U.K. Airline Travel Grinding to Halt
As many of us predicted, the new security regulations are crippling the airline industry in the UK.
Airlines warned the British government Saturday that the country’s air travel is “grinding to a halt” because of tough new anti-terror security requirements. One airline asked for police and army reservists to help with screening. British Airways and Ryanair canceled scores of flights from Britain to Europe and the United States and blamed airport operator BAA for not investing enough in security systems and baggage screening in the aftermath of new terrorism threats.
Heathrow Airport, the major hub for British Airways, canceled one-third of flights due out Saturday afternoon and night, blaming strict new security regulations. Passengers were delayed so long that many missed their flights. Saturday night, the airport said it planned to cancel a third of its flights on Sunday, too, because of the current delays.
Ryanair, which operates most of its London services through Stansted Airport, northeast of London, said it had complied with BAA orders to cancel more than 60 flights of its Stansted flights this weekend, about 20 percent of the total, but said this overloaded security situation must be fixed by Monday. “Ryanair and other major UK airlines cannot keep canceling flights and disrupting the travel plans of tens of thousands of British passengers and visitors solely because the BAA cannot cope with the new body-search requirements,” said O’Leary.
An incredible list of banned substances is making the process unmanagable, at least in the short term. Oddly, one would think that allowing passengers to carry nothing more than a crossword puzzle (not a crossword puzzle book mind you–just a single puzzle that fits in the pocket) would speed up the searches.
Regardless, however, such restrictions will simply kill pleasure travel. Being treated like a criminal is hardly the ideal way to begin and end a vacation.