The much-ballyhooed opening of Heathrow's £4 billion Terminal 5 has been a debacle. British Airways has canceled 208 flights since Thursday, and has "stranded" between 15,000 and 20,000 bags. Area hotels are crammed with stuck BA passengers and are gouging on pricing, prompting BA to lift its stingy (and possibly illegal) £100 limit on hotels for stuck passengers. This is the terminal
with the that just cancelled its crackpot fingerprinting procedure — passengers are fingerprinted at check-in and at boarding.
And lest you think you might try to get there with a change of underwear by going hand-baggage only, think again. BA's baggage-checkers are being serious rules-lawyers about hand-luggage limits, forcing passengers to check hand-bags that are less than an inch oversize, dooming the luggage to the nonfunctional baggage system at T5.
On one of the delayed planes, passengers on flight BA0662 to Larnaca were held on the tarmac for some four hours before leaving at 1205 GMT.
One, Elizabeth Drury, told the BBC the captain said they would be leaving without any luggage.
They had been told this was because some of the bags initially put on the plane had not been screened properly.
"The whole experience has been meltdown," she said.
A group of school pupils on flight BA285 to San Francisco also said they were told by the airline that their bags were not on board and they could choose whether or not to travel. They were bound for a skiing trip.
"It could ruin it because we are scheduled to start skiing tomorrow," said one schoolgirl, Natalie Bakhurst.