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Heathrow Airport and related matters

Eddie Mair | 16:36 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2007

We're debating them on the programme tonight: what's YOUR experience and viewpoint?

Comments

  1. At 04:55 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Well, as it's the airport I tend to fly to & from (including my "jaunt" to the US this saturday) I'll be listening closely to this piece. Do you want to elaborate a bit more about what you'll be talking about?

    FFred

  2. At 05:16 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The day that the last airport closes forever will be the day Gaia dances.
    xx
    ed

  3. At 05:16 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    A picture is wrth a thousand words...
    ;-)
    ed

  4. At 05:35 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Wonko wrote:

    I hold with Douglas Adams's take on airports:

    "It cannot be coincidence that no culture on Earth has, as yet, developed the phrase: 'As pretty as an airport.'"

    He goes on to comment that:

    "The designers tend to expose the plumbing at every opportunity on the grounds that it is 'functional' - while hiding the departure gates, presumably on the grounds that they are not."

    ;o) []

  5. At 05:36 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Heathrow Airport: Dante's Inferno made flesh.

  6. At 05:41 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Tony Gardner wrote:

    How can ANY airport talk about security when EVERY airport concourse (between the entrance and the check-in) has millions of people wandering about with totally unchecked baggage, the securioty measures being aimed torally at the 'airside'...

    I live in Belgium

    Best Wishes

  7. At 05:42 PM on 14 Jun 2007, PETE wrote:

    whenever i arrive at heathrow i thank god i am an EEC passport holder....

  8. At 05:43 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Don't start me.

    Once I get on to the subject of airports, you will never stop me.

    Don't. Go. There.

    Fifi

  9. At 05:44 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Nice Lass wrote:

    Why does it not suprise me to hear the Donal Dowds has now been handed the reins down there? Look at the state he left Glasgow and Edinburgh in!

  10. At 05:44 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Tom Oliva wrote:

    The state of Heathrow passport control is woeful - I've lost count of the numbr of times where half a dozen passport officers have been sat staring into space at the almost empty non-EU desks and a couple of officers have been slowly working through a backlog of several hundred EU passport holders zigzaged back though to the entrance corridor.

    They don't seem to want to change the barriers around to adjust to the numbers - just imagine if this happened at your local supermarket - Club Card holders having to wait 10 times longer to process their transactions? Then they essentially put up signs telling you that complaining will be constued as an assault!

    This isn't rocket science.........

  11. At 05:44 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Patricia wrote:

    On the subject of BAA greed - it seems to me that they are only concerned with ensuring we spend as much money as possible. When you finally get through to the Departure "Lounge" you are assaulted by a multiplicity of shops and the unpleasant smell of fast food. Try and find your departure gate! Its a little door hidden between the retail outlets - a very secondary afterthought.

  12. At 05:44 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Matthew French wrote:

    I always choose to fly from Heathrow, sure it needs a bit of renovation, but at the end of the day it is connected directly to the London underground. Most airports suffer from the same problems as Heathrow. The security checks have always been the bottle neck. At least in Heathrow the signs are good at directing you in the right direction unlike Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt to name but two airports.

  13. At 05:44 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Local wrote:

    FFred: Please elaborate!

  14. At 05:45 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Neil Oliver wrote:

    Hi,

    Our family arrived at Heathrow last Wed. from Hong Kong, and previously Melbourne.

    I was embarrassed and disgusted at the tatty, dark, shambolicc airport.

    We waited nearly two hours for luggage to arrive on the carousel, there was already unattended luggage on from the last flight.


    The airport looked tired and tatty and I really felt 'back in Britain'.

    A completely pathetic advert for 250 Australians & SE Asians on the flight.

    56th I'd rate it lower than Nicaragua, which I visited in 1990!

    I'll try and leave/return to UK via Paris or Dussoldorf next time.

    Cheers

    Neil

  15. At 05:45 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Kevin, Malvern wrote:

    Heathrow is more like a cattle market than an airport. The only reason I use it is that tour operators charge extra to fly from regional airports.

  16. At 05:49 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Geoffrey Palmer wrote:

    You can include Gatwick in your BAA discussion. I use it every week.

    I have experienced security delays of up to two hours. These are clearly due to lack of staff. Complaints are always dismissed arrogantly.

    Also, I believe that BAA are exploiting the security situation by selling expensive water from their machines after passing through security

  17. At 05:50 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Steve Mullaney wrote:

    I can only agree with everything Tony Adams has said about Heathrow. As a long-term British Airways Gold card holder, I am sick to death of the cabal of BAA/BA and others over Heathrow. This myth that the whole country will become bankrupt if LHR doesn't continue to grow endlessly. I live in Croydon and avoid LHR like the plague and utilise Gatwick. BA has additionally always had a LHR-centric focus and even seems to deliberatly go out of its way to make the Gatwick operation "appear" to be unprofitable by continually moving services to LHR.
    The morning long-haul arrival congestion at LHR is horrendous: I have waited 90 minutes to disembark from a 7 hour flight from New York due to the completely stuffed-up logistics by BA and BAA.
    Would certainly want to see a split in ownership and a freeze on LHR growth (no third runway)
    The place is a hellish continual maze of building and demolision works, bussing to/from planes that do not have a jetway.
    It is a fact that BAA have made more money from retail than landing charges for some years now.
    The place is tatty and rundown and I'm sick of hearing that T5 is the panacea to all ills.

  18. At 05:52 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Nick Schon wrote:

    Heathrow is a national scandal. It looks like a 1960's council office. If an supposed to welcome people to your country, what sort of a statement is this? If you want to see what it should be, visit Schipol in Amsterdam, or Frankfurt am Main. They are modern, efficient and spacious, and not a stained carpet tile in sight.

  19. At 05:53 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Linda James wrote:

    HEATHROW - think Orwellian nightmare and that's it!
    My partner and I endured the tortuous snaking queues without screaming, but when staff started shouting NO BOTTLES OVER 10 MM ALLOWED constantly in our ears and I had all my numerous lotions confiscated by a woman who would have fitted into the regime of a concentration camp extremely well, we stumbled onto the plane with stress spiking every part of our bodies. Then we sat in cramped seats for 1 and a half hours before the plane took off! An experience we will NEVER REPEAT.

  20. At 05:54 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Nic wrote:

    Why go thro expensive, crowded, overtaxed, rude .. LHR?

    My parents now travel from Australasia into Paris / AMS / Rome - we now have to meet them on the Continent!

    Well done BAA and Gordon Brown!!!

    Good luck London 2012 ... got a hard road to ....

  21. At 05:54 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Iona wrote:

    i went on a plane for the first time in February on a school trip, i had heard that heathrow was bad but it was better than i had expected. I was surprised. However arriving back in heathrow i had to wait for ages for my bag to come.

  22. At 05:56 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    Heathrow is the worst major international airport (followed by CDG)...we fly a great deal for work and we're actually planning a house move so that we can use Gatwick instead. That's how bad Heathrow is! Best, Paul

  23. At 06:00 PM on 14 Jun 2007, P.K.Chakraverty. MBE wrote:

    I listened to the debate & comments on Heathrow Airport this evening with great interest. I happen to agree with Eddie Mair's point, "...you have the space, but you choose to fill it with retail....". I spent 31 of my total working life of 36 years at Heatrow with HM Customs Law Enforcement and I feel that I know Heathrow better than my own house. Since privatisation, Heathrow Airport Ltd have been pushing relentlessly towards tramsforming the airport into a large shopping mall and every one of their efforts is directed towrds enhancing the profit. This they do at the expense of the passengers, who have no option but to endure their hardship. But, isn't that privatisation all about?!! Just make prifit, no matter at what cost!!!

  24. At 06:00 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Polly wrote:

    Heathrow is awful. But its more for the fact that everything costs a fortune. How much money must the shops have made since you cannot take bottles of water through security. I took an empty bottle through thinking I'd fill it up on the 'other' side. Yet I could find nowhere to do this. Is this legal? I thought access to water was a fundamental right. But i could take half a litre through in five 100 ml bottles? What?

    Anyway, in my humble opinion Heathrow is awful but it isn't as bad as some of the terminals at JFK. I've been to better developing world airports.

    And at least in Britain you can be in transit and not have to go through customs, get fingerprinted, pick up your bags, check them in again, go through customs, get asked stupid questions about why the address you passport is registered to isn't the same as your bank account that you bought your ticket from, umm people move?...All of this just to get on the same plane again to continue your journey three hours later.

    'What is the purpose of your visit to the USA?'

    'I'm not going to the USA, I'm going to New Zealand.'

    'Where are you staying in the USA?'

    'LAX airport'

    'How long are you staying in the USA?'

    'Two hours and forty five minutes.'

  25. At 06:04 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Christopher Williams wrote:

    Heathrow does more nuisance to the people who live near it than to the 'customers' who pass through it, and it will do a lot more to many more inhabitants of the Greater London area unless the government's plan to capitulate to BAA and the aviation industry is reversed. Flying is not the transport mode of the future (except for a reduced number of intercontinental journeys), and we have to look for healthier ways of getting around.

  26. At 06:05 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Save yourself all that trouble. Don't fly.
    xx
    ed

  27. At 06:06 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Jonathan Chester Sulkin wrote:

    Re LHR security

    I accept the airport is the most busy and one of the largest airport in the world BUT it is all about people.

    The security staff at LHR are offensive + discourteous and compared to similar staff in Europe and SE Asia they exhibit a total lack of respect

    They appear to be totally unsupervised and disinterested in the passengers they are meant to protect

  28. At 06:11 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Laurie Stone wrote:

    I wonder how many of the unfortunates who travel through Heathrow started or will finish their journeys from some other part of the country nearer another perfectly serviceable airport. Perhaps we should start forceably resdestributing flights to those other airports.

  29. At 06:57 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Keith Hodkinson wrote:

    I travel probably 50 times a year but not via LHR if I can avoid it.

    LHR's inherent problems due to its old and poorly maintained facilities (check out the floors) are exacerbated by the failure to staff all the available security machines (only half of them staffed last week when I came through) and the woeful lack of immigration officers at peak times (three desks for three or four 747s last week), combined with BAA greed. You wait in a hopelessly small seurity waiting area before being released into a retail zone occupying approximately four or five times the area where you can buy all the things you are not allowed to take through security. Inconsistent security practices between different queues don't help to keep people calm.

    Getting to LHR by tube is hot and slow and the Heathrow Express takes you to one of the least convenient termini in London. Taxis bankrupt you before you leave the airport perimeter.

    LHR transfers are a further nightmare because of the failure to invest in a decent connection system - even CDG has done something about that.

    As others have said, I too now use LHR as a very last resort, preferring to go from a regional airport such as MAN (a long way away) or LBA (KLM flights are too often cancelled or delayed for fog or overbooked plus there's appalling KLM service) direct to my final destination; or, if no direct flight is available, via CDG or AMS for onward longhaul.

    However now LBA-Paris flights seem to be off and the menu options are narrowing. BA's policy of focussing on LHR is damaging choice and flexibility.

  30. At 07:07 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Gary Todd wrote:

    Listening to the people on PM going on about Heathrow airport and queuing, Have these people never been to the USA? I don’t think they know what a queue is!

  31. At 07:16 PM on 14 Jun 2007, John wrote:

    Heathrow is trully chaotic, and the worst major airport I have flown through.

    From Edinburgh, we used to always have to fly through London. Now, thank goodness, we have options of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, Frankfurt and others.

    BAA should be ashamed!

  32. At 07:27 PM on 14 Jun 2007, John H. wrote:

    Apologies for not reading everybody's comments before I post this, but whilst I don't travel a lot, I do have to travel with work. My experience is that UK airports, and the London ones in particular are utterly miserable. I haven't done the proper research into this, but I'm always left with the feeling that 2 things contribute to this: the decor (and its state) and particularly the use of carpet. Some of the European airports I've been to leave you with the sense of huge open clean spaces but I don't think you can get that when you put carpet on the floor. Minor moan, but I've been saying it to Mrs H for years so the chance to say it where it actually makes a small contribution to the discussion is too good to miss!

  33. At 07:36 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Christian Hollyer wrote:

    Below is a copy of a letter I wrote to the BAA and the DfT last month. I had to prompt BAA for an acknowledgement of receipt but that is the only response so far!

    'I have previously written to the BAA to complain about, in particular, a filthy toilet at London Gatwick; and in general, about the general tackiness of our “flagship” airports. I am often appalled at the state of facilities, particularly toilet facilities offered to those passengers not fortunate enough to use the airport lounges (I do not always have that opportunity but it is welcome when available). Terminal 4’s baggage collection area is particularly gross.

    My recent experience on return from a business trip from Australia only serves to reinforce my contention that there are serious management failings regarding infrastructure, its maintenance and the attitude to passengers.

    I arrived at LHR on Qantas QF 029 at around 1330 on May 16th travelling Melbourne/Heathrow/Newcastle. The aircraft could not pull in to its remote stand since the guidance system had not been switched on; no problem, these things happen. However, even with it working the aircraft could not pull in due to improperly parked cargo equipment on the stand. We finally deplaned at about 1400.

    The British Airways bus that conveyed us to Terminal 4 was filthy; worn seats and a dirt-encrusted floor and fittings (I know that BA’s vehicles have little to do with BAA but it gives an impression of general sloppiness at the airport). The Flight Connections bus from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 was also dirty. I was embarrassed to hear some Australian passengers – rightly – disparaging our shared experience.

    Worse, however, was the condition of the “Flight Connections” security area at Terminal 1. There were plastic bottles and other litter strewn about the area. The carpet was dirty, torn and in places repaired with tape.
    What sort of impression does this give visitors to the United Kingdom?

    I am fortunate to travel to many places around the world and most airports I use – even those in countries we consider “Third World” – have better airport facilities than we have in the UK. In fact, during the trip described above, I used Melbourne and Hong Kong, both examples of clean and tidy airports. One does not have to travel far to see how to make an airport look good; visit Amsterdam, Brussels, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Düsseldorf, Köln, Frankfurt or Helsinki if you fancy a day out. Further away, Almaty and Karachi are decent airports; we do not have to discuss Dubai or Singapore. They all make Heathrow and Gatwick look like what they are: shabby and unkempt shopping centres.

    If you deign to reply, kindly do not offer platitudes about forthcoming improvements. What matters is the state of the airports and the level of service offered to passengers today.

    Yours in dismay, etc.'

  34. At 07:43 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Tim wrote:

    Arrived at Heathrow last summer.
    Shameful mess.
    Complained.
    BAA not interested.
    Can we all buy shares and attend the AGM?

  35. At 07:47 PM on 14 Jun 2007, nigel graham wrote:

    I have just flown in this afternoon from Bejing and was driving home listening to your article on Heathrow. Bejing airport including the toilets was immaculately tidy the staff friendly, efficient and nicely dressed in uniforms. My return to Gatwick could not have been a more stark contrast. The airport felt dirty and unloved. The immigration staff mostly look rather dis-shevelled with peeling signs sellotaped to their desks. What a terrible advert it is to people arriving in the UK for the first time. Despite the words of their spokesman Gatwick and Heathrow are a shambles. They have had plenty of time and have failed to address even basic issues. pm please get a bandwagon going to break this crazy monopoly and let market forces do the rest. Imagine if Marks and Spencer management was running Gatwick and the British Airport authority was running M&S.
    Action required Eddie - you will have enormous support - look at the emails already pouring in.

  36. At 09:18 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Bethany wrote:

    Heathrow has certainly become grubbier and worse run in the last 2 years. I was embarrased when a group of Russian visitors had to wait for over 2 hours to reclainm their luggage - although they were polite it was obvious that Moscow Airport is now much better run.
    It seems to me that nobody is in charge. I did complain about the delay and after a month received a cursory acknowledgment.
    Last week I flew from Terminal 2 and was shocked about the ripped carpets in the deparure lounge. I mentioned it to the BA staff who apologised and said that they had reported it to BAA management but nothing had been done because of the 'cutbacks'.
    Everything is top price at Heathrow and is not good value. In particular the car parks are appalling: not clean, poorly lit and badly signposted - the charges are extotionate and must be the highest in the world.
    I suggest that the entire management of Heathrow is referred to the Office of Fair Tradiing because the public are being ripped off at what is now a national disgrace.

  37. At 09:21 PM on 14 Jun 2007, anth wrote:

    Tim (34)

    No, we cannot buy shares in BAA. My father owned a few, and they had to be sold when some Spanish construction company took over BAA. Note a construction company.

    For me, that was open season against BAA, which I was not fond of before (living under Heathrow's flight-path, and their number of night-flights are never as low as they promise...)

    For those who rememeber when Terminal 4 was the savour of Heathrow; yes, it was quite nice when it was new...Terminal 5...

    BAA should be split up, to remove it's monopoly in SE England, ideally bankrupted taking the Spanish holding company with them.

  38. At 10:42 PM on 14 Jun 2007, Liza Russell wrote:

    We flew back to Heathrow in October 2006 from Munich. Our flight was delayed so we knew we would have to stay in a hotel in London overnight because we had missed the flight to Aberdeen, we spent half an hour in a queue going through a security check. I heard one of the security personnel asking why we were still there as in her words, "All these people are staying in London. Why are we still here?"

    True enough. We finally got through security only to have to go through a 'back door' to where we had been,then outside to get a bus to our hotel. We wasted at least an hour.

    The security employees are rude, officious and far too full of their own importance in Heathrow. I was shouted at by one man because I did not have my handbag in my rucksack. When I do that, I have to take my handbag out so that it can be scanned again as there are so many things in it.

    We now avoid Heathrow like the plague. We are going to Verona with Air France in a few weeks and can now fly to Munich direct from Edinbutrgh. Hooray!

    Please get rid of BAA altogether. They are incompetent, do not provide enough seating, enough variety of eating places, good service.

  39. At 10:47 PM on 14 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Christian Hollyer :-

    Christian, I had the pleasure of visiting Schipol airport recently on a trip to the Netherlands. Yes it was clean and looked nice - however we walked for 20 minutes from the gate to the arrivals lounge - and vica versa on the return flight.

    I have to add though, that I flew from Terminal 4 to the States in 1986. The terminal had just opened and it looked wonderful.

    A few weeks back we used it again to go off to Sri- Lanka (sorry Ed I) and I will admit it did look grim.

  40. At 07:48 AM on 15 Jun 2007, Eamonn Mullaney wrote:

    The lack of competitiofor BAA is nowhere more obvious in their airports, than in the non retail public areas. Moving from the perfume scented, brightly lit, tiled floor retail emporium to the dimly lit, poorly cleaned corridors for the long walk to the aircraft, is like walking from a sunny street into a scruffy warehouse with your sun glasses still on.

    As a regular user of Heathrow and Gatwick both as a passenger and airline operator customer over the past 42, years I am finding it hard to remember a time when all the moving walkways were operating. The toilets are a disgrace throughout both airports, due simply to a lack of competent management of this - one of the simplest tasks.
    The dirty gray carpets in the corridors are peppered with strips of black insulation tape patching rips in carpet, which is long past its useful life. BAA have realised the danger of the potential cost of tripping up members of the public but due to lack of competition see no reason to spend money on providing a pleasant atmosphere for the tousands of people who use their monopoly facility.
    Arriving at a BAA airport these days is usually a stark contrast in terms of airport environment, with the airport you departed from. We now live on Gozo and the BAA managers could learn an awful lot about the basics of managing and running the main entry point for their country's visitors by visiting Malta airport.
    I accept that they have issues of scale and ageing sites to contend with but other airport managers in Singapore, AMSTERDAM, Frankfurt etc. etc have managed. If they are unable or unwilling to manage the basics, there is little hope of them ever making their facilities into pleasant places of modern transit for the travelling public and the reason is that they are not having to compete for footfall through their retail emporia, which is the main focus of their busuness.
    Eamonn Mullaney

  41. At 09:07 AM on 15 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    The last time I flew was in 1989 when my boss sent me down to Heathrow to collect some urgent slides for a presentation the following day. The terminal building seemed well named.

    I haven't flown since because the flight down was so badly pressurised that it gave me nasty ear problems that persist to this day. In fact this morning I have my now regular problem of only half hearing in my right ear, which will probably take a week or so to get back to normal. I have no intention of getting on a 'plane ever again, and am quite happy with my resulting dainty little carbon footprint.

    Give me the train and/or a sensible boss any day.

  42. At 09:22 AM on 15 Jun 2007, Peej wrote:

    I didn't hear the programme last night (I was travelling through Heathrow!). I use it 2 or 3 times per month, and I can identify with much of what others have said. In particular security. Last night there were only half the available security channels operating, the queues stretched half way around the terminal, and as I boarded my flight 60 passengers were still stuck on the wrong side of security. Many (although not all) of the staff who man it are exactly as described above. Particularly the rude and surly individual who pulled me for a random body check last night, if we're going to get searched at least do it properly. I also agree that BAA are a disaster, but next time you travel just stand stand and look at the sheer volume of people that are passing through. the airport wasn't designed for a FRACTION of that. A lot of the other airports mentioned above either only have a fraction of the passenger numbers or are vastly bigger in terms of surface area and infrastructure. I also agree that I would rather go through heathrow than any US airport that you care to mention (in terms of rude security and immigration people, they are the masters). Lets see what T5 does. If it takes people away from the other terminals we might see a big difference, then all we need to do is to get BAA to spend a few bob to deal with the tatty look of the place.

  43. At 09:47 AM on 15 Jun 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    The thing I hate about Heathrow is its size. Adding another terminal looks set to make it 25% worse. Land's End has a nice little airport.

  44. At 10:27 AM on 15 Jun 2007, Bobble42 wrote:

    Peej has some valid points. The airport is not designed for the amount of passengers travelling through it. T5 will make a huge difference especially as BAA have just had go ahead to renovate T1 and T2 into Heathrow East. Few people realise that the regulation and battles that were run to get any kind of go ahead to expand and build T5 are not faced by many other airports around the world. No one wants to queue and at the same time no one wants the airports to expand. Its one or the other. Those complaining either way should complain to each other. BAA is regulated heavily and a certain amount of their profit is forced to be invested in the airports and improvements. I would not expect anyone else to check their facts. Especially FT columnists who might have had to wait.

  45. At 11:34 AM on 15 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    *push*

  46. At 12:05 PM on 15 Jun 2007, Elizabeth wrote:

    The only thing that BAA understand is money. They are a company that are not interested in providing a good service at a decent price. Although many people do not have a choice and must use BAA airports it is now time for a passenger boycott of all retail operations!
    This would make the inept and arrogant management of BAA wake up and realise that people are fed up with being ripped off.
    Let the boycott of all shops at Heathrow and other BAA airports begin today!

  47. At 03:49 PM on 15 Jun 2007, Professor Woland wrote:

    Behemot (SSC),

    Would you like to join Azazzello, Hella and myself in adding the flights to the boycott of airport merchandise suggested by Elizabeth?

    Yours in eternal life,
    W

  48. At 05:06 PM on 15 Jun 2007, Lawrence wrote:

    BAA just do not invest. Look at the problems experienced because of fog last year. This could have been prevented with good management and capital expenditure.

  49. At 07:02 PM on 15 Jun 2007, M S Sheikh wrote:

    Yes, break the monopoly of BAA and let Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead compete with each other.

    Talking of tatty airports you ain't seen nothing. JFK arrivals is a shame for one of the richest countries in the world. Before my recent visit to the US I used to think that Cairo airport wins hands down but now my view has changed. That aside one would have tremendous difficulty in spotting the difference between the Cairo airport of 70’s and 1997.

    I go to Heathrow about once every two months to travel or receive or see off relatives/friends. On almost every occasion it is a scene of musical chairs especially in the arrivals area. The very frequent changes must cost something. Can't BAA plan ahead and make fewer changes? Perhaps BAA has too much money and it does not know what to do with it.

    Talking of too much money surely BAA is making too much money out of us. I have done some research and found that Heathrow is one of the most expensive airports for the passengers to use. But we the public don't have a choice and more importantly BAA has no competitors.

    http://www.consolidatedtravel.com.au/qf/taxes.asp

    India, a third world country does not have international arrivals tax. It charges around $6.00 from domestic traffic only. If India can manage its airports with such small income then BAA should be able to run our airports at much lower cost to passengers. Mind you BAA would blame security for increased costs but every country in the world is supposed to maintain same standard of security at their airports.

    Finally the recent increase in airport tax may or may not do something for the environment but it would certainly make air travel rather exclusive for the rich.

  50. At 12:14 AM on 16 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Nick Schon (18) : You're not a typo, missing an O, are you?

    (That's a kinda CPRE in-joke, and will be a very soggy squib if I'm guessing wrong.)

    Ooh, I hate Heathrow, though.

    There's no airport, other than Kirkwall, that ever raises my spirits, though. Airports are awful. All of them.

    Fifi

  51. At 02:00 PM on 16 Jun 2007, George Kearse wrote:

    Facts ? The primary fact is the that the security check at LHR T1, T2 and T3 is a disgrace in terms of passenger comfort and satisfaction. The service provided is not value for money for any of us..

    I fully appreciate that security is a necessity b-u-t BAA are robbing passengers blind with the abysmal service provided. T1 is the classic with 7 process lines set-up, I have never seen more than 50% ever operational at the same time. The staff are extremely misserable, argumentative, and rude. They treat passengers like dirt. They spend their time conversing with each other deliberately slowing the passenger lines to a crawl.

    The other week I was refused entry because I named a member of staff not to be an idiot when he held a $3,000 laptop at head-height with one hand.

    The term 'rage' is now applicable to the airport security check. The lowest common denominator is applied for one and all.

  52. At 05:06 PM on 17 Jun 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    On Friday and Saturday I expected to spend a bit of time in two airports. I actually spent a lot of time in four airports. This blog isn't proving as escapist as usual. Grrr.

  53. At 09:02 PM on 17 Jun 2007, David Heaton wrote:

    Tried flying from Manchester recently? Long security queues mean that you need to be there really early to make sure you get through in time for your flight. When all the scanners are manned and there are no queues, you get airside with almost two hours to spare, and nowhere to sit (OK, there are dozens of seats in each of the bars and cafes, if they are open). Last time I was in T1, they'd boxed in the old seating area for conversion to yet more retail outlets. The sign on the hoarding told me the extra retail space was for our benefit as passengers - they must think we're all stupid.

    It's not just BAA and Heathrow where passengers are suffering. I will avoid Manchester whenever I can, but if that's where the most convenient flight goes ...

  54. At 08:49 PM on 14 Jul 2007, anon wrote:

    I experienced a very rude Heathrow passport officer in late June....I am American and was passing through en route to Dublin, and will DEFINITELY be avoiding Heathrow in the future at all costs. I am making an official complaint to the Home Office.

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