Friday, March 28, 2008

Myth & Reality

Heathrow Terminal 5.

In my email, from BA:

Dear Mr S-E,

Five and a half years ago the building of our new home began in our most visionary project to date. Today we opened the doors. There is no more waiting... Terminal 5 welcomes you.

At Terminal 5 everything has been streamlined and designed to make your journey through the terminal calm and relaxed. And this morning we saw all the planning fall into place.

Check-in and Security have been designed to speed you through to Departures in just 10 minutes*. And with a shopping concourse to rival London's West End, our premium flagship lounge complex, Galleries, and the state-of-the-art baggage system, you'll discover nothing has been overlooked to ensure your time at Terminal 5 is spent in a most relaxing and enjoyable way.

In reality, once both BA and BAA have got their hands in up to the elbows:

Further disruption is expected at Heathrow's new Terminal 5, with more flights cancelled and long passenger queues building by the early hours.

So far on Friday, 10 British Airways flights have been cancelled.

Passengers have missed flights, with some blaming incorrect information and a lack of desks open to cope with the number of people.

British Airways says it plans to operate 80% of flights, on the day after the £4.3bn facility opened.

Oh and,

Plans to fingerprint passengers travelling from Heathrow's new Terminal 5 have been suspended, less than 24 hours before it is due to open.

Airport operator BAA claims the measure is needed to distinguish domestic passengers from international ones.

But the data protection watchdog said the plan may breach British law.

You probably need to be aware of this (note the bit at the bottom that doesn't mention a £100 maximum as per al-Beeb):
2. Compensation

(The airline is not obliged to pay compensation if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by "extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken". Such extraordinary circumstances might occur "in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier".)

Length of journeyDelay to destinationCompensation
Up to 1500kmUp to 2 hours€125
Up to 1500kmMore than 2 hours€200
1500km to 3500kmUp to 3 hours€250
1500km to 3500kmMore than 3 hours€300
More than 3500kmUp to 4 hours€400
More than 3500kmMore than 4 hours€600

3. Assistance at the airport
  • Meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to waiting time

  • Two free telephone calls, emails, telexes or faxes

  • Overnight hotel accommodation and transfers

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