Death To Heathrow! Long Live Heathrow!

There’s all kinds of political drama going on in Britain about Heathrow, an airport recently described by the Times of London as “unlovely and unloved,” which is surely an understatement.

The Labor government would like to add a third runway to Heathrow, which has somehow been managing to be the world’s third busiest airport with only two. But there’s lots of opposition, including some within the Labor party and plenty more from environmentalists.

Also, London Mayor Boris Johnson would like to close Heathrow and build a new airport on a man-made island in the Thames estuary. (Wired’s Autopia blog has more on that.)

I haven’t been there in 20 years, so I decided to find out what the British public thinks. In perusing online commentary, I found disagreement on how — and whether — to proceed with airport development. But I discovered a near unanimity of opinion regarding Heathrow in its current state.

“Nightmare” and “embarrassment” are the favored terms, but I also turned up “squalid and unfriendly,” “a sprawling monstrosity,” “hell on earth,” “truly diabolical” and “a right hovel.”

I like that. A right hovel.


2 thoughts on “Death To Heathrow! Long Live Heathrow!

  1. Tim Henderson

    Yep !
    The airport owners had pinned all their attention on their shiny new Terminal 5 that the others were left in a bad shape – leaky roofs, fallen ceiling tiles, duct tape holding the place together…. They also managed to demoralise their workforce so they have no pride in the place and then they failed to train the workforce for the new terminal so that it fell over as soon as it opened. (Government Inquiry report on what went wrong to be published on Monday).
    Not a happy place !

  2. Ken

    Just got back from our sorta-annual travels through Heathrow. In general, except for being sparse with comfortable seating areas, we find the main terminal a wonderful slice of humanity. People watching, shopping, dining (which can be surprisingly comfortable areas), etc. The concourses, though, are abysmal. Is there such a thing as a “good” airport? We even like Denver — who’d a thunk that?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *