Heathrow will never be a good hub with our ‘Security’

Lord Berkeley

The idea of a hub at Heathrow may be attractive to those who have never experienced changing planes there. I did in September, having flown from Brussels and onwards to Glasgow through the lovely modern Terminal 5.

I was expecting to savour the feeling of BA’s double page spread in the Sunday Telegraph on 15 September 2013 – ‘To glide. To stride. To breeze through Heathrow Terminal 5….effortlessly…’ I did not have to change terminals, and got back into my own country rather quicker through the transfer channel than I would if I was ending up in London. But then up an escalator to find myself at the wrong end of Security.

The fact that I had been through Security in Brussels cut no ice; everyone must go through again. There were long queues, and most of the security staff had clearly gone home. Of the aisles still open, clearly the staff were told to be as slow and difficult as possible. Shoes and belts off, laptop on a separate box – ‘not with your jacket, stupid!’ – then through the x-ray machine that bleeped on just about every passenger. Empty one’s pockets, with one security person opining that I had too many coins in mine. Up on a stand, no – ‘one foot at a time’ – whilst they studied intently the content of everyone’s bags, coats, shoes and assorted phones, ipads etc in the x ray machines.

All this was done by a group of sullen ‘guards’ who clearly had never set foot in a customer awareness course. The mind boggles at the idea of any of this lot encouraging people to glide or stride! But then, I suspect that their security ‘masters’ (they are probably all male ex services or from the uncontrolled arms of the police force) want to put the fear of God into passengers before being promoted to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre. One guard helpfully suggested that one should allow two hours for transfer between flights within Terminal 5, so presumably one needs to add one to two hours for transfer to or from other terminals.

So I suggest that it is fanciful to suggest that Heathrow should be expanded to become a bigger hub with three or four runways. That will just compound the problems and delays and, since our security services here have an unrivalled ability to persuade ministers that they need more resources, equipment and staff to protect them and us from some danger they have probably invented themselves, it would be better to allow other airports such as Schiphol, that permit incoming and outgoing passengers to mix, to run hubs as efficiently as they do now, and confine our aspirations to essential journeys in and out by air!


11 comments for “Heathrow will never be a good hub with our ‘Security’

  1. 17/09/2013 at 12:29 pm

    I quite agree, all this about needing to enlarge Heathrow so that we have a single hub is nonsense, as it’s already effectively at least three separate airports, and adding a third runway and Terminal 6 would make it four airports. Staying within the same terminal is bad enough, but try transferring to a flight in Terminal 4, which is very time consuming to get to. You may as well transfer to Gatwick or Stansted. With fast rail links to those airports, there’s no need to enlarge Heathrow. Each airline alliance tends to fly to the same terminal anyway, and those terminals need not be at the same airport. The only people who benefit from enlarging Heathrow are its owners, so it’s hardly surprising the continue to peddle “one hub” as the only solution.

  2. maude elwes
    17/09/2013 at 3:24 pm

    Well lets look at what is really going on.


    And our police force.


    So, who are these ‘private’ companies that run our security? Are the security companies covering the UK British companies? Or, are they companies that are making billions for oversees enterprises?


    And if they are overseas companies, which countries are they registered in or who in them at the top is running the show?

    This trust our gullible government has placed in those who have ulterior motives is astounding and very peculiar. We should all be very afraid.

    Time for a rapid change in thinking.

  3. Honoris Causa
    17/09/2013 at 5:32 pm

    My idea of hell. There can not be many worse places in the world, to be. Last time I was there I met the late David Frost in the oppsite direction just coming back from his Moscow meeting with Gorbachev.

  4. MilesJSD
    17/09/2013 at 7:20 pm

    Heathrow will never be “secure”. Full Stop.

    Because it is as guilty as all other airports in the world of “sawing off the branch we are all sitting on”;

    namely by hedonisticly and blindly guzzling away the non-renewable resources that will eventually be needed to propel our Humankind’s Survival Space-Fleets to a better and longer-lasting “Earth 2”.

  5. Honoris Causa
    18/09/2013 at 11:09 am

    Miles The theory is of course that there is too little “space” for us all to survive peaceably together. when you consider the extraordinary courage of the first pilgrim fathers to america setting out in small sailing boats, many to perish on the way, perhaps the future holds the same as the past,
    of small galactic/universe explorers setting out in the same way.

    What is certain is that those who say

    “There is not enough space”,

    are also those who opine that

    “We are all in it together”
    as they progress in exclusive style from one place to another, and certainly not risking their all, by going any place dangerous, never to return.

    The more modest amongst us, of whom I hopefully count myself as one, are well aware of the truths of the global warming, of this planet, and the drastic depletion of fossil fuels on which we depend, even for the plenteousness of our food supplies.

    It took about 100 years from the “discovery” of America until the first emigration in any numbers began. Perhaps somebody actually got back by then to tell the good news.

    “Night flight back(?) from Venus” Boney M!

  6. MilesJSD
    22/09/2013 at 9:37 pm

    I humbly ‘resonate’ with each and all of you above (about Heathrow as a world-hub)
    and I see “An Embryo Sustainworthily Eclectical World View” emerging behind your various deliberations and intuitions.
    Yet I am still ‘stuck’,
    in ‘knowing’ that the higher paygrade one ‘achieves’, and ‘personal-development-progresses up into’,
    the more insidiously ‘deluded’ one, and one’s whole onwards-and-upwards ‘achieving class’, becomes.

    Not only the ‘beyond-accountability’ top-achievers but the whole of the ‘core-affluent Middle Classes’,
    and logically on downwards to proportionately include most of the lower and even welfare classes,
    by drawing more than one human-living each from the Common-Civilisational-Purse and the Natural-Earth-Environment,
    are mounting up an increasingly unpayable Debt, both to The Living Earth and to Human Civilisations hereon.

    Among these ‘beyond the point of no return’ leaders must be counted captains of industry such as the owners of Heathrow Multi-Airport.
    This wouldn’t be a Grand Issue if those debts could be ‘in kind’ repaid;
    but they can not;

    and a bigger Heathrow will only worsen such worldwide Runaway-Derivitivisational, Essentially-Real-Lifesupports Unpayable Debt.

  7. Honoris Causa
    23/09/2013 at 6:52 pm


    The nearest solar system to our own thought to have planets similar to our own has this planet imaginatively known as Gliese 876 d.

    Take off from Heathrow.

  8. MilesJSD
    25/09/2013 at 5:38 am

    Don’t you think that running space-shuttle tourism trips is an insane individual-capitalism “budgeting” game as bad or worse than Russian-roulette ?

    Isn’t Heathrow self-bigging brinkmanship also a wild form of Pyrrhic victorying ?

  9. Honoris Causa
    25/09/2013 at 8:41 am

    It took a hundred years between the arrival of the first Europeans on the continent of America (1502 Honduras) and the arrival of the first pilgrim fathers to America in 1605.

    I hope that URL is ok but it demonstrates clearly what the problems are between the first space exploration in 1959 (moon landing), and finding habitable
    places in other solar systems or even our own. The first craft is thought to have left the solar system voyager 1 and 2, which departed in 1977, and are now 11.5 billion miles away.

    You’ll just have to put up with Heathrow for the time being. I think what many people hope is that one we are investigating at the moment will have at least some places which are habitable, a question of finding them on such a huge planet, being the biggests problem of all; no need to go so far.

    More properly to the subject, of Heathrow, it is frequently noise pollution which gives us the impression that the world is overcrowded, noise detracts from the space we do have. Depletion of fossil fuels nearly always results in noise, and noise makes us think we do not have enough space.
    My own garden is about 25% smaller, and valuers can evaluate it, as a consqeuence of having heavy traffic go past outside. So not only is the world a much smaller place through the use of internal combustion, but it is also smaller for those who are NOT using it, but suffering from it.

  10. MilesJSD
    25/09/2013 at 5:24 pm

    ok; that’s resonable, Honoris.

  11. Honoris Causa
    02/10/2013 at 10:00 am

    Voyager 2 is now outside our own solar system, and has not yet entered another one, so is it in “no time ” at all, and what kind of time will it be in when it does enter a different time (not zone )system? I am not sure exactly where it was headed for in the first place.

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