When Heathrow Airport recently opened terminal five, it had quickly become apparent that the airport meant business. Even Heathrow, themselves, proclaimed they had reached “world class status”. However, the last few days have been seen as an ’embarrassment’ for the airport, making some doubt its level of excellence.
New chief executive of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, took his first steps into the unpopular direction when he announced ‘passenger fees could rise to pay for the construction of a new runway.’ Possible plans for a third runway are currently being assessed by Sir Davies’ Airports Commission, and if they get the go ahead, fees will be risen by 20 per cent.
In addition to the less popular news of rising costs, the biggest embarrassment for the airport over the last few days has been the baggage-belt breakdowns at Terminal 5. The ‘technical glitch’ occurred on Thursday, and left tens of thousands of British Airways passengers separated from their luggage.
Individual stories from passengers have stressed the level of disruption this has caused to their journey, with many being left without any luggage for days. To make matters worse, those affected have also commented on the level of bad service they received from both British Airways and the assistance at Heathrow.
A BA spokeswoman issued the following statement; ‘We are working around the clock to reunite customers with their bags. We are sorry that this process is taking longer than anticipated, and we fully understand the frustration this is causing.’
However, British Airways were also quick to remind their passengers, that this was a problem with the airport, not the airline; ‘The baggage system in Terminal 5 has experienced a number of problems since Thursday. This has resulted in fewer than expected bags being transported each day. The process of getting the delayed bags on to the next available flight has also been affected.’
Baggage problems also seem to have cropped up within Heathrow Terminal 2, which has put a stop to the move of Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines. Air Canada and United passengers have claimed that problems have evolved with luggage being sent to Terminal 1 for screening before being returned to Terminal 2.