Travel: A hike at Heathrow

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The Independent Travel
COMPARED with the prospect of a 35-hour delay, or having to stand up all the way to New Zealand, it may seem churlish to complain about a 10-minute hold-up on flights into Heathrow. But the new extension to Terminal Four is adding to the journey time of all who have the misfortune to arrive there.

When the terminal opened in 1986 it claimed to answer many of the air traveller's grumbles, especially by reducing the long walks to and from departure gates. But now it has been 'enhanced' by a bolt-on extension whose design not only fails to meet any aesthetic criteria but also fails to meet the demands of a Boeing 747. This is a pity, since the 747 is precisely the aircraft which uses it most frequently. Space is so restricted that arriving jumbos have to be towed to the gate.

Once a tractor has been found and the aircraft finally parked, the long march begins. No doubt there are good medical reasons why you should take a hike after spending eight hours on a plane, but having to cover half a mile just to get to the original terminal seems excessive. If anyone can come up with a longer aircraft-to-outside-world journey by foot, let me know.

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