The BAA and T5 saga continues

The BBC is now reporting that long-haul flights will not move over to terminal 5 from terminal 4 until June.  The problem?  Dates unspecified.  The move was supposed to happen 30 April and so I had been planning to fly BA for a conference trip to the Boston area in mid-June.  Now I’m frightened.  It seems that perhaps I’d just be better off booking Virgin Atlantic and not risking another muck-up like the one that occurred when the first set of flights moved to T5 in the last few weeks.  It’s hard not to think that BA and BAA just can’t quite be trusted to get this quite right… and I don’t want to be stranded at the airport with or without my bags when it’s tough enough to be doing long-haul travel for the relentless job.

The thing amusing me  in all of this is the continued refrain in the press (at least the online stuff that I read) that the whole T5 mess is “characteristically British.”  I can honestly say that prior to moving to the UK, it never would have occurred to me that the Brits were any more or any less competent in general.  Many of us remember the adventures at Denver’s airport opening a few years back.  Large infrastructure projects come with a large opportunity for disaster in all but exceptional cases (where the recent exception is the army of workers who were commandeered by the Chinese goverment to build and open their new airport). Anyways, I digress.  The majority of my friends and family members who think of England at all (outside of the fact that I am there now) have sort of vague and warm feelings about it.  It’s only the Brits themselves who see themselves as “once again a laughingstock” (in the words of one of the BMI execs angry over the Heathrow delays and their knock-on effects on airlines besides BA).  The British Eeyore attitude continues to amuse me more than anything.

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2 responses to “The BAA and T5 saga continues

  1. Well, the Chinese army of workers were likely well-compensated and happy for the work, of course – this is no “the emperor decides to build a great wall” scenario – but I think the bigger difference is that they ran trial runs and test scenarios in the new terminal for a full month before opening up officially. So they gave themselves plenty of time to figure out what could go wrong and fix it, which is sounds like the Brits didn’t bother to do.

  2. NFAH: Flew out of (not many days after opening) and into T5 and glad to say the terminal is clean, spacious, bright; the BA lounges are good, with quiet zones and views on runways; the flights left and landed on time and NO BAGS were lost.

    You will be amazed how cleverly they have eliminated the need for humans in some places (security screening being the best example – and I cleared security in 5 minutes although I was at the end of a queue some 45 people long when I joined it).

    And yes, I gave many people – including friends in America – the example of Denver too. I am amused but not surprised to see how few know that the airport is run by BAA and not BA, who is an unwitting tenant.

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