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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Glum travellers wait for news
By Finlo Nelson Rohrer
BBC News

Frustration set in at Heathrow on Thursday evening as thousands waited for news on how the wildcat strikes would affect their flights.

The phrase "We haven't been told anything" echoed repeatedly from miserable passengers waiting in Terminal 4's departure area.

Joyce Austin
Many on the forecourt complain of a lack of information

Every time a fluorescent-jacketed official comes out on the forecourt, they are mobbed like pop stars.

But few seemed to have the definitive answers that the irate hordes wanted.

As the evening deepened, hundreds slowly came to the grim realisation that their flights were going nowhere.

I'm getting married and I'm very anxious to get this flight
BA passenger
waiting for Harare flight

Nigel Turner, from Reigate, needs to get to Nairobi by Saturday or else the trip of a lifetime, climbing Kilimanjaro for a friend's 40th birthday, is off.

"I've been looking forward to this for 18 months, planning and preparing. There's a safari afterwards.

"I don't know what's happening."

Lillian Kessy needs to get to Harare in Zimbabwe for her wedding on Saturday.

"I'm getting married and I'm very anxious to get this flight. It is not good enough.

"I need to be there to have my hair and nails and facial done on Friday."

Stranded

British Airways are not the only carrier hit, with disgruntled Qantas and Sri Lanka Airlines customers also thronging the forecourt.

Sally Cooper, from Marlborough, is trying to take two young children to Singapore.

"They haven't been able to update us on this. We haven't been told anything.

I would have been quite happy to have stayed at home and been transferred to another airline
BA passenger Roy McNamara

"When you have got two children and you want to get them settled down for a 12-hour flight being stranded here with thousands of other people isn't good.

"If they're going to make announcements to the media they have got to make sure people on the floor know as well."

Derek Boothby is returning with his wife to Thailand and is worried about missing an operation.

"We were told is was going ahead and then we were told it is not going ahead. We phoned up three times before we left."

Nigel Turner
Nigel Turner is worried he was about to miss the trip of a lifetime

Babs and Kike Raji are trying to return home to Boston and have rapidly become disenchanted with British Airways.

"We haven't been told nothing, it is so bad. All we were told was to carry on waiting.

"It is a real disappointment. I don't think we will fly with BA again."

But Britons and foreigner alike are showing a stiff upper lip - many reassuring themselves that they have "only" been waiting for two hours or that there are other travellers much worse off.

Roy McNamara, from Basingstoke, is seemingly philosophical about the delay, reminiscing over one occasion he waited 36 hours in Tampa, Florida for a flight.

Crowd at Terminal 4
Every fluorescent-jacketed official was mobbed

But he is so determined to get through to BA's free phone number that he is using two mobiles simultaneously. After 45 minutes he has had no joy.

"I phoned them up before we came and they said we have got to come the airport. I would have been quite happy to have stayed at home and been transferred to another airline.

"They are not exactly forthcoming."

Having said that, the flight delay veteran returns to double-action mobiles and braces himself for a long evening.




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