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Queues For Bathroom Facilities At Heathrow

As the 100-day countdown for London Olympics begins, the anxieties soar higher! Just ponder and wonder ‘why’! Well, people have been impatient to make it to the colossal event 2012, which is said to be a sublime one. It has, resultantly, made people to crave to witness it and experience it for their lifetime.

People have been frantically flocking into Heathrow Airport to witness the enigma that is yet to get unveiled. It is also said that visitors to the UK from outside European Economic Area are not supposed to spend more than 45 minutes while waiting in the emigration queue. To everybody’s amazement, they have been waiting for more than the time stipulated for a few weeks now.

Immigration news, updates and weekly round ups further state that more ardent fans are expected to make it to the event. In such state-of-affairs, no one knows what may be the conditions of the Bathrooms and hygiene at Heathrow airport and the venue of the events.

Just a reality round-up!
With massive queues at Heathrow airport last week, isn’t it about time they upgraded and expanded their bathroom facilities. As we move into a time when more and more people are traveling and using the services at Heathrow, our government decides to implement cut backs. Attempting to save 10% on staffing costs, it looks as though our senseless government has cost us more by all the delays resulting from the cut backs.

With showering facilities only located in terminals 3 and 4, Heathrow needs to step it up a gear. With the delays at immigration control at terminal 5 last week, I’m sure there were a number of passengers who would have appreciated the use of a shower without having to scamper all the way over to terminal 3 or 4. Installing some extra showering facilities is not all that difficult, and certainly, the cost can be easily recovered with the charges imposed on using the facility.

As the number of people using Heathrow grow each year, so does the need & level of bathroom facilities. At a very basic level, people need to have adequate toilet facilities in public places such as airports, parks, shopping centers etc. A bathroom is what makes us civilized, so, if we don’t have access to this or if we had to queue for hours together, things are going to get uncivilized pretty quickly.
If you read any of the papers last week, you would have seen many reports equating the situation at Heathrow as resembling something like an entrance to some Third World hell hole. To quote Tony Parsons from the Daily Mirror, ‘To the first-time visitor, our airports – and it is not just Heathrow, for there was a mass revolt in a queue at Birmingham – make us look like a banana republic with no bananas’. What does our government think they’re doing by creating such delays and frustrations?

It may be more understandable why the Bangkok airport doesn’t have the facilities of a shower or bath as most restaurants in Thailand often don’t have; in fact, not even the basic toilet facilities, but surely we’re better than that. Having traveled through Thailand regularly, I’m often amazed at the sheer lack of public conveniences, meaning very often you’ll find people just using a patch of grass. There are many other airports around the world which offer very poor levels of public conveniences, but should that be the benchmark by which we set the standards at Heathrow? I certainly hope not, and the fact that many more people use Heathrow than these other airports, which means, there’s more money to allocate for these facilities.

With all the modern developments in bathroom facilities such as self flushing toilets and sensor taps, using public toilets has never been a quicker experience, but you need enough of them to cope with the number of people going through Heathrow on a daily basis.

May be what needs to be done is to create a body to rate the bathroom facilities at airports across the globe. Each airport could be rated on a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars depending on the level of services offered and how clean they were. Often you will find some of the very best toilet facilities, but it would be like as if they haven’t been cleaned for a week. Many restaurants and shopping centres will have a time check sheet pinned up on the wall where the cleaners will sign off that the toilet has been checked 2 or 3 hours ago. This has to be the way forward for all public conveniences, for it at least guarantees a certain level of cleanliness.

If you are fortunate enough to be traveling in business or even first class, then you will have no problem finding adequate bathroom facilities, for this is all part of the service. But these services have to be available to everyone. After last week’s delays and troubles, Heathrow will have to think carefully the possibilities for delays and backups, for they are increasing all the time which can lead to huge numbers of people requiring public conveniences. If they don’t lay enough resources when delays occur, things could get nasty.

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