Much Ado about Heathrow

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The airport's shiny new terminal has been plagued with problems since it opened Thursday. What went wrong?


Speaking of new buildings, British Airways brought in extra staff today to deal with a massive backlog of luggage that's built up at Heathrow Airport's multibillion-dollar brand new Terminal 5. Some 15,000 suitcases are waiting to be reunited with their owners after an emergency overhaul of the troubled luggage system.

The problems began even before the first flight touched down at Terminal 5. The first baggage handlers to arrive at work Thursday morning found there weren't enough spaces in the specially designated staff parking lot. Long lines at staff security checkpoints and confusing instructions to baggage handling teams meant that bags piled up on the special computerized conveyor belt, and choked the entire system to a standstill.

Britain's Guardian newspaper quoted one observer as saying, it was a case of the baggage computer saying no. British Airways chief executive Willy Walsh said today that the system is now generally working well, though 54 more flights have been cancelled, or should I say bagged, for Monday.

(Soundbite of song, "I'm So Worried")

MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS: (Singing) I'm worried about the baggage retrieval they've got at Heathrow.

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