Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Heathrow: Kafka-esque

The first trip to and from Sweden I went through Frankfurt International to get to Copenhagen. I thought the airport was duplicitous. Well compared to Heathrow it looks like a gem. I had the great displeasure of going through Heathrow airport today. I will say this: eventually the airport is going to suffer for its incompetence. Not by a terrorist attack. I think they're precautions will work as well if not better than anyone else's. They will be hurt in the wallet.

There's a scene at the end of Frank Kafka's The Trial where a priest explains to the hero that he is like a man who waits at the outer of an endless series of doors; endlessly pleading with the doorman to get in. The priest explains how futile the quest is. For not only is the doorman unflinching in his task but even if by some miracle the first door was unbarred their would be a dozen more difficult doors to pass through.

Kafka was making a grand statement about government bureaucracy, God and who knows what else but today I knew exactly what he was talking about. In order to transfer planes at Heathrow, one must go through a security check (this is standard operating procedure almost everywhere). What makes Heathrow unique is that for entire terminal of passengers switching planes, they have exactly ONE metal detector. ONE. Thus the endless line I endured today. Not only that, but my plane took 20 minutes longer than it should have to land at and take off from Heathrow because their runways can't handle the daily traffic. Une belle desastre if there ever was one. If you are planning a trip to Europe, heed my advice: avoid Heathrow at all costs.


Werner Patels said...

I fully agree. Heathrow is a disaster. The queues for entering the area that leads to the x-ray machines, shops, gates, etc. are miles long, even at off-peak travel times.

Next time, I'll take FlyZoom and bypass Heathrow completely.

Anonymous said...

Just wait till the new terminal is built. Hold your horses.

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