Lengthy Heathrow logistics

February 14 2006

This morning I experienced what London travellers have been grappling with for two weeks -- changes in security processes at Heathrow have resulted in lengthy queues for security.  I waited over 50 minutes to pass through security at T-2, along with many other grumpy fliers.

Two things struck me as quite odd about the experience --
1) Only half the available security queues were open for the "morning rush".  If this was a "one off" situation, perhaps it would have caught their staffing plan off-guard, but the clearly-overtaxed staffers acknowledged that this has been the situation for two weeks running.
2) As flights approached their final boarding call, passengers still in security queue for said flight were called forward to a separate bypass queue.  In the case of my Malév flight this morning, the call forward came just as I got to the front of the regular queue.  Thus, 45+ minutes completely wasted.  Instead, I could have gone and had a morning coffee and just waited for them to call for my flight in the bypass queue.  It would have been much more civilised.

The staff were liberally handing out the BAA Heathrow feedback forms.  I'll be sure to send one in.

Regretably, this was not my only logistical challenge in the 36-hour UK stopover.  The Sheraton Heathrow's website (and for that matter, the Heathrow airport website), advise use of the "Hotel Hoppa" service, indicating that "Coaches leave very 10-12 minutes from approximately 5:30am to approximately 11:30pm. "  Only thing is, from 22:50 there is a 40+ minute gap until the next bus...not exactly every 10-12 minutes.  The schedule is clearly posted at the bus stand, so why don't the Sheraton and Heathrow websites say so?  I lost about 40 minutes Sunday night because of this...would have booked a limo or something if I had not relied on the two websites that have every reason to be accurate.

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