BAGS OF ROOM

Credit where credit is due. One truly innovative aspect of the new fifth passenger terminal at Heathrow is that it has barely a check-in desk in sight. Instead, the departures concourse is designed with the aim that 80 percent of passengers will check in online or at self-service kiosks. When cargo journalists recently were shown […]


Credit where credit is due. One truly innovative aspect of the new fifth passenger terminal at Heathrow is that it has barely a check-in desk in sight. Instead, the departures concourse is designed with the aim that 80 percent of passengers will check in online or at self-service kiosks.

When cargo journalists recently were shown this showcase of modern technology, there was another feature that caught the eye, however. The ground was covered as far as the eye could see with suitcases, presumably awaiting a test of the terminal’s baggage system. With an eye for an image, our correspondent clicked off a photo or two, only to be leapt upon by a British Airways press officer, who explained that no photos were allowed "for reasons of security".

We suspect another reason. Did they perhaps think that we might run the photo with a caption such as "So that is what happened to all those bags British Airways has lost in recent years"?

The ban on photography prevents us from bringing you images of other wonders of the new terminal. Such as the two black life-size sculptures of horses with lampshades coming out of their heads that adorn the entrance to the BA business class lounge in the terminal. We would love to have been at the design meeting where they were proposed. Or the rather ordinary trees ¨C costing $80,000 each, we were told (but that can’t be right: $80,000 for the lot, perhaps?) ¨C that adorn the front of the terminal and which are apparently "to scare away the birds".