Via London Gatwick and British Airways – the first predictably awful, the latter surprisingly good.
Yesterday was a peak travel day as Brits headed out to sun or ski. Gatwick is a tourist airport, so doesn’t work to maintain the loyalty of frequent travelers. It’s run by the hapless BAA, so its security process as as customer-abusive as BAA’s Heathrow.
There’s a small wrinkle – Gatwick has a second security stage after bag and WTMD screening, in which selected travelers (about 50%) get to walk barefoot on dirty tiles while their shoes are screened. We didn’t get pulled over, but the pen walls were low enough for us to watch the victims – mostly kids – being put through this dirty and humilating process.
The MRSA epidemic in UK hospitals has now spread to the community, no doubt thanks to BAA.
So if you have to travel out through a BAA airport, take some disposable socks. If they insist you walk barefoot, don’t fly.
But British Airways was fine – their online boarding pass system is well designed, they’ve rationalized checkin, the plane was a Boeing 737-436 with good legroom, and it took off on time and landed early.