Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ANGER OF THE BA PASSENGERS; as Up to 300,000 Are Caught in Worsening Flights Mayhem, Heathrow Chief Says: Chaos? What Chaos?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ANGER OF THE BA PASSENGERS; as Up to 300,000 Are Caught in Worsening Flights Mayhem, Heathrow Chief Says: Chaos? What Chaos?

Article excerpt

Byline: DICK MURRAY;PAUL SIMS

PASSENGERS furious at being stranded at Heathrow were told today: You're overreacting.

There were angry scenes as British Airways travellers faced flight cancellations which could last for several days because of an unofficial strike.

Up to 300,000 people, many of them holidaymakers, could be caught up in the delays over the busy holiday weekend after BA announced there would be no flights until 10.15 tonight - and there is no guarantee all flights will resume after that.

But today the man in overall charge of the airport denied the situation was "chaotic" and suggested passengers did not understand the true picture.

"Clearly, in these circumstances, passengers find it difficult to see through what is going on in here," said Mick Temple, Heathrow's managing director. "If you are one of these passengers affected getting information is always a challenge. I am not downplaying the situation but chaotic is not an appropriate description of the scene we face today."

Passengers stuck at Terminals 1 and 4 reacted angrily. "For him to say it is not chaotic is ridiculous," said Kevin McMann, 38, a computer technician trying to get home to Edinburgh after a holiday in Thailand.

Phil Morgan, 52, said: "It's chaos because nobody knows what is going on."

Mr Morgan and his wife Judy have been waiting since noon yesterday to begin a holiday.

The dispute escalated yesterday afternoon when 1,000 baggage handlers, loaders and cargo workers walked out in support of 800 catering staff sacked by US firm Gate Gourmet.

BA cancelled 121 flights yesterday and a further 550 today face the axe.

BA said that it had been forced to put up 4,000 passengers in hotels overnight.

Several hundred more slept on the concourse floor or tried to make themselves comfortable on plastic seating.

BA travellers are being offered refunds or alternative flight dates but because of the backlog they will not be able to travel until after the weekend.

Passengers due to fly today were told to stay away but many still turned up.

The dispute has again damaged BA's reputation and marks the third summer in a row that holidaymakers have been left stranded. …

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