Report: UK Airport Staff Detained White Fliers to Avoid Bias Claims

Heathrow International Airport
Suzanne Plunkett | Getty Images
Heathrow International Airport

There's more bad press today for British airports, which already have endured nearly a month of critical reports as the Olympics loom this summer.

The latest comes today from The Times of London, which reports:

White airline passengers are being discriminated against by border officials fearful of being accused of race discrimination when they question black travelers.

The newspaper says that revelation came during a government inspection at London's Gatwick Airport, where the Times says "the tactic was being used for flights arriving from the Caribbean."

"This involved detaining white passengers purely to avoid potential race discrimination complaints when there was an intention to question black passengers,' John Vine, chief inspector of the U.K. Border Agency, is quoted by the Times as saying in a report.

The Border Agency report also found other issues. Among them: international passengers arriving with marijuana who "were allowed into the country with a warning even though the law says that they should be arrested," the Times writes.

The report also was critical of immigration staffing, finding that – on certain days – staffing increased as the number of arriving passengers dropped but then dropped ahead of the next surge of arriving fliers.

Just last month, London Mayor Boris Johnson went public with criticism that long delays for passengers arriving at London Heathrow were so bad that it risked hurting Britain's reputation during the run-up to this summer's Olympic Games.