I arrived at Heathrow Airport yesterday to have one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life.
Attempting to leave the country a British Airways Flight.
Shortly thereafter, William and Kate, their children and the family dog began their holiday – they traversed the back garden of Kensington Palace to board a privately chartered helicopter and be whisked away on a summer break.
No queues for them.
Envious? Of course I am.
Air travel is a completely different experience for the rest of us.
The two and a half weeks I survived in I’m a Celebrity was child’s play compared to the misery of two and a half hours queuing at Terminal 3 yesterday.
Traveling through Heathrow Airport is a form of torture.
The chaos, the queues, the tantrums, the lack of food and water and the huge mountain of luggage hidden somewhere inside the building have made headlines around the world.
And those scenes are mirrored across the country as we entered the height of the holiday season – in Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham.
Instead of happy people rejoicing at the prospect of a long-awaited break, we see oppressed, wrinkled, defeated souls. Forced to take one small step after the other towards their destination – the departure hall. Images are being shown around the world that put our travel business to shame.
The two and a half weeks I survived in I’m a Celebrity was child’s play compared to the misery of two and a half hours queuing at Terminal 3 yesterday
William and Kate, their children and the family dog began their holidays – they traversed the back garden of Kensington Palace to board a privately chartered helicopter and be whisked away on a summer break. No queues for them
Are you coming to the UK? Don’t make me laugh – our biggest airport looks like a tin pot destination in a fifth world dictatorship run by idiots who couldn’t organize a penguin queuing system.
The queues at Heathrow, along with the hidden thousands of unclaimed and lost bags, are terrible publicity for UK tourism bosses trying to lure foreign visitors to the UK in the wake of the Covid ravages.
And worse for all the brave Brits hoping to head off on the long-awaited holiday when schools close for the summer.
As William and Kate sat back and enjoyed the view across Hyde Park, I looked the guy in the back. My long march began two hundred meters outside the terminal building, past the taxi ranks. Gloomy enough, but for some unlucky ones – who were brave enough to check in a bag – it was the second queue of the morning.
Here’s my advice for anyone preparing to use a UK airport this summer.
Listen to a thoughtful app on your phone and just hope your battery doesn’t die and with it your online boarding pass.
You need to meditate to stop berating the *******s responsible for your misery.
It may be 30 degrees but ration your precious bottle of water. Any lone traveler must instruct their bodily functions to partially shut down. Toilet rides rely on you trusting a fellow passenger to save your seat.
When I finally entered Terminal 3, it was strangely empty.
Because it didn’t offer any services. No help. Only staff giving orders to queue outside.
Don’t hand out water bottles.
Not picking out the older ones and putting them in the foreground.
Say sorry a lot.
My queue of mothers and fathers, children, babies and old people was surprisingly good-natured, speechless and speechless at the horror of what they had to pack up and accept or miss their vacation.
We meandered up and down the terminal on an unthinking route devised by a simpleton. Eventually we zigzagged into a small room where a single attendant directed all weary passengers onto a SINGLE escalator to the first floor while everyone else was locked. There was no end in sight.
At the top, the queue was divided into “Fast Track” and the rest and stretched as far as the eye could see. The shops were closed.
What a joke.
As hilarious as “priority boarding.”
Or “onboard service”.
Upon reaching security, only two out of three machines were operational, although the staff was prompt, efficient, and pleasant.
When I got through to departure, I had to lie down in a darkened room with a wet washcloth over my eyes. Unfortunately, there were more waiting times to get on the plane, which involved a bus at 30 degrees. When I got to my grossly overpriced seat, I needed intravenous gin, not a mini bag of nuts and second-rate warm wine.
So whose fault is this terrible situation?
And will it get any worse next week when all government schools close?
The queues at Heathrow, combined with the hidden thousands of unclaimed and lost bags, are terrible publicity for British tourism bosses
The airline industry and our major airports have stumbled from crisis to crisis. They laid off too many staff during Covid to cut costs. They found recruiting and training new people difficult, although Grant Shapps tried (belatedly) to streamline the vetting process.
But it still takes three months to hire, screen and train security guards and baggage handlers. Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester all say they hired 400 to 500 new staff, if so the results don’t seem obvious.
Technical mishaps have plagued British Airways with dozens of flights canceled around Easter and peak periods.
We, the passengers, are treated like dumb brutes who will put up with terrible queues and no amenities just because we’re dumb enough to take a plane on vacation.
I’d been hopelessly optimistic – I’d spent a lot of money and upgraded to business class, naively thinking that with a ticket that said “priority boarding” I could avoid the hours of trampling.
Earlier this week, Heathrow’s boss said they would limit the number of passengers passing through the building to 100,000 a day by September 11 and cancel flights to deal with queues and delays.
This has resulted in dozens of flights being canceled without warning, impacting the summer holiday plans of over 91,000 people.
And it doesn’t get any better. Now the airport is asking airlines to stop selling tickets as they have calculated there are still 4,000 seats available each day, occupying their acceptable capacity.
Coupled with the prospect of queues, passengers now (like me) have to spend 48 hours before their flight departure anxiously waiting to see if their flight will be cancelled. And so, after a sleepless night (having checked your bags), you arrive barely in a fit state to head out for the marathon ahead.
Willie Walsh (former BA boss) says Heathrow “made a mistake” in not predicting the rise in demand. Heathrow boss has apologized for his “difficult” decision to cancel flights.
Manchester Airport boss says: ‘Don’t expect a great summer experience’
Never mind, great, my “experience” was terrible.
Only a muggle would want to visit Britain right now.