Home » Travel » Air Travel

First Day at Heathrow Airport' T5: Not The Finest Hour For the National Carrier

Apr 3, 2008
Today I must leave early. I have been trying to hide my head under the desk. I am avoiding the gazing eyes of Stevo. Being within his shooting range, I have not been very successful. Why all the fuss, you may ask. It is because only yesterday I paid a glowing tribute to Heathrow Airport and its reported sophistication and land mark opening of the multi-billion pound Terminal 5.

Now that he has made me swallow the humble pie, he wants me to put the record straight by informing the public that I was a little too quick off the blocks in my compliments to Heathrow Airport. Events at the airport yesterday seemed to obliterate the good name that the airport has build over the years. My assessment of the success of this project was based on the facts that Heathrow handles over 469,000 air transport movements a year, carrying nearly 68 million passengers around the world.

Since I don't think I've ever had such an enthusiastic apology, I hope I'm not being too basic, a partial apology won't atone for that. Initially the problem at Heathrow Airport was reported to be lack of parking for staff. The staff,reportedly,could not find parking spaces so they didn't report to their duty station on time. But this rumour has not been confirmed. What has been confirmed is the slow check-in and the difficulties experienced by those wishing to use the new security check-in facilities. So as the queue of those leaving lengthened, so was the one for those arriving as they waited for their bags. Then all other systems failed. The scenario was quickly undermined by one glitch after another, begging the question what contingency measures had been in place.

To put it in perspective, Thursday the 27th of March 2008 was supposed to mark a new era for BA. More than 40,000 passengers and 534 flights were due to pass through the new terminal on its opening day. It was the day the terminal was to start functioning in handling the projected 30 million passengers each year. With a 400-meter-long (quarter-mile-long) terminal, T5 is the largest freestanding building in Britain. There are 60 aircraft gates attached to the terminal. The facility cost 4.3-billion pounds ($8.6 billion) and took over 2 decades to complete. There are 112 shops and restaurants, including British chef Gordon Ramsay's first airport eatery. A sophisticated luggage system, supposed to handle 12,000 bags an hour, is installed. This was intended to dramatically improve the luggage performance of airport operator BAA and British Airways.

It was supposed to be a historical day but it wasn't to be. Actually the Chief Executive, in delivering apologies for the chaos, said that this day was not the finest hour for the national carrier, the British Airways. But this system collapsed. The luggage was stuck in the monstrous baggage system. A computer problem meant some flights departed with no bags at all, and escalators and elevators stopped working. The nagging question now is how will the travellers be re-united with their bags having travelled to hundreds of destinations without them?

At least 33 flights were canceled at T5 Thursday and there were long lines at check-in desks. The scenario at Heathrow has been described as shambolic. Even if passengers on those flights were found seats on other planes, this is a bad experience for the thousands who were caught in the fiasco. Passengers on Thursday's cancelled flights were offered 100 pounds towards the cost of overnight accommodation by the airline, but travellers reported that local hotels were charging up to twice that figure.This was a boon for airport hotels. They were heavily booked. At least on this account I am vindicated. I have always proposed, to those who are able, booking of an airport hotel and airport parking as a away of mitigating against such eventualities.

All major projects have teething problems. I think the airport will bounce back and redeem its reputation.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 192
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources