Sunday, July 29, 2012

Some time in Terminal 5

Terminal 5 roof, detail.
Returning to the UK via Terminal 5 at Heathrow, not much evidence of the Olympic Spirit being spread around. Here in Brave New Britain nobody can be trusted, not even the British. As soon as you get off the plane you're checked and photographed, then your passport is checked, then you're searched again. OK, now you are allowed to trawl the leaden halls, mixing with fellow travellers crippled with the hostile razzmatazz, marketing  and muzac, shopping in glittering prisons and canteens, then waiting, anonymous in rows as your steel birds are prepared.

Once the flight is called you're photo is checked, then your papers and passport. If you pass you can fly, if you fail the machine stops and you are cast out...somewhere, perhaps they  put you on a bus. I asked a few of the BA operators, MITIE staff and Border Control folks why these extra checks were in force, nobody answered, nobody quite knows, they just do what they are told it seems, eyes like saucers. A glitch in the great system then halts our plane's boarding, nobody explains, they stand, we all stand, nobody says anything, we stay in line. When you ask why you get no answer, just a nod to move on. So why bother with new passports, their chips and codes and images, why bother with on-line checks and bar codes?  We think we are British and can prove it but Britain or BA or BAA, whoever they are, isn't so sure.

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