Heathrow: Frustration is the dominant emotion among those delayed

FOREIGN travellers at Heathrow yesterday reacted with frustration at the delays, but few signs of fear.

The memory of Gerry Adams's recent visit to the US had clearly influenced some American passengers. 'Now we know a lot more about these guys than you think,' said one woman attending a schools basketball tournament with a group of American children. 'We heard they always give a warning so there really isn't anything to worry about. No one back home seems worried about flying into here. Hell, they wouldn't hurt anyone unless they had to . . .'

The basketball fan was an island of calm in a sea of frustration and misery. Hundreds of passengers evacuated from Terminal 4 crowded into Terminal 1, where thousands more were waiting for news of their delayed flights in a demoralising information vacuum.

Tony Leisner, an American consultant to a firm in Folkestone, Kent, had arrived from Miami at 6.40am, was told to stay aboard the plane for about an hour, then evacuated from Terminal 4 when, unbeknown to him, a mortar bomb landed on the roof. By 1.30pm, he was exhausted.

'The worst thing isn't the thought of the bombs,' he said. 'It's that horrible feeling of knowing you're getting farther and farther away from your luggage. That's what's more likely to stop Americans coming to Heathrow. People will get flights to Gatwick or some other airport - not to avoid the bombs, but to avoid the disruption and stress. Stress kills more people than bombs.'

A Portuguese woman, flying to Lisbon, said the reputation of British airports had remained intact in her country, despite the mortar attacks. 'There is a lot of faith in British security,' she said. She looked shocked, however, when told a mortar bomb had landed on the roof.

The biggest complaint was lack of information. Five hours after the attack, 30 long-haul flights had been cancelled, eight inbound aircraft had been sent as far away as Liverpool, and scores more departures were being delayed. But no one had told the passengers

exactly why.

'We were concerned something like this might happen, so we called at 6am and asked whether we should go from Gatwick,' said Titus Kuhne, travelling to Dusseldorf with his friend, Christian Drawirt. 'They said 'No, everything's fine', so we came here. No one has told us a thing since then. They just keep repeating there's been a 'security alert'.'

Sitting on his rucksack, Mr Kuhne could not resist taking a peek at his watch. 'The flight from Gatwick was due to take off four minutes ago,' he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders