount of time spent in the airport for individuals visiting or leaving the country for conferences, meetings or other time sensitive activities.

In what will be Japan's first airport "fast lane," incoming VIP passengers will be able to utilize the lane not available to other passengers in order to speed up the immigration process at the airport, Sankei Shimbun reported.

According to airport officials, VIPs will be given a special ID card in advance by conference organizers or airlines. Upon arrival at Narita or Kansai, they simply show the ID coupon and will then be ushered to the fast lane to pass through immigration. The number of coupons will be limited to five per flight.

Some airports overseas, such as London's Heathrow Airport and Singapore's Changi Airport, already operate such lanes.

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37 Comments
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Rising inequality.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

How is the airline going to know the reason for travel? which airline company agreed to this? How about having more than 2-3 people working the immigration area when you've had 3 flights land within the same hour. Imagine the difference in wait time if twice the workforce was helping 400 people through immigration instead of segregating out a dozen or 2.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

How is one determined to be a vip?

I find the eijyu line quite fast.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Business class perk!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why not just let it be anyone willing to pay the paperwork costs and go through the interview as it is here in the U.S.?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

VIP = Very Insignificant Passenger

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Basically anyone in Business class, first class and diplomats can bypass the long queue. Japan should join the 21st century and get computerised immigration control. When I went back to the UK, using a computer to scan my passport and check my photo was a breeze.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The plutocracy is now truly entrenched. Why should they have to queue like us, the underclass? They have vitally important meetings to go to and our time is obviously nowhere near as precious or vital. They are important and privileged for a reason - they run the world and they got their through grit and determination and talent, it's a meritocracy and we should thank them for their magnanimity and benevolence in their rule over us. I for one, shall be clapping them through as I stand there in the slow lane with my jet lagged 1 year old (who desperately wants feeding and changing) after a 13 hour flight in cattle class. I could just about understand it if this was reserved for govt officials or scientists working for public bodies, etc, but it won't be, at least not in the long run. Expect CEOs and CFOs of multinationals and banks to naturally feel they have a right to it - and for the politicians in in their pocket to agree. Time is money, and shareholder bottom line is a legitimate reason to fast track them. Expect Soviet era special traffic lanes for corporate VIPs being chaffered in their modern day Zills.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

There already is a fast lane, and has been for at least 5 years now, but you had to register first. Registration takes all of 15 mins, and can be done at the airport.

I'm guessing that this new system just allows selected people to skip the registration step.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Are you kidding me? VIP passes for the airport? Who decides who is VIP? You have to show your bank account or how much time you are spending in the country?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Maybe it's a lottery system, haha! Dream on!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Just get your permanent residency. Those lines take 5 minutes.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Reza Rahman, Japan already has it. You have to spend a few minutes registering next time you go to Narita - at Immigration - and then you can scan your passport and fingers (for the prints) when entering / leaving, in a special lane. No cost for doing it. Only issue is, the fingerprint readers they use aren't good enough and sometimes don't work on dry fingers (dried out from a long flight).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yes, but they will still have to play luggage roulette like the rest of us! :D

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hope that no errors will be made.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dome of you arent ftequent flyers but these lines have been in existnce for years at airports around the world. Even Narita haw a special fadt s3curity check for first class and business passengers for years.

The articke here fails to mention there is a limit per airline, nor does it mention that vips already get escorts and can use apec vip lan3s that alr3ady exist.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Dan

You're absolutely right. Fly through the fast line only to wait with the masses for you luggage ^_^

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"VIP's" means actors, rich people, and politicians. Though developed countries are supposed to be places were people are free and equal, apparently some people are more equal than others.

This is mainly the result of celebrities who don't want to have to wait in line with us nobodies, and to actually have to walk through the same parts of the airport terminal that we do. I don't suppose I'll get to see Tom Cruise, Alice Cooper, or Wee Man waiting in line with me at the airport in the future. Quite a shame.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What self respecting VIP would use the same aircraft and airports as povs? I travel everywhere by private jet and avoid airports full of ordinary people altogether.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I find the eijyu line quite fast.

I have had the experience of being the only person - out of hundreds of other passengers - in the "residents" line. I got a lot of filthy looks for that one!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"VIP's" means actors, rich people, and politicians.

The article says individuals visiting or leaving the country for conferences, meetings or other time sensitive activities. ...VIPs will be given a special ID card in advance by conference organizers or airlines.

Googling 'Narita VIP' reveals that Narita Airport actually does have what they call 'fast track vip airport assistance', available to people travelling by any class, that includes being 'assisted' through security, check-in, customs and immigration; it seems to be aimed more at the elderly or infirm than at the rich and busy. This service does not, it says, include being fast-tracked through Immigration, but it also says that people 'whose presence in the immigration line could be disruptive (eg a well known celebrity)' may get special clearance. So sangetsu03 is unlikely to meet Tom Cruise standing in line at Immigration even without this new service for busy people.

http://naritavip.com/arrival-departure

The service at Heathrow, on the other hand, appears to be for People with Money and can be booked only by those travelling First or Business Class.

http://www.heathrowvip.com/#home

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@cleo - Heathrow VIP starts at £2,000 for a group of 3!

Star Alliance run a sort of Fast track at Narita for first/ business/ gold card members, but that is just for the security check, beyond that you are all the same.

Heathrow and Manchester have a similar system, and non-first or business class passengers can use it for a fee pre-booked.

All you get on arrival with Star Alliance for first/ business/ gold card members is priority baggage handling, i.e. your bags may get on the carousel first.

Wait until 2020 and the 'Olympic family' demand their express lanes in downtown Tokyo for their limos, express check-in and smiles at hotels...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just get your permanent residency. Those lines take 5 minutes. yeah immigration has been good to me they put me in either the Japanese national or gaijin line whichever is smaller!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Dan LewisMAR. 29, 2016 - 10:45AM JST Yes, but they will still have to play luggage roulette like the rest of us! :D

Don't think those people fly like the plebs, first or private jet, sure you get your luggage fast enough.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

According to airport officials, VIPs will be given a special ID card in advance

$9.90 on eBay.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wtfjapan - exactly!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan should join the 21st century and get computerised immigration control. When I went back to the UK, using a computer to scan my passport and check my photo was a breeze.

I returned to Britain briefly in February. Both the UK side and the Japanese side had electronic passport readers. Processing of non-citizens is much faster at both Narita and Haneda than it is at Heathrow.

As several commentators have noted, Japan has special preferential treatment for those with permanent residency. The UK does not. As a result even though I have British permanent residency I often stand in line for an hour or more at Heathrow.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I bet those special ID cards will never see the light of day in the economy section of the airlines.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just get your permanent residency. Those lines take 5 minutes.

You don't even need to be a PR, as long as you are a resident, you can register and use the automatic gates at the airports that have been in place for a couple of years now. Most foreigners don't know about them and just wait in the re-entry line, I breeze through the automatic gates.

As for this system mentioned here, such systems were in place already, it isn't uncommon to have a first class escort or VIP person go through the diplomatic/apec lines, now there's just a dedicated area for it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I went back to the UK, using a computer to scan my passport and check my photo was a breeze.

If non-Schengen UK can do it, so can Japan!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've got one of those "Global Entry" cards for re-entry into the U.S. I get to skip the long Customs line after answering a few questions at a kiosk in Baggage Claim. Doesn't work in Japan, though. :-(

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The VIPs already have too much privilege, think aobut the the normal people

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

wanderlustMAR. 29, 2016 - 02:10PM JST @cleo - Heathrow VIP starts at £2,000 for a group of 3! Star Alliance run a sort of Fast track at Narita for first/ business/ gold card members, but that is just for the security check, beyond that you are all the same.

Beyond getting through security, where does it matter? That's what takes too long. What, do you want them to then carry you on a palanquin to your gate? And if you are in First or Business or member of the Gold Bozo Club, you board first anyway.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Because VIPs need a little more privilege.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What, do you want them to then carry you on a palanquin to your gate?

Hmmm a palanquin.... That would be EXCELLENT! I can see it now, being carried by four flunkies of the airline! "FORWARD, PEONS! NO BREADCRUMBS FOR YOU IF I MISS EARLY BOARDING! REVEL IN MY GREATNESS!"

(Wait. Why did I just channel Donald Trump?)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

FAST LANE should be for people with infants and small kids, old people, handicapped and for military servicemen who just came from deployment and wanting to see their family so bad!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FAST LANE should be for people with infants and small kids

When my kids were in strollers, we were always taken to the front of lines when flying. It was great!

for military servicemen who just came from deployment and wanting to see their family so bad!

Everyone wants to see their family so bad. Why should servicemen get priority?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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