A senior corporate travel executive has blamed fundamental mistakes in British Airways’ attitude to passengers for Terminal 5’s troubled opening.
Hogg Robinson Group industry affairs director Mike Platt said: “Terminal 5 is like a Formula 1 car that has two-star petrol in it. It is a perfect storm of poor infrastructure and over-optimistic assumptions.”
Platt said: “The terminal has been built around passengers who check in online and turn up with very little baggage. But an awful lot of leisure travellers have bags and are used to conventional airports, and it is creating a bottleneck. I don’t believe the airline was expecting the number of bags it has had too deal with.”
BA has almost 100 fast-bag drops at the £4.3 billion terminal, but few conventional check-in desks.
“The airline made over-optimistic assumptions about the amount of baggage and how ready people would be to travel when they arrive at the terminal,” said Platt.
He added: “A lot of the infrastructure is flawed. Terminal 5 is affected by problems with the rest of Heathrow – the baggage link between terminals is archaic, for example – there are not enough car lanes and cars are not allowed to stop to pick up passengers.
“The terminal is not even ready yet. Only part of it is operating and most passengers require a bus transfer to their aircraft.
“It is costing travel management companies money and resources to clear up the mess with customers.”