Back at Christmas I posted a big grumble about the fiasco that is Heathrow Terminal 4 – a piece that even got me quoted in the Times. Heading over to France this last week, we went with British Airways, again from Terminal 4, this time into Geneva Airport in Switzerland.
So first up, there have been changes with the notorious ‘Fast Bag Drop’… Yes, rather than sort out the problems, they’ve just dropped the word ‘Fast’ from the title. Interestingly they’ve also done the same in Geneva, but as with Calgary we’d checked in and put the bags through in a few minutes there, unlike the twenty minute queue at Heathrow.
The other hassle we had last time was caused by the lack of available gates in the terminal, and it was the same this time around as we were bussed out to a remote stand. This didn’t cause us much of a delay going out, but coming back the inbound plane was over an hour late, entirely due to the same situation. According to the crew on the plane, they had been ready to go on time, but the flight coming out to Geneva had about twenty special needs passengers. Bear in mind that all of this would have been known to British Airways, but the plane was again on a remote stand. Whereas in Geneva the special needs passengers were taken off without too much of a delay over the air bridge, at Heathrow where on the remote stand the only access to the plane is up steps, it took them over an hour to load the passengers, resulting in such a delay that our plane took off only a minute or two before the next Geneva to London flight. It had one advantage though, when we touched down at Heathrow, they did put our flight onto a free gate at terminal 4, so at least we didn’t have to contend with the interminable wait for busses.
Thankfully all our baggage arrived – although considering that on the same day the Telegraph were running a story about the airlines selling off some of the hundreds of thousands that fail to be returned in the paper that was being given out, you couldn’t blame people for being worried that they wouldn’t!
Although we can do little to avoid Heathrow or Gatwick when heading to Canada – certainly it might be worth considering the Eurostar/TGV option next time we head to TaizÃ©.