Flight delays, massive lines, lost luggage plague Heathrow, the party is gust binging.
I thought you should know...
Kristin Jackson is a staff righter for the Seattle Times and she tells a very good story, I know you will enjoy...
Turmoil besets London's Heathrow
By Kristin Jackson
Seattle Times travel staff
U.S. travelers are suffering on miserably crowded and late planes this summer, with record delays for domestic flights.
Just be grateful you aren't flying through London's Heathrow Airport, where it's far worse, with passengers enduring monstrous lineups, mounds of lost luggage, and late or canceled flights.
This summer has been a perfect storm of security scares, bad weather, creaky infrastructure and understaffing problems at Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports.
Conditions have become so poor that British political and business leaders in recent days have strongly criticized the airport, which is run by the privately-owned British Airports Authority and was designed to serve about 45 million passengers a year but now handles almost 70 million.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone told British media that poor service and infrastructure at Heathrow "shamed" the city.
Britain's economic minister, Kitty Ussher, has warned that the airport's delays and crowding threaten London's role as a financial center. (Some international business travelers, and vacationers, already avoid connecting flights at Heathrow, flying instead through Amsterdam or Paris.)
British Airways' chief executive, Willie Walsh, has called conditions at Heathrow unacceptable, telling the London newspaper The Independent that a luggage conveyor belt had broken down nine times over an 11-day period in June.
British Airways, the dominant airline at Heathrow, currently has the worst record among major European airlines for lost luggage, and suffers extensive flight delays. Lost luggage is piled in airport corridors and sometimes outside at Heathrow, and online forums bristle with comments from angry passengers whose suitcases have gone missing.
According to the Association of European Airlines, British Airways lost approximately 24 bags for each 1,000 passengers in the first quarter of 2007, compared to Air France's 14 and KLM's 17. (Overall, 85 percent of bags were eventually delivered to their owners.)
This summer, the delays and lost luggage have mounted at Heathrow and Seattleite Neal Friedman has first-hand knowledge of the problems.
The Seattle attorney, his wife and two teenage sons flew on British Airways via Heathrow from Seattle to Switzerland, and from Rome back to Seattle. Four of their five flights were canceled during their three-week trip, adding days of stressful delays and expense to their vacation.
Friedman has flown British Airways several times before and praises the in-flight staff, but said this summer's trip was a nightmare. He estimates he spent an extra $3,500 on substitute flights, train tickets, car rental and hotel rooms because of the canceled flights