back to article El Reg reconstructs Heathrow T5 chaos

For those of you who are having difficulty fully comprehending the fearful chaos inside Heathrow's new Terminal 5, inaugurated this week amid the kind of anarchy which only BAA can really pull off, we're delighted to offer this afternoon our representation of the scenes inside the building as enraged passengers storm the …


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  1. André Marques
    Thumb Up

    You are truly blessed...

    When you can do a Playmobil reconstitution with pirates and get paid for it.

  2. Les Matthew
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    Obviously Photoshopped

    As I can see no bottles of suspect liquids.

  3. MikeC
    Thumb Up

    Play Time

    I need to start finding reasons to play with toys on a Friday. Maybe a diarama of what to do to the boss next time he pesters you for something inane and pointless? (BOFH competition anyone??)

    Otherwise, nice attention to detail!

  4. Roger Hughes
    Paris Hilton


    Is that arrivals board intended to imply that Ryanair are some kind of a toy airline?

    (The icon isn't actually Paris, it's somewhere near Amiens)

  5. Gianni Straniero

    New Reg illustration policy

    Excellent. Can we expect all future NASA stories to be illustrated with Space Lego? And how about Weebles for Govt IT projects?

  6. Matt Horrocks
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for that...

    Laughed out loud and got a few weird looks - priceless! Could do with something like this every Friday.

  7. Marc Lawrence
    IT Angle

    This is just 'piece de resistance'

    For a friday afternoon this is excellent. Can we see a new El - Reg round up of the weeks events in Playmobile / Lego? This is much better reporting than BBC New 24 staged re-enactments; and the models have much more life than most 24hr news programmes.

    Perhaps there is scope to make models in their own image... (PH with a Laptop to make the IT angle?)

    Oh and piece de resistance - well the French are in town and 'Resistance is Futile'. Im off to play with the Germans

    And if you need the IT angle I could suggest looking at the Virtual Lego software.

  8. Geoff Johnson

    Unsuitable web site

    I suppose that's one way an "unsuitable web site" can get pictures of the inside of the terminal.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    That story had me coughing coke though my nose!

    The brown sugar-water kind, not the bad kind...

  10. Daniel Wilkie
    Thumb Up


    Just what I needed on a Friday afternoon, thanks El Reg!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Can I be the first to say that the mock-up was brilliant and made me chuckle on this Friday afternoon.

    I really feel for the passengers. How we expect to run an international event like the olympics.

    If only they had placed more emphasis outside of London and put a new terrminal in somewhere else. I can't remember any time either travelling out of/passing through Heathrow that has been that great.

  12. Darren B

    That scanner system is rubbish

    No wonder there are chaotic scenes in T5, how did those pirates get though with those weapons. Soundds more like Airplane! to me

    Male announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a red zone.

    Female announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a red zone.

    Male announcer: The red zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a white zone.

    Female announcer: No, the white zone is for loading. Now, there is no stopping in a RED zone.

    Male announcer: The red zone has always been for loading.

    Female announcer: Don't you tell me which zone is for loading, and which zone is for unloading.

    Male announcer: Look Betty, don't start up with your white zone shit again. There's just no stopping in a white zone.

    Female announcer: Oh really, Vernon? Why pretend, we both know perfectly well what this is about. You want me to have an abortion.

    Male announcer: It's really the only sensible thing to do, if its done safely. Therapeutically there's no danger involved

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: FR?

    Roger, you mean to tell me they're not?


  14. Sean Purdy


    These people get paid?

  15. Steve Evans
    Thumb Up


    What excuse do you need? It's Friday, and they obviously got out of the pub early!

    Hang on, what am I saying... I mean... It's Friday, and they obviously took a lappy to their wifi enabled public house!

  16. amanfromMars Silver badge

    'Allo, 'Aloha ....... Pirate Apache Braves Squawking at Sun SPOTs?

    WOW .... IT is all a Tad SurReal, is IT not? XXXXCellent 4EduTainment2.

    AI Virtual RockITChip, Jonathan ..... for a Walk on the WWWild Side of Life.?

    To ask IT is to Know Yes and ITs Jas in Network InterNetworking for Full Virtual Immersion/MetaPhysical Projection.

  17. Andrew Carpenter

    Yes, he's obviously the IT guy..

    .. as he's the one with the ponytail.

  18. Anonymous Coward
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    You've scared the neighbours

    With my laughing here. Best thing I've seen in ages. Oozes class.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I love the smiles on their faces. I bet even the corpse has a daft grin on.

  20. jon


    I'm sending this to all my friends...well both of them, actually.

  21. gareth

    what about the stickle bricks??

    everyone is calling on lego and play mobile reinactments but no one has mentioned stickle bricks

    there should be more stickle bricks in the news (though the only thing i can ever remember using them for is making guns but oh well)

  22. Mike Morris

    Spent a lot...

    .. on lego & playmobil for the kiddies when they were little. They used to play for hours setting up weddings, funerals, vacations, battles, etc. All sorts of environments at their mental and plastic fingertips. Had no idea they got jobs in the UK.



  23. Graham Wood
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  24. Craig McLean

    Bleedin' Marvelous

    That's cheered up an otherwise pisspoor friday afternoon!

    Check the pockets of that jacket, security drone!

  25. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects



  26. Slaine
    Gates Horns

    I love lego

    Roger Hughes... pmsl at the icon comment, thanks. Haven't laughed so much since I saw the "enactment" on the page before.

    "Do we have clearance, Clarence?"... nope!!!

    Ah well, at least Bill's gates are open, if not source.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    This is brilliant - do more!

  28. Gerry

    @Gianni Straniero

    ...And how about Weebles for Govt IT projects?

    I don't think you're getting it: "weebles wobble but they don't fall down"

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    T5 Icon

    How about this one for the new T5 icon

  30. The Other Steve

    I for one welcome our new playmobil overlords

    Class. Pure class. I should like to add my voice to the calls for further playmobil/lego based re-enactment of current events.

    Bravo, encore, and all that :)

  31. Kevin Thomas
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    What is that female guard holding!

    It's long stiff and a funny colour, and kind of ribbed. Just what kind of security checks are being perfomed at this airport!!


    p.s. fantastic and I heartly hear, hear the calls for a friday playmobil roundup!!

  32. James O'Brien
    Thumb Up


    Laughed too hard when I saw that. Too bad I was on the phone with someone when I did. Oh well they got alittle pissy thinking I was laughing at them :)

    Do more :)

  33. Chris

    Surely there's room

    ...for a regular feature with Playmobil/Lego illustrations. Maybe Gumby and Pokey too.

    And stop calling me Shirley!


  34. Will Parker
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    More re(tro)constructions please

    Pissed myself laughing - nice one. I second the motion for more reconstruction of weekly events in playmobil / lego.

  35. trackSuit

    Pictures not forthcoming? -a virtual fix is in the mix.

    If official pictures were not freely provided (withheld on the grounds of being unMutual, though greedily offered at great cost -shedding light on dark matter)...

    Then we will have to use our imaginations, right or wrong, offend or not.

    Congratulations to the Reg for Dan Daring to use their Imagination and to set a marvellous example for others to share in the joys of Being Creative. Admit IT. It was Fun, wasn't IT? We Love IT too! And Creativity and Imagination go hand in hand, happily down the aisle. Do IT again.

  36. Paul
    Dead Vulture


    We have one. I'm using it now.

    Because a dead vulture is about as likely to fly as anyone passing through T5 is. :-P

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ouch...Beer bubbles up my nose

    Very good -would vote for the regular Friday Play Mobil feature

  38. Piers

    +1 for tiny plastic figure news reenactments!!!111!1!!!!

    even more lifelike than the stuff on the telly. and serv BAA and T5 right for not letting you use real pictures of their catastrophe in the making. for heavens sake, they're not really suitable to run a terminal. terminal - hmmm, THAT's why it's called that...

  39. Steve Sherlock

    T5 icon

    I thought this was the T5 icon...

    And for what it's worth, consider this another vote for more playmobil re-enactments. I just fear what we're likely to get if the weeks top story involves PH or some other celeb slag :p

  40. NoOnions

    Never been a Playmobil man myself...

    ...much more a Lego man. Come to think about it, why did I never have enough blue roof tiles but loads of red ones?

    I've always found Playmobil a bit creepy.

    Blue Lego rail tracks - gotta be the next photo story for El Reg. A few pirates looking over a blue lego rail on its side - voila - a Railtrack/NotworkRail picture story!

    Big shout to gareth - stickle bricks! And yes, all they were good for was making guns!

    Who's up for a quick session of British Bulldog in the playground?

  41. Shades
    Paris Hilton

    Obvious Photoshop...

    You really didn't expect us to fall for that did you? I mean, at T5 the flight information displays say "Enquire Airline" not "Cancelled"!

    The devil is in the details y'know!

    Paris because we've all noticed her details.

  42. Sceptical Bastard

    Music to my ears! Reminds me of...

    ... the animated Lego reconstruction of "Matty Groves", a folksong murder ballad, which I saw projected on a big screen at Fairport's Cropredy Convention music festival last August.

    The folk story involves a feudal lord's wife and a peasant. While her lord is away she fucks the peasant but when they awake from their post-coital sleep the lord has returned. In a fit of pique, he fights a duel with the peasant and kills him. But his wife tells him the peasant was a better shag than him. So he grabs his sword and "struck his wife right through the heart and pinned her against the wall".

    Sounds grim? Well, it was hilarious in Lego action! You can watch the band (Fairport Convention) playing the song with the Lego movie projected behind them on YouTube here:

    and here:

    And if you fancy a weekend away from your server room, workstation, or helpdesk, try the festival in August - it's a hoot as a rule. More here:

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I still can't believe it

    I am truly amazed at the national and corporate embarrassment that is Terminal 5 and further still to the reactions of those who were involved.

    To me it doesn't matter whether the fault lies with BA, BAA, CAA, the builders/suppliers or the Government (or any other group with a vested interest). Each of these groups has a vested interest in ensuring that everything wend smoothly - so by my reckoning everyone all these groups should have been active in making sure that everything ran smoothly.

    The fact that things have been messed up in such an enormous scale shows that each and everyone has taken their eye of the ball and failed to ensure that passengers using Terminal 5 are not affected.

    Clearly planning, preparation, testing and controls have been more than lacking. In this day and age, of outsourcing multi-million/billion projects to the lowest bidder planning, preparation and testing need to to be spot on to ensure that the failure of the 1p widget (bought instead of the 2p widget) is caught early.

    There is also the obsession of those leading huge projects to get them out on time - regardless of the fact that a) it isn't finished or b) it is finished but its a mess. Hitting the deadline is more important than making sure its done properly. Nothing is allowed to get in the way of hitting the deadline - even the risk of humiliation.

    This project has been been planned for "20 years" allegedly - I for one would like to know how the word planning is defined by the people involved.

    Basic things seem to have been omitted in a bid to save a couple of pennies here and there. Added to the above:

    why weren't staff called in the week before opening and run their paces to ensure that they were "familiar with the computers/systems/locations"?;

    why weren't extra BA/BAA staff in place in the run up to and on the first few days of operations?;

    why did everything have to be all go from day one? why could they not start with a small number of flights and slowly ramp up over time?

    now that things have clearly imploded quite spectacularly - why haven't the disaster recovery procedures swung into operation (flood the place with staff to get things moving, fall back to the "old way")? (or am I being a bit optimistic in thinking that they had actually thought and planned for these eventualities?).

    Very little appears to be happening to help the average traveller - a delay of a few hours/days on a short term business trip, a weekend away or a holiday will completely wreck things. If you do get away not having your baggage will likely be the end of the trip.

    The reactions of those in charge seems to be incredible - especially the lack of comment/action from the Government. Its all very well investigating and fining the companies involved after the event but what about those people who have had things completely wrecked in the here and now?

    There seems to be no will to resolve this quickly. No one seems to care about the loss and suffering of travellers or the national humiliation and the damage that corporate UK will suffer (who will want to come and do business with/in a country that can't get people from A to B). People won't even want to use the airport for transit!!!!

    I'm just glad that I'm not flying at the moment - and when I do I will do my utmost to avoid BA/BAA. My heart goes out to those stuck in this misery!

    (And we're meant to be organising a major sporting event in a few years - more moving parts, more infrastructure being built, more people involved - I think I'll definitely plan to be out of the country when things hit fever pitch).

  44. Cougar
    Thumb Up


    I've been reading El Reg since you adopted the BOFH, and this is quite possibly the funniest thing you've ever written. Good job guys.

  45. David Pollard

    El Reg's delayed box ...

    ... of 500 angry customers is probably being cloned with Wolfgang Schauble's prints ready for a group visit to Downing Street.

    It's a shame that the T5 print recognition system was cancelled at the last minute. Who knows what might have happened had a few thousand German Secretaries of the Interior arrived during its first operational day. But well done to the Chaos Computer Club anyway.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    This is just wrong

    20,000 bags held hostage oh yes there is a ton of ill will being generated here. Here is a suggestion put the fucking bags on the plane, later worry about security. The boffin icon because I guess it takes one of those to fix the obvious.

  47. LINCARD1000

    Re: Stickle-Bricks

    My favorite toy growing up. Not just limited to guns, either :-) Ah, trip down memory lane. Do they still make them?

  48. Steve
    Thumb Down

    re:I still can't believe it

    > why did everything have to be all go from day one? why could they not

    > start with a small number of flights and slowly ramp up over time?

    Heathrow is a hub. Just putting a few flights in T5 would have meant that all the connecting passengers to/from other flights would have had to be bussed between T5 and T1/2/3/4. That wouldn't have improved things...

    What worries me is that T5 is supposed to have enough future capacity for years to come, and if it falls over when it isn't even at 100% of today's capacity what hope is there for 2010 and beyond?

    The real pity is that for economy transatlantic flight, BA still offers better service than alternatives like UA/LH/AF, but if Heathrobinson Airport can't cope then that won't matter. maybe the "open skies" agreement will mean that BA can fly from Amsterdam instead?

  49. Ryan Greenaway

    Good stuff

    Really looking forward to flying from T5 in a few weeks time.

    Not sure of the accuracy of the re-enactment. Where's the pile of abandoned luggage in the terminal???

    Mines the one with the intial blueprints for construction of T6 in the pocket!

  50. Andy Hards

    I was chatting to a couple of loaders..

    on Saturday and they told me about an incident where two groups of loaders from different terminals were put to work together to try and help with the backlog but as they were from different terminals they did things differently and after a few initial problems a fight broke out and the police had to be called resulting in the arrest of 12 of the baggage handlers, which I'm sure didn't help BA's problems getting bags onto planes. They also told me that once the system has 1200 bags on it it shuts itself down as it can't cope. Also that bags from more than one flight went into the system but have not been seen since. It's like the Bermuda triangle, but nearer Sunbury!

  51. Stephen B Streater

    Everything worked (OK, I won't get a job writing headlines)

    A charmed existence? Despite BA cabin staff in LA handing out newspapers headlining "Disaster for BA", "T5 chaos" etc, there were no queues, no delays - everything worked. Admittedly the video is slightly speeded up, but you get the idea.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Great stuff !!

    More more....

  53. Stratman
    Black Helicopters

    It's all a plot

    There can only be one explanation for the complete and utter dog's breakfast that is T5.

    It's to demonstrate beyond doubt the need for T6.

    Whump whump whump ..............

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