First Day – BA1391
Well just a quick bit of a trip report from me today. I’ve recently arrived in T5
off my flight from Manchester and I’ve now got a two hour wait for a friend to arrive so I figure I’ll write a quick trip report, just going briefly through things from this morning and quickly detailing what the place is like and how the first day is going. I have to say though, it could be better!
The basics of the trip today are that I’ve been bought a ticket down to LHR
for reasons unknown. It’s something to do with friends, family and my birthday but apart from that who knows what I’m doing here! All I know is that I have a return flight home on Sunday 30th with BA
, again from T5
Departure Time: 11:15
Arrival Time: 12:20
27th March 2008
So things started this morning at 7am when I awoke and quickly showered, dressed and packed. I got myself to Preston train station and took a TPE
service at 0840 to Manchester Airport which took just about an hour. A nice bonus of the journey was that I got a free upgrade to First Class thanks to knowing the conductor.
Once at the airport I headed toward T3
and toward the Bag Drop area after having already checked in the night before and printed off my boarding card for seat 01A. Usually if I have a choice on domestic flights I’ll try get on a B757 but since they are now banished to T3
ops at LHR
, I had to make do with an A320. Not exactly an issue and c’est la vie.
Check-in was completely hassle free with nobody at all queuing at the BA
desks. I was offered some chocolates by the PSA
checking me in as of course I was one of the first passengers to fly in to LHR T5
, a nice touch by BA
and Aviance. Once I had dropped my bag I headed to Security Zone C which is fairly new at Manchester and passed through there. Again this was completely empty and had two lanes open with fifteen staff, just for me. Can’t complain, it was a welcome change.
I was now airside at MAN
by 10:10 which gave me roughly an hour for my flight. I headed towards the quiet Gate 49 area and started to read. I made a few calls whilst up there upon when I was informed that T5
was already having issues with delays, flights leaving without their baggage and a lack of staff. I was also told at this time that my flight had a thirty five minute delay and would be departing at 11:50. Not too much of an issue but still a little irritating. It was at this time that I noticed A319 G-EUPJ
leaving thirty minutes late as the earlier shuttle to LHR
Eventually my aircraft landed on 23R and taxied to Gate 142. Boarding started at 11:40 and we were all onboard for 11:55. The captain then informed us that due to “teething problems” at T5
and an ATC slot restriction, we wouldn’t be able to push back for another ten minutes. Of course that was a little pessimistic as usual with crew, I find, and we pushed back five minutes afterwards and headed to Runway 23R for departure.
We were finally airborne at 12:10 and had just thirty five minutes to run to LHR
. When the All Day Deli was served I declined the bird seed they tried to pass off as food and just took a glass of water. After fifteen minutes in the air the A320 began it’s descent in to LHR
. For once we didn’t enter the hold at Bovingdon and headed straight over the city of London and made some right turns to establish on the ILS for Runway 27L. After thirty five minutes flying time we landed at LHR
and exited the runway opposite the BA
World Centre and slowed to a snails pace and headed toward the new taxiways of T5
We came to a stop abeam the first few gates at T5
. The captain now welcomed us to T5
but again reiterated that due to “teething problems” we would be here for up to ten minutes until aircraft that were ‘stuck’ on stand could be pushed back. Again it was only five minutes until we started moving forward although at an OAP’s walking pace. We then traversed the total length of T5
toward Gate 501 which was over on the Runway 09L area of T5
and actually the furthest away. Even still, the taxi shouldn’t have taken ten minutes but alas, we were in no rush.
Once on stand the engines were shut down and everybody stood up as usual and got their possessions together. However, the captain then made another announcement and in a pretty damn apologetic way informed us that due to the “teething problems” we wouldn’t be able to leave the aircraft for another hour as there was nobody to drive the airbridge to the aircraft. This seemed totally ridiculous and to me it was at this point that BA
’s “Fit for five” campaign made the war in Iraq look organised and well thought through!
A drink service by the cabin crew was then authorised and we all sat back down and were offered water and various trays filled with fruit juices. A few children on the flight were given cockpit visits and various announcements were made saying not to worry if you have a connecting flight, all flights will probably be delayed anyway! This wasn’t exactly the best start for T5
but credit where credit is due and I must say that the crew performed brilliantly given the circumstances.
Thankfully after thirty minutes I saw the airbridge start moving toward us. I was talking to a crew member called Yasmine at the time and she seemed pretty relived when I told her. Roughly five minutes after that I had left the A320 and was finally in Terminal 5 and walking up the very long airbridge toward the terminal. However, I wasn’t quite there yet and when I tried to open the door to enter the building I found it was locked. Very quickly the entire passenger complement was queued up waiting to be let in with myself and another guy trying to get the attention of anybody who walked by. We finally managed this after a few minutes but had to wait another five minutes for him to find the key. Before he would open the door though he was shouting through the double glass, “Where did you come from?” We literally all shouted back at him, “MANCHESTER”. He finally opened the door and we all headed in to the giant yet segregated arrivals hall. There were already a great many people here and I knew I would be here for a while!
Time ticked by and after a while I had started to get very cold and restless. The baggage carousels used for Domestic are numbered ‘1 and 2’ whilst some tables to the side are used for Outsize Baggage. Back in LHR
T1 this used to be belt 10 but now it is a set of metal tables which I assume have to have contents placed on to them by somebody.
As I waited I started to have a walk around and noticed that many finishing touched are needed. There are still pallets with building equipment dotted around everywhere, missing panels all over and every other light in the reclaim hall seemed to be broke. The lifts up to the Transfer Desk also needed to be finished off with only one out of two working and for the one that did work; it had a temporary exterior wooden frame with the call button nailed on. Not a great look. However the place did smell just great, it has a kind of new car smell. The new baggage trolleys smelt strongly of new rubber and many things still have product labels on them. It obviously felt very new and even in it’s unfinished state, it was, is and will be a very pleasant place to be.
Finally after forty five minutes my baggage showed up, which I wasn’t expecting it to if I’m honest. I could now make my way out landside. I gave my friend a call and met him as I exited and he then went on to show me around upstairs. As the day has progressed the luggage system has totally messed up and it makes you wonder what the T5
trails where for. At the moment you could say that we are fit for 5 but 5 might not be quite fit for us, yet.
Below I’m going to add all my photos I’ve taken today. I’d usually add them along with the report but due to the fact I’m still in T5
and running short on time today, I think its fine to just add them below. Any comments and criticism on what I’ve wrote is welcome however I do realise completely things couldn’t be expected to run smoothly but what I’ve put here is just how it was and how it is, for now.
G-BUSJ at MAN
The city of London
Heading towards our stand
At a stop outside T5
T5A and T5B
Awaiting the airbridge
30 minutes later
Domestic baggage reclaim
I got told off for taking this photo but it was too funny to miss!
More of outside
Welcome to the building site
Nice yet wasted space
Welcome to our new home...
Customer Service Desk aka Ticket Desk
The pub where I wrote this trip report
Photos from my phone:
Not quite finished
Not quite sorted lifts
Taken from airside looking landside
Nice job there..
The press area. Richard Quest from CNN was in there. I hate the guy and
wanted to punch him but was advised not to. Shame.
I finished writing this trip report at 16:00 however the wifi in T5
wasn’t working wherever I tried and as such I’ve had to wait till now (21:30) when I’ve got back to my friends house. Also my father was due to fly back on the BA1404 tonight at 1920 however he was delayed until 2145 and I have just found out the flight has now been cancelled and he has literally been kicked out of T5
and told to find his own accommodation which is totally appalling. He’s been told he can get his money back for the hotel and will be rebooked on to another flight tomorrow however, this really isn’t on.
One Life, Live it.