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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The world's favourite...

There's no doubt about it. I've been singing the praises of Terminal 5 which, after the initial stutter, is now quite pleasant as airports go. The key metric -- how long does it take from getting off the plane to getting into your card -- holds up well, except on the odd occasion when the border police forget that planes are arriving. I sympathise with John Redwood. He had a conversation with them about this.

The issue was how they handled the peaks. Surely it was one of flexible hours, the balance between full time and part time, and the use of intelligent rosters... He countered by saying the peaks were unpredictable. I argued that on the whole they were entirely predictable, as there are timetables telling them when all the large jets are expected in.

[From John Redwood MP]

Indeed. I've often wondered the same. Anyway, despite its great leaps forward, I have to say that Terminal 5 still doesn't reach the benchmark: Singapore Changi. This is the most efficient place on Earth. I came in tonight on a BA flight that had a technical fault and was nearly an hour late. No big deal, these things happen. I thought I would miss my connection, but wasn't too bothered since I figured there must be plenty of flights to KL and I'd get on one of them. Nevertheless, when the jetway opened I rushed up as fast as I could in order to see if there was a chance of making the Singapore Airlines flight or to head to a help desk if not. What was I thinking? This isn't Heathrow.

At the top of the jetway a super-efficient Singapore Airlines lady was holding a sign with my name on it. They thought it would be stressful for me to run and try and catch the flight, and I probably wouldn't make it anyway, so that had rebooked me on a JAL flight an hour later. She took me to the transfer area where I took a ticket and waited in an orderly manner. My number was called in five minutes and five minutes later I had my new boarding pass and pottered off to Starbucks to relax (and use the free wifi - Heathrow should take a leaf out of their book). If you have to change planes anywhere, make it Changi.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you ever wondered, like me, how the pilot can tell you, within minutes of taking off from, say, San Francisco, exactly when the plane will arrive at Heathrow (to the minute, ATC permitting...), even if that is some 10 hours distant - and yet, when it does arrive, it comes as a complete shock to those responsible for getting you and your luggage off the plane?

It's not like they haven't had any advance notice...