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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Passenger patience tested by delays
By Krishan Rama
BBC News

Passengers at Heathrow queue to get into the airport
Long queues greeted Heathrow passengers this morning

For the thousands of passengers turning up at Heathrow on Thursday morning, hearing news of a security incident was the last thing they wanted.

The scene that greeted them as they arrived was one of long queues just to enter the terminal building.

As the terminals filled up with holidaymakers trying not to trip over each other and seeking answers from the airport staff, the mood was one of concern over inconvenience, rather than worry about any potential threat.

Phillip Edwards, 55, from Uxbridge, travelling to Lyon with his wife Daphne and sons Joel and Luke, seemed to typify this opinion.

Mr Edwards said: "It's just part of modern life. You've just got to expect it.

"We're less worried about the security situation and are more concerned about if we're going to be compensated, especially if we now have to get to France by Eurostar."

Passengers were only allowed to carry approved items onboard in a clear plastic bag
Passengers were only allowed approved items in a clear bag

The travelling restrictions meant passengers were not allowed to carry hand luggage and were only permitted certain items, like passports and medication.

Passengers looked with bemusement at the instructions on sheets handed out by airport staff, but dutifully complied with the new rules.

They placed the few items they were permitted to take on board in clear plastic bags, which meant no books to read, or iPods to listen to.

University graduate Courtney Vane, 21, from Australia, who was flying home on Thursday, had heard about the security problems while taking the tube to the airport.

Miss Vane said: "I'm not scared about flying, I'm more worried about whether it's going to cost me extra and the fact I've got a 24-hour flight with nothing to read."

People tried to find space to sit down and figure out how they were going to fit the items they thought they could carry on into the luggage they would now have to check-in.

The Lopez family transferring items from their hand luggage
Ariana and Alaina Lopez had only brought hand luggage with them

Carmen Lopez, 40 from Ohio, USA, was travelling back to the US with her 18-year-old twin daughters Ariana and Alaina who had only brought hand luggage with them.

Ms Lopez said: "When we reached the check-in they told us our flights had been cancelled and we weren't allowed to take on our hand-luggage on to the next flight.

"We then had to buy £109 suitcase to put our hand luggage in. I'm travelling with my jewellery and can't take it with me on board. I hope it arrives home safely."

As the day wore on some people were getting annoyed at the delays and felt not enough was being done to help them.

Charlotte Demant, a 25-year-old make-up artist from Denmark was trying to get a connecting flight back home after spending two weeks in Ghana.

She had found out about the airport restrictions on the flight into Heathrow.

Charlotte Demant waiting for her connecting flight to Denmark
Charlotte Demant was trying to get a flight home to Denmark

Miss Demant said: "I can understand how people are worried about security but the airline has not been helpful.

"We should at least have been given something to eat and drink, as well as money to phone home to tell our families that we will be delayed."

But most people seemed pretty up-beat and just hoped the inconvenience would be kept to a minimum so they could get on with their holidays.

Laura Bates, 39, from Essex was travelling to Miami with her family.

She said: "We booked this holiday a year ago so we're not going to cancel it now.

"We understand that they have to be careful because of terrorism. I just hope we can get on our flight as soon as possible."




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