Sunday, 30 March 2008
Even the captain of the BA jumbo was apprehensive as we flew into T5 last night, but the system seemed to work reasonably well and we only waited 30 minutes for our baggage - though naturally without a word of explanation. But entering Britain from Japan always entails reverse culture shock and this is nowhere better experienced than at train stations and airports. In Japan everything works perfectly with a quiet silky smoothness, occasionally puntcuated by softly-spoken female announcements in precisely-modulated English. Everything is spotless and the staff well-dressed, alert and eager to help.
At T5, one sees self-important BA staff pushing their way in groups through throngs of confused passengers, while many of the BAA staff are scruffy, apparently dressed in whatever they like, except for over-intrusive fluorescent jackets. They also move about in somewhat threatening groups - apparently sightseeing - or standing with their hands in the pockets as though the terminal exists for them and not the passengers. No amout of high-priced architecture can make up for incivility of the staff and the feeling that you are being processed by a system, instead of being welcomed and helped by friendly and well-educated people.
Click the heading for some more photos of T5