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The financial traveller is back and talking about Heathrow

Written by Girish Gupta Wednesday, 30 March 2011 15:02
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There’s a point in every financial traveller’s voyage that he or she
must come home and doing that, for me, was through one of the world’s
great airports, Heathrow.  With over sixty million passengers a year,
the London hub is one of the world’s busiest.

Using it, though, does not reflect its stature.  A Times report
(http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/transport/article2965912.ece)
reveals that the airport languishes in 99th place in a world ranking,
below the international ports of Calcutta and Moscow.  The table is an
industry one which tells of how customers really feel—bemoaning long
security queues and poor ambience.

Indeed, airport security is seen by many as nothing more than a
nuisance which does nothing to protect passengers and is solely there
to annoy them.  The rude staff, long queues only exacerbate the
problem.

The airport’s slogan is, “Making every journey better.”  This seems to
be the opposite to its actual achievements.  Despite more than 30
years of advancement in aviation, it now takes 40% longer to fly from
Heathrow to Paris.  The journey took an hour-busting 57 minutes in
1979, from departure gate to arrival gate, yet in 2010 took between 70
and 80 minutes.

The problem is thought to be down to the airport consistently
operating at 98% capacity, with 66m passengers per year.  This, the
Times says, can often cause a small problem to escalate into a crisis.
“Better,” in the airport’s slogan, also fails to accurately describe
many other factors apart from scheduling and delays.

With the increase in airport security, passengers are forced to re-buy
many items when they have passed through.  Prices for water,
toothpaste and other essentials are highly inflated in this captive
market.  Printing out an A4 document from the internet at Terminal 3
on Monday cost me £4.

Ultimately, it is transit passengers and tourists that are going to
get a terrible impression of the UK and tell their friends not to
bother, rather than those of us that have no choice but to pass
through one of the world’s worst airports.

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