Was having a debate with a mate the other niight about HS2 and why it should not go ahead. Well here is my view. We have good links to Birmingham already we have a train service that completes the trip in just under 90 minutes and the wonderful M40 motorway to travel between London and Birmingham. Yes the second of these can become heavily congested because of people who cannot drive properly! No one really has good enough reason to want to undertake the journey in less than 49 minutes. However people are struggling to get into and out of the country on legitimate business. That is why we need an extra runway and terminal at Heathrow Airport. Why is Schipol in Holland so successful? Answer. They have the space and the runways. None of us have seen the new Heathrow T2 yet but given what they have had to work with I cannot imagine much of an improvement. T1 is asking to be demolished and don’t get me started on T3 or T4. They have done quite a good job on T5 but more still needs to be done. Any other new airport that is built or even extended will be too far from the constituency it needs to serve the most the Centre and City of London and no fancy train scheme in my opinion will help matters. I’m not sure why we are bothering with the train when the airport needs so much doing to it. A hub airport in Kent isn’t going to work either.
I was travelling to a client the other morning and having a read of the City AM newspaper while I was sat on the train. I happened upon the results for Heathrow Airport and then I started to really laugh. They state that they have a target for getting passengers through security within 5 minutes of 95% and that the actual figure fell to 93%. I laughed so hard I nearly needed new underwear! As someone who has been using Heathrow Airport for around 35 years and in the past 16 years very frequently because of business travel. When I say very frequently I mean more than 30 times a year! I also worked on the project to build Terminal 5. On this subject I will always feel a small sense of pride when I walk through Terminal 5. I know for a fact that 5 minutes through security at any Heathrow terminal is an absolute joke in terms of delays. 3 % with a target of 5% in under 5 minutes is more like it!!!! It regularly takes me 20 minutes to clear security especially at 7 am on Monday morning. As a frequent traveller I know how to clear security with an absolute minimum of fuss and how to be prepared in order to clear security as fast as possible. I very rarely get stopped by the officials because I know what I am doing however the vast majority of travellers do not. Please take your belt off before getting to the conveyor belt. Please empty your pockets and have your watch off before you get to the conveyor belt. They might want to get the laptops ready too. Oh and please stop congregating and holding a mothers meeting just after you have passed the scanner it holds everyone else up. A number of my frequent flyer colleagues I am sure will share my sentiments. Whilst we are on the subject of security at Heathrow I am still in awe as to how I managed to get a large swiss army knife that I forgot I had in my briefcase through security last September! I still cannot work out how I managed it! So come on Heathrow Airport, be realistic and accurate oh and the red carpet treatment when I visit next week might be nice!!!!
So I have been flying British Airways quite a bit recently. Out of 8 flights 7 have been late and one so late I would have been quicker walking. On this particular occasion I absolutely had to land at London Heathrow on time in order to meet someone very important. Are they still the worlds favourite airline? Customer service also seems to have taken a knock with the introduction of surly and unhelpful staff. My questions are: 1) Is this part of their new business strategy and if so will it work? 2) Is point one the case or have they given up on customers? British Airways used to be an excellent airline. I do believe it is a shame they are falling from grace in the eyes of their customers. Especially in view of the very high prices they are demanding these days.