Heathrow's Terminal 5 Problems Continue On


The BBC is reporting that 15,000 â'' 20,000 bags belonging to BA (British Airways) passengers are now stranded across London Heathrowâ''s five terminals because of the on-going problems at Terminal 5. The BBC is reporting that, â''Other carriers bringing passengers into Heathrow, to transfer to BA flights, have been asked by the airline to hold on to their bags while it (BA) clears the existing backlog.â''

BA says it doesnâ''t know how long this will take, although it is privately estimating it may take weeks before Terminal 5 operates â''normally.â''

BA, after initially saying that 15% of its flights would be canceled today, actually had to cancel 20% because of additional unanticipated problems.

BA had promised that all long haul flights would operate normally Saturday, but that also didnâ''t happen as some flights left without passengersâ'' baggage.

Having the flight canceled may have been the wish of passengers on their way to Larnaca who waited on the tarmac for four hours, saw their luggage loaded, and then removed from the plane. They were told that it had not been screened properly. The plane left without its passengers' luggage, which BA said would be sent to Larnarca by the next available flight or air courier.

Another 10% to 15% of flights are expected to be canceled on Sunday.

BA, however, is ever upbeat, with spokespersons saying that â''onlyâ'' 244 flights out of 1320 would be canceled from Thursday to Sunday, and that, "On the whole, the day (Saturday) has gone reasonably well.â''

BA apologized again today to the 24,000 people whose flights were (or are going to be) affected. It also had to apologize to stranded passengers for saying that it would only compensate them £100 for the inconvenience, when European Union regulations state that airlines must provide hotels for all passengers delayed overnight with no maximum cost.

BA may face fines of up to £5,000 per passenger for misleading passengers over compensation rights for delayed or canceled flights.

And to add a bit more salt in the wound, the fiasco forced BA to scrap a multi-million pound advert campaign planned for next week that was going to emphasize how easy it is for travelers to go through Terminal 5 and collect their bags.

I wonder if passengers have started to sing Monty Python's "I'm So Worried" yet.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City