I’m so pissed off I don’t quite know where to start with this one, so let’s cut to the quick.

On Monday I had to get a hotel at Heathrow Airport, which is perhaps the most avaricious location on the planet, more of which later.

I booked through We Know London, a money grubbing enterprise based at the Arrivals ‘Lounge’  (named one presumes on the mistaken belief that the lounge in our home is a shabby, miserable space where one’s first thought is to slash your wrists and get it all over with);  their charge for the cheapest place available was £149 – a rip off, of course, but that’s what you expect of the grasping hellhole that is Britain’s premier airport. I was also told that it would be an additional £30 for the transfers (note the plural) to and from the airport.

Turns out that it was actually £30 each way, so for a ten-minute journey from Terminal 1 to my hotel that night and a five-minute journey to Terminal 5 the next morning I paid £60. And the morning transfer turned up ten minutes late into the bargain.

When I later queried the extra £30 I was told by a surly individual at We Know London that it was a standard fare and he didn’t consider it expensive. Maybe not at Heathrow, but in the rest of the civilised world I think you would find, young sir, that such a fee is regarded as excessive.

But then I was forgetting that Heathrow is not a part of the civilised world, and BAA and all those associated with them are driven entirely by greed and avarice. Customer service never comes into the equation and assistance is offered begrudgingly and with truculence at all times, whilst the majority of the staff speak unintelligible English since the UK’s most important airport clearly sees no necessity to employ people who actually speak the native tongue clearly and fluently.

Little wonder then that this utter shithole is regularly voted one of the world’s worst airports.

Compare this with Reykjavik’s Keflavik Airport, from where I had just flown. Cool, spacious and accommodating, there was no sign of irritation among either staff or customers despite the problems created by the volcanic ash cloud that was causing all sorts of hassle for travellers.

The check in staff even told me that my overweight bag wouldn’t incur and excess baggage fee “Since you’ve already been through enough today”. A similar situation at Heathrow would simply have some grey faced, flabby jobsworth telling you “Sorry mate, I don’t care that you’ve been waiting hours for your flight, you gotta pay if your bags are overweight”.

It’s a worry to think that Heathrow, that symbol of where Britain got the 20th and 21st centuries completely wrong, is the first and last British experience hundreds of thousands of visitors will have when they arrive for the Olympics next year.

As it currently stands I can only see them going home with the feeling that if the gateway to Britain is anything to go by, then this country is well and truly fucked…




  1. Duncan Lamb says:

    Your spot on Alf !!! Had you not realised before that you were travelling through a third world airport. At least in Lagos they smile while they are robbing you !!!
    The trouble is I will be there on Friday travelling out to Newfoundland so happy days !!!

    All the best Duncan

  2. Dove says:

    ‘Cool Britannia’ buggered then?

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