Okay, I fully admit this is a rant. I can’t help it, I just need to say it… and thanks for listening, I feel much better and your patience is appreciated in advance.
Can you remember when Terminal 5 at Heathrow opened a few years ago?
The terminal opened and all the baggage facilities refused to work. We had a lady working for us at the time who was coming back from a business trip on the very day. In fact, she appeared on the front page of The Guardian, in a long, long queue looking very, very pissed off.
I have to say I don’t travel to Heathrow very often, preferring Stansted which is closer to East Anglia and The City… but today I needed to fly into Heathrow and, pretty unbelievably, BA was cheaper than Virgin from Edinburgh.
I’ve only been through Terminal 5 a dozen times and on at least 50% of those occasions I’ve been held up at security and always for something different. So it was with trepidation I completed the formula:
BA + Heathrow = T5
Flying in was fine but flying out the jinx struck once more.
As I went through the body scanner I didn’t ping but my bag got pushed to one side for a search.
Now can I just say I have no objection to either me or my bag being searched. I’d rather they searched many people to keep me safe… but…
There were four other bags in front of mine… all large and all belonging to ladies. All had been pushed to one side for a reason, which I’ll reveal in a mo.
There was one person available to search bags, only one search station but about half a dozen other security staff standing about doing nothing.
The first search started. A large bag which must have been over standard cabin baggage size. The searcher went through the bag painstakingly slowly and found the concealed bag of liquids… which happened on each subsequent search and the searches each took about 10 minutes.
At this point I could tell it was going to be a long process so I asked one of the guys just standing around whether there was anyone else available to help with he search.
‘You see that guy over there with the tabard on?’
‘What, the one that says Team Leader on it?’
‘Yeah, him… you’ll have to ask him?
‘I’m not allowed to leave me station, mate.’
So over I went to ask.
‘No, I can’t spare anyone,’ was the reply I received.
‘But you’ve got loads of people…’
‘No-one else is search trained. Can’t help I’m afraid. If you’d like to complain I’ll get you a form.’
Oh, brother. So I stood for 45 minutes for my turn. Which took 1 minute.
Good job I wasn’t late for my flight… or needing the loo!