Brand new terminal; same old problems

The new Heathrow T5 was opened for real yesterday with promises of efficiency. In reality, however, it was more of the same for BA’s passengers.

With the soft opening last week and the many trials that had been conducted, there was hope that queues would be shorter, baggage would appear quickly and security screening would be prompt. Instead there were terrible lines, baggage still took 45 minutes or more to show up for some flights and BA had to cancel 20% of their flights from the terminal. Oopsie.

The baggage failure, as explained in the linked BBC article above, apparently was caused by the handlers not removing it quickly enough from the conveyor belts as it was routed towards its destination.
Image from BBC
Computer issues also resulted in some flights departing with no checked baggage. At one point passengers were not permitted to check any bags, reminiscent of issues a while back in the old terminal. Oh, and the escalators and elevators were broken at one point.

At least the carrier’s CEO was honest and blunt about the situation, stating that, “British Airways has not delivered and we need to deliver. I am accepting responsibility, the buck stops with me.” Of course that is of little comfort to the passengers who slept on the floor of the new terminal thanks to the snafus.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.