'Heathrow was absolute chaos. I've never seen anything like it'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Thursday, 3.55pm: I heard on the radio that BA flights were delayed. I thought, oh no, here we go again. When we were here last, four years ago, we were delayed 16 hours.

4.50pm: We arrived at Heathrow and were met by BA staff. It was absolute chaos. I have never seen anything like it.

6pm: I still thought we would go.

8pm: A BA staff member told us to find accommodation. I said we had been told they would pay for accommodation. He said: 'You go and find whatever story you like to hear.'

9pm: The screens, which had said, 'Please wait' by our flight, now said 'See BA staff'. Flight cancelled.

9.30pm: We went to join another queue to get accommodation. It was maybe 60 or 70 people.

10.15pm: We reached the desk: the only hotel was the Thistle for £173 a night. We were desperate so we took it.

10.30pm: We took our three suitcases, two pieces of hand luggage and gifts and took the Heathrow Express to Terminal One and then the coach to the hotel. I was traumatised and angry, yelling at Paul.

11.30pm: We arrived at the Thistle. They greeted us with drinks - Ribena so watered down you could taste the chlorine. I was beside myself, nearly weeping.

Midnight: Another customer had a form for compensation. We asked for a photocopy. A man said it would be £1. I told him where to get off.

Friday 12.15am: We got our key and walked through four corridors to the room. There was a big hole in the bathroom ceiling and water pouring in. It stank of cigarettes. I went back to the desk and he said he had no other rooms. I kicked up a stink and he found us one.

1am: We realised our credit cards were maxed out. We tried to get on the internet to transfer funds but the computer had an out-of-order sign.

2am: We got into bed.

5.30am: We got up and started trying to phone the BA number again.

6.45am: We wanted breakfast but it was not included in the price of the room.

7.30am: I phoned my sister to tell her we were still here. She said come back to Essex but we just wanted to get home.

8.30am: We took the coach and train back to Terminal 4 again.

9am: We were greeted by BA staff who told us to go and sit in a marquee. They were handing out food - a bagel and crisps.

10am: I went for the first of several walks.

11.30am: A rumour went around that we would not get away for a few days.

12.15pm: They started to call people into the terminal to rebook with BA or transfer to another airline.

1.30pm: A rumour said they were not going to reimburse us for the hotel or flights on another airline. I felt sick. Someone handed out leaflets from Gate Gourmet saying 'Thank you for your support'. A real cheek. A woman from BA said: 'As long as you are with BA you're in safe hands'.

3.30pm: Into Departures. Hopefully we will get home tomorrow.

Interview by Terri Judd

Comments