Letter: In the dark at Heathrow as the IRA's mortars 'fail'

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The Independent Online
Sir: One must sympathise with the Heathrow authorities in the face of so many security alerts. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways in which life could have been made easier for passengers. I spent most of Sunday at Heathrow in the company of my sister and her three children, who were attempting to return to Montreal on a BA flight.

Honesty would have helped. Aware that there might be another attack on the airport, I telephoned BA information service at about 8am before setting off. Although it now seems that coded warnings had been telephoned to news organisations at about 6am, I was assured that all was well.

At Terminal 1, we ran into the 'demoralising information vacuum' to which your reporter, Steve Boggan, referred ('Frustration is the dominant emotion among those delayed', 14 March). When cancellations were announced, the list of cancelled flights was given only once. The list should have been repeated immediately, and a written list posted. If the monitors were not available for this purpose, a handwritten list pinned up at the BA desk would have done the job.

When we were waiting with thousands of others at the central bus station, an updated list of flights still running could have been given. This would have spared us a futile journey, with children and luggage, to Terminal 4. Finally an international airport should provide such announcements in more than one language.

We hope that if there is a further security alert when we repeat our journey to Heathrow, we are kept better informed. The airport authorities must learn from their mistakes and minimise the impact of an inevitably stressful experience on travellers.

Yours sincerely,


London, W14

14 March