Relaxing and Enjoyable Threat

I received the message below from BA earlier today:

Terminal 5 has new measures in place to improve security and avoid delays. Here is some important information you need to know about using the terminal to ensure you have a relaxing and enjoyable airport experience:

At Terminal 5, you must ensure that you pass through ticket presentation and Security and be ready to fly at least 35 minutes before your flight departs. If you miss this deadline, you will not be allowed onto your flight.

Terminal Problem

If your profile is ABC1 and you plan to go to Heathrow Terminal 5 for shopping you won’t be disappointed:

Terminal 5 is working with a range of local and globally strong brands to create a new and exciting retail environment, with each store concept fulfilling the key criteria of being surprising, tempting and experience-enhancing. And whether consumers are after stimulation or relaxation, Terminal 5 will set new standards in retail and dining experiences with 144 different stores and restaurants from which to choose.

From a traveller perspective the audience demographic is anticipated to be 92% ABC1 in profile, and the Terminal will be used exclusively by British Airways – Domestic, European and International destinations.

On the other hand if you are one of us who don’t want to buy a new Prada bag at T5 but who want to connect at Heathrow to another flight or go directly to London, the situation won’t be as rosy. The real problem at Heathrow is actually the lack of runways. Two current runways serve five terminals and they are used to the maximum. Any disruption creates a ripple effect of delays and flight cancellations. My yesterday’s flight from London to Prague was three hours delayed and the reason was a rain shower that delayed some incoming flights few hours earlier. And on top of that BA lost my bag…

To summarize my experience: Heathrow T5 is an exclusive shopping mall but it’s a terrible airport.

BA: Long haul flight move to Terminal 5 has been delayed

Flight delays happen all the time but delayed terminal is quite unusual. However it is not entirely unexpected. Once I landed at the Brussels airport shortly after the Belgian king opened a new terminal. We waited and waited and then captain made the following announcement: “Sorry for the delay. We were assigned a gate that doesn’t exist yet”. I am sure nobody told the king the airport was not exactly finished…

Below is message I received from BA today:

Dear Mr Stanek

You may have heard the news today that British Airways and BAA (the London Heathrow airport authority) have agreed to defer the move of the majority of our long haul intercontinental flights from Heathrow’s Terminal 4 to Terminal 5. The move, originally planned for 30 April, will now begin in June.

Although we have seen a steady improvement at Terminal 5, we want to be sure that customers can be confident of high service standards when the terminal is handling larger numbers of passengers.

Both we at British Airways and BAA recognise that the opening of Terminal 5 has not been as smooth as we would have wished. We will be working with BAA to iron out any remaining problems, including the baggage system, and develop a robust timescale for phasing the move of Terminal 4 services in to Terminal 5. We believe it is only sensible to make sure that Terminal 5 is operating consistently at a high standard before the move begins.

We do not underestimate the uncertainty and inconvenience this delay may cause you if you have a trip planned in this period. Our priority is to continue making improvements to achieve the high levels of service our customers should expect from us as soon as possible.

A small number of long haul intercontinental flights have already moved to Terminal 5. These will be unaffected by the delay to the move of other flights.

We will provide more details of the move as soon as we review progress of the improvements being made. The latest information will always be available on ba.com.

In the meantime, if you are planning to travel with British Airways on a long haul flight currently scheduled to operate from Terminal 5 after 30 April until 31 May, please check which terminal you will now be flying to or from by visiting http://www.britishairways.com/travel/routedest/public or ask your travel agent for more information.

Warm regards,

British Airways

Three Letter Acronyms

One of the best aspects of working on a web based project is the complete lack of Three Letter Acronyms. I don’t really miss the hype around SOA, EAI, ESB, WS* or any other TLAs. And there was some substantial hype! The first article below illustrates the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” that SOA enjoyed back in 2004 and the second article takes us back to the reality:

BAA plans to ensure smooth customer service and operations through SOA
16 Nov 2004

BAA plans to ensure smooth customer service and operations when Heathrow Terminal 5 opens by introducing software linking up key information systems. The Sonic ESB enterprise service bus product was chosen following an in-depth EU approved OJEC procurement process, with the first systems set to go live in 2005 in preparation to the terminal’s opening in 2008..

Terminal 5 problems persist
April 5, 2008

A computer glitch in the baggage system at London’s Heathrow airport caused more delays Saturday at the airport’s new Terminal 5, officials said.

Since Terminal 5 opened last week, about 19,000 lost bags had to be transported to Milan, Italy to be sorted and hundreds of flights have been canceled

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