Every time I fly out of one of the London airports (Luton, Gatwick or Heathrow) I am flabbergasted by the disorganization of it all. It’s like every person working there is on their first day and doesn’t know what they’re doing. Even the passengers are standing around in confusion, gaping at the blurry old monitors waiting for their gate to be announced.
At Heathrow’s terminal four it can take you 20 minutes to walk from one end of the terminal to the other. But unfortunately they don’t tell you the gate number of a departing flight until just moments before they start boarding. No wonder then that planes get delayed as passengers are on the wrong side of the terminal when their plane starts boarding.
At Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, there are monitors by every gate that tell you all the departing flights at that gate for the next 24 hours, even into the next day. Why can’t they plan ahead like that at Heathrow or Gatwick Airport? I don’t get it. I wonder if they do it on purpose, just so that passengers are hanging around the shops and restaurants longer to spend money, in stead of waiting at the gate.
On two stop-overs at Heathrow from Amsterdam to Chicago both times our luggage got lost. The first time was in December 2003. Many flights were delayed due to bad weather, and so had our flight from Amsterdam. Afraid we had already missed our connection to Chicago, we got off the plane and started running and following the ‘Connections’ signs. Nowhere were there any monitors with flight information, so we couldn’t find out if our flight had already left or not. After miles-long corridors we finally came to a passport-check with a huge waiting line. Still there were no monitors anywhere. I went up to the information desk to ask them to let us through to make our connecting flight, but the man responded “Oh, that flight has already left. Just wait in line, you’re going to have to rebook your flight.” Hugely disappointed we returned to the line and waited patiently until we passed the checkpoint. When we finally got inside the terminal and saw a monitor with departure times, we discovered that our flight hadn’t left and that it had actually started boarding. Because of that nitwit we almost missed it!