I feel I just have to get this down after the massive holdup at Heathrow over the bank holiday weekend and the attitude of the people involved. I just couldn’t believe it!
- There was a problem and a vast number of flights were delayed. As always the fault – or rather the blame – went to the Computer. And once the all-powerful computer system was off there was nothing they could do about it. They couldn’t let the passengers, the tired passengers who’d already endured a long flight, disembark because the computer system wouldn’t disgorge their details. They couldn’t let the aircraft waiting on the tarmac take off – the computers were down. Now I’m not a computer expert, but surely if the main system and the back-up both failed, then what you do is go back to the old fashioned way – pencil and paper and people shouting out names from a list. Perhaps it’s like Scorton village shop when the till wasn’t working and the only people that could add up bills and give change accurately were those over 50 who had never become dependent on the computer.
- What really bothers me though, is the sheep-like attitude of the customers; they endure indefinite delays, lack of information and a totally uncaring attitude towards the public. Yet no-one seemed even mildly surprised at the treatment they got. You expect this if you travel by air especially if you use British Airways. Why were the punters not storming the check-in desks, demanding to see the person in charge, making a fuss and demanding redress? Are we really so feeble that we allow the airlines to treat us like sheep? Sorry, scrap that last bit, sheep would get better treatment; RSPCA, Animal Rights and other organisations would see a sheep had food and water and somewhere to bed down.
- Then the chairman of British Airways boasts that he is not going to resign over the shambles. Resign? It shouldn’t be a question of resign or not resign; it should be whether or not he will be sacked! Personally I think he should.
- Further to paragraph 2: what were the repercussions to this massive cock-up? Did the shares in B.A. go through he floor? I doubt it. Did the major holiday firms and the business travellers cancel their contracts with B.A. and refuse to use Heathrow or Gatwick again? I doubt it. Did even the ordinary airline travellers who fly to holiday destinations in sunny climes make sure they never travel with this airline in future? I don’t think so. We are too forgiving – or do I mean too spineless?
- A final grim thought: if the problem had been a bomb – or even just a false report of a bomb – would Heathrow and Gatwick have reacted any more efficiently? I doubt it. So obviously the message this sends to any would-be terrorists: don’t bother with bombs and bullets, target the IT systems, it’s less hassle and more disruptive!
If you have to fly, this is the way to do it!