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Heathrow

London Heathrow Airport is probably the worst airport in the world.  I read from the news that on average 6% of luggage is lost every year and 20% of flights are delayed in Heathrow.  A few years ago, Heathrow lost my luggage and it took almost a month for airline to locate it.  I am taking BA for my honey moon to Rome, so I have to take a transfer at London.  I thought the new T-5 terminal would have some improvement to the airport, it turns out to be worse.

On my way there, I have the most horrable airport experience.  The plumbing system of T-5 is broken, there is no flushing tiolet.  The airport is really stinky and janitors has to carry bucket of water to flush the toilet after each use.  It is even worse than Indian’s airport, at least airport in India has running water.  (no tiolet paper though).  On my way back, the tiolet is working, but I was stucked in the plane for two hours waiting to take off.  The pilot claim because of bad weather, 85 flights is queueing up for the runway.  Luckily my luggage is not lost this time.

Even if the broken toilets and flight delays are just accidents, there are fundamental problems with Heathrow’s operation and design.  Passangers have to walk a long way and queue up for the custom just merely staying in the airport for the transfer.  One thing I don’t quite understand is the gate number assignment in Heathrow.  Airport around the world assign gate number for each flight far ahead of time.  Usually when you print your boarding pass, you already know which gate to board.  In Heathrow, they keep the gate secret until the very minute.  The moment you see the gate number show up in the display, you should get moving to the gate so that you won’t miss the flight.  Everyone ends up waiting in the common area and create a huge crowd.  One thing that is even more stupid is the new T-5 has 3 buildings connected by an underground light rail.  Going from A gates to B gates is a one way street.  Once you arrive in the B gates building, there is no way for you to go back to the A gates building.  Passenagers can only go to the B gates once their gate number shows up in the display, which is almost time to board.  As a result, passenagers won’t able to spent anything in the B gates shops.  Then why the airport have shops and even a resturant in the B gates building.  I feel sorry for those who open a shop in the B gates building, I don’t see a single customer in those shops, everyone is lining up to board.

3 comments to Heathrow

  • uncleray

    Hehe, I also transit from T5 to T1 for my trip to Dublin. Luckily, everything turned out right for me.

  • Michael Cheung

    Yeah, you want to avoid Heathrow for connection. Frankfurt is better, although it is still a nightmare. Everything is relative 🙂 One of the problems for Frankfurt is that the airport is over-saturated. You hardly get a “bridge” connecting directly between the plane and the terminal. You need to take a bus from the runway. Imagine you are on a 747 and you need to wait for the bus to take you between the plane and the terminal, plus there aren’t enough buses to take all the passengers in one round, plus it takes 10 mins one way. Then going through immigration and security, and wait for the bus again…

  • I think the best transit airport is Singapore. It’s big and comfortable. It even have free internet and PS3/XBox games.

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