Francisco Kavvka

The Heathrow Hassle and the Heathrow Hysteria

To the airline's victims - as a last farewell -


Francisco Kavvka

The Heathrow Hassle and the Heathrow Hysteria
- a travelogue -

Published by Lulu


This novel bases on diaries of Heathrow's guests, in which names and additional facts have been alienated to build pure fiction. Therefore only 98% of the following documentation may be traced back to the facts...

© 2009 by Joannes Richter Published by Lulu All Rights Reserved ISBN: 978-1-4092-9485-6


1 Introduction............................................................................7 2 A Thoughtcrime?....................................................................9 3 Battleship Heathrow.............................................................15 4 At the Inside of Heathrow Hell............................................21 5 Heathromania (Heathrowmania)..........................................25 6 The Wagon-Fort...................................................................31 7 Rebooking flights.................................................................33 8 The Air Passengers Rights...................................................35 9 At the reception desk............................................................39 10 Hello, hello...!....................................................................41 11 A saviour in sight................................................................47 12 The stillest Hour ................................................................49 13 The Washroom...................................................................53 14 The Mad Hatter..................................................................57 15 The Flight-simulators at Heathrow....................................61 16 Terminal is to be read „The End“.......................................63 17 Time to say Goodbye.........................................................65 18 The battle against an airline...............................................69 19 Legalized robbery...............................................................73 20 Mail Analysis.....................................................................77 21 The Turing-Test..................................................................81 22 Governmental Help?? Forget it!!.......................................89 23 Heathrow Hassles in 2004.................................................93 24 Heathrow Hassles in 2006.................................................95 25 Heathrow Hassles in 2007.................................................97 26 Heathrow Hassles in 2008.................................................99 27 Recent and planned Hassles.............................................101 28 Fair Weather Flyers!.........................................................103 29 Kafka's Castle..................................................................104 5

30 Appendix I – Learning Curve??.......................................109 31 Appendix II – New Rights??............................................110


1 Introduction


tructured as a diary this report documents the common British Airport-Hysteria (Hysteria Aeropuertiensis Britanniensis), which is being correlated to the indigenous and frequent Heathrow Hassles. Pathological symptoms may be intensified by a the airline's standardized indifference towards the helpless situation of stranded passengers and usually will be observed at bad weather conditions such as storms, snow and ice. In seldom cases the hysteria may be observed after terror warnings or inaugurations of new terminals. A good example of Airport-Hysteria has been diagnosed at the recent inauguration of a new terminal T5 at Heathrow Airport, in which a supermodel lost her temper and had to be taken into custody...


xperiencing a Heathrow Hassle at 12. August 2006 I noticed a remarkable correspondence between the Heathrow situation and the plot of Franz Kafka's novel “The Castle1”. In a strange way the staff's relations to stranded passengers fade away as soon as the Hassle begins. The crew immediately retreats into closed boxes, where they are forming a wagon fort. Turning their backs to the passengers they are spending the hassled day with internal communication and intensive smoking. Meanwhile for the passengers all human relations to the airline seem to be evaporating, condensing into malfunctioning automates.
Started in 1922; First published in 1926. The German title, Das Schloss, may be translated as "the castle" or "the lock". It is also similar to Der Schluss (close or end).[1] The castle is locked and closed to K and the townspeople; neither can gain access.



n his novel Kafka describes how a protagonist, known only as K2., struggles to gain access to the mysterious authorities of a castle who govern the village where he wants to work as a land surveyor. Kafka died before finishing the work, but suggested it would end with the Land Surveyor dying in the village; the castle notifying him on his death bed that his "legal claim to live in the village was not valid, yet, taking certain auxiliary circumstances into account, he was permitted to live and work there". Dark and at times surreal, The Castle is about alienation, bureaucracy, and the seemingly endless frustrations of man's attempts to stand against the system. I decided to try and express Heathrow Hassle's alienation into this travelogue-diary.


enial of customer contacts during hassles turns out to become very expensive or even of vital interest for Imperial Airways, as the airline has now been degraded to the Penny Stocks category and is approaching bankruptcy. his book describes a few phases of an airline carrier in disastrous self devouring action. A Must for All - frequent and all infrequent Air Passengers!

In German language “K.” may be read as “Kafka”, but also as “Kunde”. (Customer).


2 A Thoughtcrime?
And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine It's alright Ma, I'm only bleeding (Bob Dylan)


entred between the United States and Europe, at the west-side of the City of London, we may locate a Pirate's Nest, in which air passengers regularly are to be taken to the cleaners. This book has been written as a leisure lecture for the long waiting hours at Heathrow airport and as a history book and legacy for our descendants reporting the piracy in Great-Britain. A warning seems to be useless as the Imperial Airways is due to go bankrupt within weeks, which may also be seen as a merciful “Act of God”. The stock exchange reports the stocks are being traded for 1,58 Euros (at 1,15 billions of shares) in the category of worthless Penny Stock3 .


nyway my journey had started by booking a journey to the beautiful countryside of Cornwall, in which the friendly Celtic people contrast against the Londoners and Heathrowians. However to avoid any advertising congestions for airlines of any kind I decided to write a fiction novel. In this book we will be using the name IA for Imperial Airways located at the international airport Heathrow.
In the United States, a penny stock is a common stock that trades for less than five dollars a share and are traded over the counter (OTC) through quotation services such as the OTC Bulletin Board or the Pink Sheets. Although a penny stock is said to be "thinly traded," share volumes traded daily can be in the hundreds of millions for a sub-penny stock.



ll stories seem to start with primitive harmless situations. In this case I was travelling as an individual tourist on holidays in Cornwall. At the evening of 10 August 2006 in my cosy and warm hotel-room at Penzance I observed the TV-news in which the police reported the finding of a trunk with some papers. The contents indicated terroristic activities with fluids. The secret service MI-007 already had arrested a dozen of conspirators, who were now being interrogated. New interrogation methods would quickly lead to some definitive results. This was very good news indeed and I felt happy to live in a safe and friendly environment, secured by imperial forces.


ight now it would be a good idea to look back in retrospect and check what happened to the interrogated suspected “terrorists”. The process against these suspects ended in 2008: Three men were convicted of conspiracy to murder but the jury did not convict any defendant of targeting aircraft. One man was cleared of all charges. The men had been accused of plotting to bring down transatlantic airliners with home-made liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks. Sweeping airport restrictions on liquids in hand luggage were brought in following the arrests in August 2006.


Seven men admitted plotting to cause a public nuisance. An eighth man was cleared at Woolwich Crown Court. But after more than 50 hours of deliberations, the jury did not find any of the defendants guilty of conspiring to target aircraft. For details see the report by the BBC 4.In fact observers relate this case to Orwell's thoughtcrime5.


hoever finds himself as a participant of a Heathrow Hassle will commit a great number of thoughtcrimes and might be locked away for 99 years for each and every of these crimes. It must be considered as an exceptional fact that except for one star-model no stranded passengers have been jailed at Heathrow Hassles yet.


n the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects, labeling disapproved thoughts with the term thoughtcrime or, in Newspeak, "crimethink". In this context crimes may be committed by merely thinking or wishing to commit a crime in the future. Obviously thoughtcrime is based on fantasy. In 1936 however a real thoughtcrime-law6 had been defined enabling the Japanese courts to officially judge thoughtcrime7 as a crime. BBC-report from 9 September 2008 5: See Wikipedia thoughtcrime 6: (思想犯保護観察法, Shisōhan Hogo Kansatsuhō)


jap. 思想犯, shisōhan → thoughtcrime



he idea of thoughtcrime had not been restricted to Orwell. "The Minority Report" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick first published in Fantastic Universe of January 1956. It is about a future society where murders are prevented through the efforts of three mutants who can see the future. It was made into a film during 2002. he story mainly concerns the paradoxes and alternate realities that are created by the precognition of crimes when the chief of police intercepts a precognition that he is about to murder a man he has never met. The system of predicting the future by reports is performed by three mutants at the precrime-department in Washington. They are known as "precogs" because of their precognitive abilities by which they can see up to two weeks into the future. The precogs sit in a halfdarkened room, constantly talking incoherent nonsense, which is to be analyzed by a computer and converted into predictions of the future. This information is assembled by the computer into the form of symbols before being transcribed onto conventional punch cards which are ejected into various coded slots: when cards are produced, they appear simultaneously at Precrime and the army general headquarters, in order to prevent corruption.



he British Homicide Prevention Unit (HPU), founded 2004 as a subunit of the Metropolitan Police Service, is searching potential criminals by profiling and screening people. Of course I am not willing to visit any country in which thoughtcrime may seriously be considered a good reason for putting someone in jail for two years. That's enough: Goodbye forever, Britain...



3 Battleship Heathrow
Saturday, 12th of August 2006, early morning at 6:55 am.


arly in the morning at 5:30 I rose at the London hotel to travel by train to the airport. It takes me some time and trouble to carry my luggage to the nearby Underground station und to get it into the narrow subway train. The entrance is already blocked with some trunks and there is now way of storing large pieces in the compartments. None of the passengers with luggage is being checked and any fool would be able to board two trunks with large volumes of explosives to the train. Carefully I check my luggage at each stop to prevent a fast stealing hand. I guess none of the passengers would be able to avoid theft at departure, but nothing happens and after an hour we arrive at Heathrow Airport. levating from the catacombs of the subway my eyes at first hit the majestic revolving radar-antenna as if I were hearing “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss, while revealing the spaceship Discovery One. And next just like a large battleship painted in grey terminal T1 8 rose to my eyes to be followed by the upper deck with the captain's bridge. Thank heavens the ship has not been destroyed! Somewhere behind the black windows a brave crew must have been waiting for the enemy to be overcome.
Up to the catastrophic inauguration of terminals T5 Imperial Airways has been located at the old terminal T1.



here is a sound of sinister silence in the air and no jet engines are disturbing the breath of Heathrow. It must be an early Saturday morning at sleeping time for decent citizens. he battleship does not carry a banner, as it may be a disadvantage to prematurely reveal one's identity. Instead a pirate may prefer to hide the identity and wait until the victim has been overcome. That's the right time and the “finest hour” to raise your Jolly Roger with the skull and crossbones. erminal T1 is surrounded by deep trenches, leading to the underground parking lots. Some couples of bridges are covering the trenches, which will normally be frequented by passengers. Right now however dozens of armed soldiers are guarding the entrances to T1 and even from a distance they do not seem to allow anybody in or out of the building. The battleship is in defensive action and is not to be disturbed for the moment.


rriving passengers are pushing and shoving out of the Underground's tubes. Intermittently halting the queues are moving towards a big white tent at the middle of a narrow grass-field. The tent seems to have been set up a few months ago. At the entrance smiling stewardesses wearing Italian and French airline-labels offer coffee, tea and cookies. At the backside someone located two portable toilets, attributed to both genders. They also placed a huge amount of cookies directly aside of these toilets. A banner at the battleship invites us to join the party by greeting “Welcome at Heathrow Airport”. 16


uge amounts of covers, cushions and isolating mats already warn us to prepare for a some nights of sleep at the terminal's floor. Early arrivals turn out to be advantageous as they enable me to select some preferred materials. I gladly take a couple of clean ones from a pile of dirty mats. The covers and blankets seem to have been reserved for first class passengers, but they have been contacted to the soil and will not be used in airplanes any more. At last I pick up a set of isolating aluminium foils, but I feel overloaded now and unfit to carry any more objects for the rest of the journey. he supplies are melting like butter and they will be vanishing within an hour. Even the dirty sheets and mats are welcomed by some who arrive a little late. At that time the first drizzle welcomes the day and the first passengers cover themselves with aluminium foils against the cold wind and rain. It's summertime at Heathrow Airport... n the tent I take a seat at a table with a bearded globetrotter, who has booked a flight to Amsterdam. He may be well over 30, calls himself Sigi from Siegen and seems to be an experienced traveller. He merely carries a large backpack and two voluminous plastic bags filled with food, blankets and drinks. I ask him for his advice. “Too bad we landed into a Heathrow Hassle”, he ponders. “A Heathrow Hassle? What do you mean?”


“At Hassles the major British carrier Imperial Airways regularly turns this place into a madhouse. All flights are being cancelled and the shop is closed for two days. The crew will be sent into the weekend. Let the passengers go to hell and find out wherever they sleep...” “Really? Don't they have passengers rights and things like that? I always thought passengers are being protected by European laws? “Not in the hands of British Airlines. The British consider themselves as colonial superpowers and global players with some extra rights. Watch the service inside this tent. You will not find any British employee inside or outside of Heathrow. Only the French and Italian airlines keep up the support. The British fear themselves for their passengers.” “Fear for their passengers? Can't believe that!” “This fear may have been originated in the ancient colonial eras, at some time as the slaves threw them out of India, Rhodesia and South Africa. The British never learned to cooperate with their slaves. Whenever things started burning they did build a wagon fort to protect themselves by isolation. In fact Terminal T1 has been designed as a wagon fort. The bridges may be removed quickly by small amounts of explosives. This will be sufficient to isolate the fortress from the outside world.”


“You are right”, I agree, “T1 is a real castle!” “It is not perfectly isolated though. I know how to enter the building without interfering with the guards. If you'd like to follow me, I will show you how to get in. It is completely safe for you. Shall we?” “Ah, that would be fine. Maybe I may even board my plane in time!” “Don't forget to take enough supplies from here. You will not get any other supplies inside the building!”


y heavy luggage does not allow me to move fast. Especially the clumsy mats and covers are transforming me into a heavyweight mule. Ten steps ahead Sigi turns around and assigns me to simply follow his steps.



4 At the Inside of Heathrow Hell
Saturday, 12th of August 2006, early morning , 7:45


oaded with energy Sigi heads for the tube's escalator and disappears into the underground, where he switches from the departing to the arriving train platforms. At this stage he waits until I manage to follow his steps and points his hand carrying a plastic bag towards a darkshadowed tunnel leading into an unknown area. “That's the road to paradise!” he groans, “That's the way to T1, where we are going”.


e steps forward and we enter the tunnel, which is to be considered dark in comparison to the train platforms. Only a few passer-bys are hurrying the track. After some 20 meters we are stopped at an elevator and press the UP-arrow. The sign illuminates a bright red marker and magically opens a doorway towards an empty elevatorbox. “That's black magic!”, I whisper to preserve the magic moment and press “Terminal 1-departures”. he doors close and a few seconds later we are allowed to enter Terminal 1 behind the backs of the soldiers. I feel like a spy on his way between the enemy's lines.


“That's incredible”, I must admire. “In fact any fool may walk into this building with his kalaschnikov9” adds Sigi. “Right now you are at the inside of T1, which is your airline's home-place. Just try to contact your airline and rebook your flight! I will have to contact my airline at T4. I wish you a good travel and good luck!”


f course you may think the lobby of T1 is supposed to be empty, but that's not true. The building is packed with luggage-carrying passengers. Just a few young girls wearing yellow skirts are moving around and hand out paper sheets revealing a few lines of text:

Dear Customer, Imperial Airways, acting on instruction from the UK Government, wishes to advise passengers that no items of hand baggage can be carried on board any air craft departing any UK airport. The UK Government has advised that this instruction will apply to all airlines operating from all UK airports.


Standard Russian MP-weapon


As a result of the newly introduced security measures and the additional security screening requirements for baggage, we are unable to check in all of our scheduled flights. We regret to announce that consequently we will not be able to check you in for your flight if it departs before 1750 hours today. We will be operating a very limited schedule after 1750 hrs for the rest of the day. The only exception to this are the BA Long haul flights and GB Airways and Finnair flights which will be operating as normal. If you are booked on any of these affected flights, we urge you to leave the airport and contact the telephone number below, where they will be able to arrange rebooking for you. rebooking can alos be made through BA.Com. We regret to advise it WILL NOT be possible to arrange rebooking at any desk in the terminal. 0800 727 800 or 0870 8509850 Passengers transferring to Imperial Airways flights that have been cancelled are advised to book accomodation and submit receipt to Imperial Airwaysup to the value of £100 (per room – 2 people sharing) and £25 per person for receipted meals. First class passengers receive £150 (per room – 2 people sharing) and £40 per person for receipted meals. Imperial Airways regrets any inconvenience caused... 23


he note has been signed by Ruth H., Customer Service Manager Terminal 1 and is carrying the version number 8, so I must admit the airline is investing some effort to manage the situation. At this time of the day they already wrote eight versions of the document. As a remarkable fact this note and the Air Passengers Rights displayed in the lobby do not invest a single line towards exclusions of responsibility in case of an “Act of God”, which according to valid EU-regulations will exclude any responsibility for the passenger's situation.


t that time my bowels started a message to my brains and I had to look for a bathroom sign. I never carry too much overweight, but did you ever try to enter a standard toilette at an airport while carrying a trunk, a rucksack, a bag full of bathing stuff, a plastic bag loaded with cookies and a couple of mats? Well that's a standard situation at Heathrow airport. Anyway I suggest you should try the washroom for disabled persons at the first floor directly behind the bar...


5 Heathromania (Heathrowmania)10
In Terminal 1 strange things may happen at any time. Telephones will not be functioning and cups with soft drinks are dropping over abandoned keyboards..


orldwide you will not be able to find an airport reporting so much defects as at Heathrow airport. Confidential risk analysis reports by McLloyd's insurance company reveals a statistic daily number of 2,25 defected terminal keyboards and 3,10 damaged or defective phones. Nobody seems to have been tracing the cause for these damages. Analysts guess the cause may be related to the frequent Heathrow Hassles, but officials deny these arguments by stating that none of the desks is being occupied at these hassles and the responsible persons for the equipment are being absent...


sychologists research the correlations between damages and hysterical finger-tremors at the hands of frustrated employees, who will have to deal high numbers of very angry customers. At Heathrow Airport we may freely observe a huge variety of mental deviations, which permanently seem to be available for testing-purposes on a large scale. At Heathrow hysterical persons in fact may be found at any time of the day.
Heathromania is a claustrophobic version of the airport-hysteria (Hysteria Aeropuertensis), revealing aggressive and angry destruction power in males, respectively apathy and resignation (amongst mothers) or laments (among unmarried virgins).



he cause for hysterias may be found quite easily. First of all we will have to understand that at a Heathrow Hassle stranded air passengers will be loosing their mobility and feel stuck up inside a hostile imprisonment. Clearly they might take the train to London City to book a hotel room for £250 per person for a night of sleep, which may gain one more day of comfort at a considerable cost. The very next day however they will find themselves back at the tramper's corner of Heathrow Hotel. Of course most air passengers must be considered as luxury-trampers with a number of valid credit cards, loaded with British cookies, four packs of Coke and an average load of 20 kilograms of luggage. A Heathrow hassle mutates the frustrated air passenger to a luxury-tramper, to be specified by special gendercharacteristics.


utside the Heathrow terminals a common tramps is thought to be a consumer preferring alcoholic beverages over decent food, whose mood is filled with an overdose of apathy. Of course you may meet such persons at Heathrow Airport, especially elder ladies. In contrast the male individuals tend towards anger and violence, applied to furniture and technical equipment. However hysterical persons and hysterical reactions seem to prevail at Heathrow Airport.



hysicians have been categorizing these observations and suggest to apply the common designation Heathromania as a claustrophobic version of the airport-hysteria (Hysteria Aeropuertensis), revealing aggressive and angry destruction power in males, respectively apathy and resignation (amongst mothers) or laments (among unmarried virgins). There seems to be a fourth version of these hysterical symptoms, which has been designated to androgynous persons and may be characterized as the aggressive form of a female hysteria. These symptoms have been observed at supermodels and pop-stars. According to these categorisations the airport-hysteria is to be considered as a special version of the common hysteria. sychiatrists and other physicians have in theory given up the use of "hysteria", replacing it with more euphemistic terms that are essentially synonyms. These include "psychosomatic", "functional", "nonorganic", "psychogenic", and "medically unexplained". In 1980 the American Psychiatric Association officially changed the diagnosis of "hysterical neurosis, conversion type" to "conversion disorder". Hysteria also has significant overlap with the diagnostic term "somatization disorder" and with somatoform disorders in general.


he term “hysteria” originates with the Greek medical term, hysterikos. This referred to a medical condition, thought to be particular to women, caused by disturbances of the uterus, hystera in Greek. 27


he term hysteria was coined by the famous physician Hippocrates, who thought that suffocation and madness arose in women whose uteri had become too light and dry from lack of sexual intercourse and, as a result, wandered upward, compressing the heart, lungs, and diaphragm. Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus" ("Hysterical"). reatment in ancient times has been highlighted by „Nubat illa – et morbus effugiet“ (Have her married and the disease will disappear...)11. The idea may also be correlated to the huge number of infant girls who decide to become pregnant each year. Britain reveals the highest numbers of infantil pregnancy. A correlation between infant pregnancy and a visit at Heathrow Airport during a Heathrow Hassle has not been investigated yet. he same general definition, or under the name female hysteria, came into widespread use in the middle and late 19th century to describe what is today generally considered to be sexual dysfunction. Typical treatment was massage of the patient's genitalia by the physician and later vibrators or water sprays to cause orgasm12.

The world's history of sexuality, Morus (1957) Rachel P. Maines (1999). The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria", the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6646-4. (as a reference in the Wikipedia entry Hysteria.)



he term also occurs in the phrase mass hysteria to describe mass public near-panic reactions. It is commonly applied to the waves of popular medical problems that "everyone gets" in response to news articles. A similar usage refers to any sort of "public wave" phenomenon, and has been used to describe the periodic widespread reappearance and public interest in UFO reports, crop circles, and similar examples. he symptoms of hysteria may be considered as a subtle battle against a male-dominated superiority, as presented by Imperial Airways in Hysteria Aeropuertiensis. Correct pathological analysis and suitable treatment of these symptoms allow and help to accept the male superiority conditions, which will also beneficate relations between the patient and the physician.


t last the Heathrow Hassles have revealed the exterme diversity in pathological symptoms for the Hysteria Aeropuertensis, which seems to be originated by the British Imperial Airways. The pathological centre of gravity is to be located at Heathrow Airport, where the employees avoid any contact to their stranded passengers. For this reason the disease has been named Heathromania or the British airport-hysteria (Hysteria Aeropuertensis Britanniensis).



ormally hysteria will always be described as a border experience. Whereas positive hysterias (a popconcert by a beloved artist) is felt to enrich a life, negative hysterias wil always be felt as a threatening experience. According to neutralized medical investigations stoic reactions of British employees will seriously aggravate British airport-hysteria. In extreme cases hysteria may be felt as a life-threatening experience.


6 The Wagon-Fort
Saturday, 12th of August 2006, at noon, 12:00


e are urgently ordered to leave the airport and to go downtown. The airport is supposed to be closed now. I call at my hotel, which I left early this

“Good morning, sir, My name is Francisco Kavvka. Last night I have a guest in your hotel. Would you please check if you have a free room for tonight in the hotel?” I am afraid Hotel Thistle cannot supply any rooms in the next days, Sir. But we certainly will be able to find a room for you near London!” “Do have any idea what a room will cost in the neighbourhood of London?” “I would say £250 pro person.” “Yes, OK, that's fine. Thank you very much for your information.”



am not going to follow these crazy advices. I am not going to downtown London. At first I will be going to try and check the airlines desk. Imperial Airways already locked itself into the wagon fort, merely leaving some very young girls for the pike-run13 as the angry passengers will not be expected to molest these kids. The youngsters are handing out paper leafs with phone numbers and an internet address. However the phone numbers are malfunctioning. They do not work at any of the telephone boots. Some will not even accept these numbers at all, whereas others respond by “invalid phone number” or “disconnected line”. Although a great number of people is hanging around at the terminal the sound level at the lobby is remarkable low.


he rest of the IA-employees has enclosed itself in a sealed coffin in the middle of the lobby, where they form a closed circle turning their backs towards the stranded passengers. Most of them are smoking and a huge blueish-grey cloud arises from the circle. They seem to enjoy themselves in a free couple of hours and are discussing – probably the weekend, soccer, girls and cars. take place at the closed desk and try to press the iron curtain out of its rails. The heavy curtain seems to be solid and whoever wants to remove it must apply some striking action. Every now and then one of these IA-employees faces to the desk, turns back to his colleagues and causes some hilarity by telling some joke. Obviously the crew is used to handle these Heathrow Hassles ...
Running the gauntlet


7 Rebooking flights...
Saturday, 12th of August 2006, 3:15 p.m.


o response after thirty, after forty or fifty phone calls. At 3:15 o'clock pm my flight should have been departing. No news and no sign of Imperial Airways. They seem to have vanished into the weekend. I walk to some passenger who seems to have contacted someone at another phone booth and I ask him how he managed to make a phone call. I describe him these ancient phones do not seem to be working properly. “Oh well, you are not going to make phone calls to the rebooking system from these phones”, he confirms, “you will have to use a fully charged German mobile phone and call a foreign station to rebook. The phone numbers are not working for anybody.”


do not carry a cellphone and I try another phone booth, but these calls results in “invalid call” again. But hey, here we have a IA-lady bringing me some good news. “Good afternoon, Miss. These phone numbers for rebooking are invalid. Could you please help me to dial the correct number? I can't dial any number with these phones, but it should be working with cellphones.”


“No, that's impossible, Sir. You see, I am in a hurry and we have got enough troubles of our own. You can imagine what's happening here, do you?” “Can't you help me by calling this number on your phone, PLEASE?” “We do not carry mobile phones. We are just handing out these leaflets. And now please excuse me. I have got work to do!”


way and gone she is, this quicksilver girl with her worthless phoney numbers. Is this supposed to be the famous British courtesy? I'd rather say this is impertinence. Right now I am heading for an abandoned desk and try to call from a desk phone, but this idea does not seem to work either...


t is unbelievable how much anger may be generated by adrenaline from a helpless position. A last surplus of extra adrenaline will especially be activated as soon as passengers become aware there must be some sinister underground organisation, which coordinates this kind of terrorizing stranded passengers. None of the IA-employees seems to be embarrassed. Instead they keep cool and they know exactly how the Hassle performs. They even manage to ignore all disabled and hysterical passengers. Let them take care of each other or themselves...


8 The Air Passengers Rights

• • • • • • •

t the entrance of Heathrow I suddenly stumble across a large pamphlet full of “Air Passenger Rights”. Whoever reads this stuff may be assured airlines are obliged to help their passengers in helpless situations. This is just a summary of requirements, which are being promised without any exclusions: Meals Free phone calls Hotel beds Breakfast, Free rebookings, Pay-back of unused tickets within 7 days, and so on...


f course none of these promises or rights are of any value at Heathrow, where stranded passengers may be glad to survive their crash at all. None of these customers will have any rights at all. We are entering a pirate's territory, where criminals are ruling the law. You may be highjacked at the Horn of Africa, but the Navy will rescue you to protect decent tax-paying citizens. Right here you have no rights and you will not be protected by anyone. The only way to educate this airline is to apply a maximum amount of negative advertisement. Of course I am not going to do any future business with this airline or any of its partners...



• • • •

n ombudsman14 is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some external constituency while representing the broad scope of constituent interests. Usually appointed by the organization, but sometimes elected by the constituency, the ombudsman may, for example, investigate constituent complaints relating to the organization and attempt to resolve them, usually through recommendations (binding or not) or mediation. Ombudsmen sometimes identify organizational roadblocks running counter to constituent interests. ome airlines do cooperate with an ombudsman, others refuse to do so. Acceptance of an ombudsman will help to smoothen the relations between injured passengers and airlines. n ombudsman for problems between travellers and travel-carriers has been initiated by the German government. The organisation Schlichtungsstelle Mobilität investigated the situation by discerning cooperative and non-cooperative companies. Cooperation with ombudsmen and userfriendliness has been found at 100 companies, including: Deutsche Bahn, KLM, Air France und American Airlines.

English plural: conventionally ombudsmen


• • • • • • •

ailing cooperation with ombudsmen and failing userfriendliness has been found at other companies, including: Deutsche Lufthansa, Air Berlin, British Airways, Imperial Airways, Easyjet, Germanwings, Ryan Air.


t an early stage I contacted the ombudsman, but unfortunately Imperial Airways does not belong to the cooperative airlines. Of course at the 12th of August 2006 I was still unaware of these details. Unfriendly and sinister forces were ruling my daily schedule and they forced me to escalate the procedure to free myself from Heathrow's chains...



9 At the reception desk
Saturday, 12th of August 2006, 3:30 p.m. The back wall of the lobby of terminal 1 displays a huge table with departure information. There will be no departures today, so the display reveals some data for Sunday morning. According to these data Imperial Airways already decided to cancel all flights for tomorrow morning. Now let's be fair and consider it a nice gesture that the airline did inform its customers. In fact no passengers would have a right to be informed in case of an Act of God... Returning to the shops I happen to meet the reception, where a lonely, scared lady observes me coming. She wears a shortened upper lip, but a wealthy bosom, both of which she tries to hide. I explain her my problems in using their telephones and in contacting the rebooking office of Imperial Airways.

“I am sorry. Sir”, she replies, “ I can't help you. Please try another phone. There are enough of these.” “I already tried thirty or forty of these devices”, I say angrily, “None of these things seem to work. Is this a technical museum or so?” “I know”, she confirms, “but I cannot help.”


“Could you please try to dial the number at your phone?” “No, that's impossible. We are not responsible for the rebookings”. Probably the lady is scared to death by now, as she already is staring at the horizon behind my back. Obviously she eyecontacted the watchman, who is approaching with a gummi club in both hands. “Anything wrong?” he asks looking into the sky. As if he were looking for pigeons at the ceiling... “No, not really!”, the lady sighs and breathes deeply, as if the watchman just brought her a bottle of fresh air...


10 Hello, hello...!
Saturday, 12th of August 2006, at 5:30 pm "Hello, hello...!" "Yes, who is on the line, please?" "This is the jet-maintenance department, Williams!" "Could you please connect me to the rebooking office please?" "No, that's impossible. How the hell did you manage to enter our network! We have work to do, we are NOT the operators!!" "I know. As a stranded passenger I am unable to get any help in rebooking my flight. That's what happens if your company does not provide any decent service of a kind... I am gonna be dialing a set of numbers at this damned phone until I find the operator!” “Hell. Don't make so much fuzz and do not disturb working people! <click>"


Fig. 1: Sleeping-place at Heathrow Airport


manage to find a place to sleep in the luggage counter, in which the draught seems to be minimized. Compared to the rest of the building the location is quite comfortable warm. The luggage counter provided a dual desk with two computerterminals and two phones, which have been secured by passwords or coded numbers. In the hurried abandonment one of the keyboards already has been moistened by a spilled can of Coke.



f course I am aware the sticky stuff will soon dry up inside the keyboard and destroy the terminal's contacts but hell, there are other catastrophes, like passengers starving to death in a sinister hole. The keyboard at the right side seems to be clean enough and I turn it around to try some commands. It isn't too easy to find the correct passwords and so I try my luck at the phone.


aving plenty of time for my trials I start by entering wild combinations of numbers and passwords to open the telephone system. The optimal method seems to work by flatly moving the palm of my hand over the number block, which may connect me to a random chosen number like the Jet-Maintenance Department or some other special department. I give it another try and right now the phone rings twice before a voice is sounding. This is going to be my third connection: „Sheila – catering service“ „Did I connect to the rebooking office, miss Cheetah?“ „No, sir. You landed at the catering department!“ „Oh, that's fine! Could you please fetch me a fine vegetarian meal with some dry white wine?“ „I am afraid we can't, Sir. We are not allowed to deliver any goods without a valid booking-number.“


„Now listen, miss Cheetah. I just did study the Air Passengers Rights and convinced myself that Imperial Airways is obliged to fetch some meals for their stranded passengers. Isn't the catering service responsible for this task?” „You are right, Sir. But we are not allowed to directly deliver the meals.“ „You are working at Imperial Airways. Nobody else is available at the lobby. All your colleagues seem to have started their weekends. There is no food here and I am hungry.” „I am sorry, Sir. We are not allowed to deliver any goods without a valid booking-number.“ „Oh, that's OK! I do have a valid booking-number. Now let's see. Here it is: YCP9EN/1A. In fact I already should have landed at my destination airport by now, but I'm still stuck at this stinking hole! Can't you please connect me to the rebooking office?” „I cannot help you, sir. I am sorry to hear you have so much trouble.“


„Really, do you have foreseeing abilities? How did you foresee I do have some other problems. You see, somebody dropped a can of Coke at the computerterminal next to the telephone. Now there is a trace of smoke raising from the device. I'm afraid this may lead to some fire, you know!” “A fire?” she interrupts with an incredible and anxious voice. “In that case you should directly call the fire department at 112.” „I would gladly do so, madam, but the telephones seem to be blocked or malfunctioning. I already repeated my calls to the rebooking office for dozens of times, but I do not manage to get through. They seem to be absent.” „Do you observe any flames?“ „Not really. You see, it's only a minor fire. Nothing to be worried about... Now let's see. I do have a cup with some cold coffee right here and I'll try to extinguish the fire right away with some coffee! Now watch out, this may be sizzling a bit... Did you hear the sizzle??” “No, I just hear some background noise. Maybe you'd better call the fire department.” „No, I don't think so. You know, I don't really care to save this bloody building. For me it would be fine if this building would be burned to the ground!” 45

„What is your name, Sir?“ „Nelson“, I say with a loud and clear voice, „Horatio Nelson. Good night, miss Cheetah“ and I hang up while shoving the phone back to its original location. Phoning for half an hour is a boring task. Time to try some other feature...


drag my belongings to the counter of the Internetcafés at Terminal 1 and I manage to reserve a flight at the website „“ for the next day. Unfortunately the system denies the credit card number. Each of three trials aborts the sessions and crashes my browser. These British programmers really did do a lousy job in creating their own Heathrow Hassle inside the booking program. They do not even allow me to send an email to Imperial Airways.


11 A saviour in sight
Saturday, 12th of August 2006, 7:00 p.m.


arrying all my luggage I am struggling my way back to terminal 2 and visit the normally opened bookingdesk for the Lufthansa flights. I ask for information about the next flights to Stuttgart, Germany. “No problem, Sir. You may be able to fly tomorrow morning. Would you want me to print a ticket?”


ithin five minutes she hands out a precious lifesaving ticket charging me 700 Euros on my credit card. Theoretically Air Passengers Rights would enable me to charge Imperial Airways for overhead expenses, but I had not taken into account the activities of those powerful lobbyists, who managed to dismantle EU-regulations by redefinition of divine Powers. At Heathrow any disturbance automatically will be redefined as an Act of God. Basically Acts of God are unexpected and undefinable, which allows airlines to abandon their stranded passengers as soon as anything unexpected occurs. In retrospect we all understand why every employee at Heathrow foresees a new Hassle will surely bring an endless chain of cigarettes-breaks...



12 The stillest Hour15
Sunday, 13th of August 2006, in the night at 2:00 a.m.


tranded passengers will normally be going to sleep early at Heathrow Airport as any abandoned luggage is to be destroyed for security reasons. Every hour I rise to comfort my nerves by walking the lobby and to observe the British Chaos. The lobby is brightly illuminated to prevent terror, theft and other crimes, but the light cannot prevent the ill-treatment of customers by their airlines. Sleeping, dozing and softly discussing passengers may be found anywhere. The military forces seem to have left, but a few watchmen are still staggering around. Roaming around I am able to identify several climatic areas in the lobby. Our sleeping area is the warmest zone, but the corridors and entrance areas are filled with draught and too cold for comfortable sleeping. Still these draughty places are filled with sleeping persons. After an hour I return to my sleeping place. It takes a long time, but in the end sleep will overcome. My head lowers as my legs raise to the sky. Is this the dreamed take-off from a cursed airport?


id you ever meet the twilight phase between day and night, at which Nietzsche's dream begins? Anyway my dream started by sending me a blond girl all dressed in a bright blue shining gown:
The title comes from Friedrich Nietzsche's most famous book: Also sprach Zarathustra. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Second Part – The stillest Hour


“Is there anything I can do for you, Sir?” she whispers to me while looking down to me. Dazzled I recompose my thoughts and it takes a few seconds until I understand the question. “Is there anything I can do for you, Sir?” she whispers again with her sweet and softened voice. “Oh yes, you can”, I whisper, “Maybe you might rebook my flight. These phoney phones in the lobby are malfunctioning. They never seem to respond at all.” “Really? Oh, that's too bad”, she sadly sighs, “But that's no problem at all!”. For a second or two her brightened eyes deeply penetrate my vision. Then her tiny hands manipulate a sophisticated mobile phone and dial a singular number, at which she quickly rebooks my flight to the Lufthansa-machine. “Oh, that's great!”, I enthusiastically cry and start to rise. At that moment my neighbor's wife rudely hits me with her elbow. “What's wrong?”, I ask her as I weep the sleep out of my eyes, staring into the deep lobby. Puzzled by my dreams I gaze into the brightened eyes of a beautiful blueish dressed girl.


“Is there anything I can do for you, Sir?” she whispers to me while looking down to me.


or a few seconds I have to reorder my mind. There are a lot of children sleeping in the neighbourhood. My neighbours are travelling with three little children from California to Berlin. They have been separated in the United States and were to fly back in separate airplanes. In Heathrow's lobby they managed to be reunited, but the couple needed hours to reassure the kids. Should I start a bad scene and wake up the families with those sleeping children? That would be the last thing on my mind! “No, there is nothing you can do no more” I softly say to her avoiding to wake up the children. “It is all right. Thanks a lot”.


bviously the Security-Team has been observing my restless walks in the lobby and they decided to send a psychological trained assistant to check my mental status. Of course no British action would be able to improve our situation.


lay back at my mats, but the generous comrade Sleep did not return and had to be replaced by anger. I feel to do something against this bloody organisation. After all customers are to express clearly their disgust and anger against bad service or malfunctioning. Right now I feel the need for action against this malfunctioning madhouse...



13 The Washroom
Sunday, 13th of August 2006, in the night at 2:12 a.m.


arefully I enter the oversized washroom. You never know whether a security 007-agent is hiding behind the door to penetrate your skin with a knife or a

ritish tradition requires to name toilets “washrooms”. Indeed extensive washing may be observed in these lavatories. A great number of soapand toothpaste-spenders are signalizing frequent sleepingguests at the lobby. Obviously terminal 1 may be seen as a large youth hotel for adults. In contrast the supervisor parents are missing. In fact there is no planned supervision at all...


s a matter of fact there is a fair dozen of stranded persons and overtired ghosts busy washing and razoring their gloomy faces. I wonder what people motivates to disturb their daily patterns by washing their faces in the middle of the night. There will be no departures in the next 24 hours or even within the next couple of days. Maybe they are misusing Heathrow as a cheap alternative hotel and I can imagine to read a hint praising Heathrow in a travelogue “Discover the World at Five Dollars a Day!16”

Compare: Europe on 5 Dollars a Day (Paperback) by Arthur Frommer (Author)



tired coolie with an Indian face is constantly shoving a mop to and fro. In England the Indians are still working as the servant-coolies for 20 rupees a week. In the lavatories I feel comfortable as it seems to be a foreign territory and unusually clean in comparison to the dirty and shabby lobby of terminal 1. This place is extremely clean, but will be cleaned again and again. It seems to be a ritual cleaning process, repeated permanently for money or for a place to stay - just like the restless movements of Rilke's panther at the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris.


remember the short poem17 quite well, because as youngsters we had to learn these beautiful poetic lines by heart. Right now I start remembering the third couplet. The Indian tries to check my eyes. This Indian coolie believes and he checks to see whether I am a panther-killing Englishman. He is so tired his eyes are completely empty. He may have been moving his mop for more than 12 hours by now just to earn his green card or one and half rupees a day... Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille sich lautlos auf -. Dann geht ein Bild hinein, geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille und hört im Herzen auf zu sein.


Original German version of The Panther by Rainer Maria Rilke, 6.11.1902, Paris. The Internet provides several translations for this beautiful poem.



he English people are used to oversee their coolies and they simply see through to ignore their faces. Exactly that seems to be the standard procedure to handle stranded passengers like a vacuum, like an empty and useless bag, which may be disposed, ignored, hit or shot down ad lib. Nothing happening to such persons would move an English mind, not even the stiff upper lip. his time I asked my neighbours to watch my luggage. This will allow me to enter a standard sized toilet without luggage. In this toilet one of the big fixturescrews is missing. Did one of those hysterical passengers remove the component in order to flush the screw into the river Thames? It might very well have happened this way although it's quite dangerous. Orwell's country has been filled up to the brim by cameras documenting each and every fart, blow or sabotage. Sabotage used to be punished by death penalty in Big Brother's country. The British still keep their punishment instruments intact in the Tower, where the original sword and the anvil to execute Mary Stuart are waiting for the next recalcitrant customer. Yes, we are in a land of imperial traditions... eaving the washroom I suddenly feel myself aware of crime-thought by guessing who might be responsible for the terror applied to Heathrow's passengers. I may choose between the airport organisation BAA, the airlines, the secret service or these prisoners. However crime-thought may still be considered as a capital crime and this motivates me to concentrate on leaving this damned island for good. 55


14 The Mad Hatter
Sunday, 13th of August 2006, in the night at 3:00 a.m.


t the entrance of the T1-building I identify a scribbling block, at which a presented sheet of paper displays an irrelevant text like “Parents, who need a buggy for their children, are asked to contact this desk”. At these chaotic times there must be some better information for arriving passengers. I decide to take a new sheet of paper, take the available felt-pen and start writing at the blank page: “Attention passengers! All of your flights have been cancelled for today. Please pay attention to your Air Passenger Rights at the pamphlet in the entrance area of the lobby!”


o me this message seems to be relevant enough for the huge crowd, which will soon be arriving by train and start entering this place at 6:00 am in the morning. Using the felt-pen I start marking the most important details at the Air Passenger Rights bill. These markings are greatly improving the rather confusing text, which certainly satisfies my worried mind. Obviously my corrections have been noticed by an elder couple, which quickly marches away into the lobby. I return to my sleeping place to get my camera in order to photograph the improved version of the Air Passenger Rights.



hese days the most humoristic character at Heathrow Airport certainly is the Mad Hatter 18, who may have been engaged as a clown by the airline to bring some hilarity and friendliness into the atmosphere. Lately I only observed this person as a companion to a sinister looking watchman wearing an old MP-gun, which may have been stolen from a World War I-shop. Both of them regularly were to be seen staggering along the walls of the lobby. At the very moment as I am going to trigger my photo-camera this guy with his porcupine-haircut rams his MP-shaft into my kidney area and sizzles: "Hey man, what are you doing?".


e shoves my body away from the pamphlet and now I am able to identify his face in its full beauty. He is somewhat over forty and wears a porcupine-haircut, which remotely smells like bad teeth, old men's sweat and some alcohol. Of course he is gloomily staring at my face. n a polite way I describe my idea of photographing this wonderful table with interesting informations, but he does not like my working style. In a next move he points his shaft to the Mad Hatter, who has positioned himself next to the scribbling block with my writing. This guy is smiling like Alice's Cheshire-cat.
The Mad Hatter is a fictional supervillain in the Batman comics, published by DC Comics. He is modeled after The Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll's book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He made his first appearance in Batman #49 in October 1948. Like other Batman villains, he has become a darker character in recent years.


“Oh yes, I know”, I explain and turn around to proceed my photographing. “I found a scribbling block with a felt-pen. I used those to write some relevant information for the passengers, who soon will be arriving with an early train.” He probably guesses, that I must have been correcting the text of those air passengers rights, but he does not have any proofs, so he says: "You have been damaging the airport's property. You are not photographing anything or do you want me to put you into custody till your departure?"


ell, that's not exactly what I am aiming at. I already carry a ticket to escape this Heathrow Hell, so I decide to walk back into the lobby. Both clowns are waiting until they see me disappear. At a certain distance the elder couple is waiting. They may have warned the watchmen, but it doesn't matter. That's how I landed at the exercise-stations for the British air-force...



15 The Flight-simulators at Heathrow
Sunday, 13th of August 2006, in the night at 3:20 am


he corner of T1 net to the main entrance has been reserved for three electronic game boxes. All three have been provided with large color-screens, which permanently display the same scenes. Obviously the movies have been designed to attract youngsters. At the left side the box displays the worst movie I ever saw. The story may be located in the mountains and the plot displays a pilot who is shooting running persons in their backs. According to their clothings the running persons look like peasants, but of course they must be terrorists because in combats the terrorist will always wear a farmer's clothings.


bviously these flight-simulators may have been designed to train the Empire's pilotes while simultaneously the same kind of software lures the children to recruit new soldiers. Of course failing pilotes may always switch to Imperial Airways...


make up my mind how to stop the flight-simulator, but porcupine-haircut is still looking into my direction to check my behaviour. One false movement might trigger the singular fatal killer-reflex. 61


lthough I am rather sure security regulations do not allow him to use sharp ammunition in his obsolete MP we may never know what happens. At the times of imperial colonialism – only a few decades ago – the soldiers used to shoot down citizens for lesser reasons. I shouldn't take too much risks...


16 Terminal is to be read „The End“
Sunday, 13th of August 2006, in the night at 6:00 am


ust like yesterday I will have to carry my heavy load of luggage over several hundreds of meters between terminals T1 and T2. The route leads me through ugly floors and dark tunnels, where dozens of lost, dozing, sleeping and dying creatures have been deposited. Some corpses have been enveloped in aluminium coatings like the victims in traffic accidents and their bodies have been dumped at the bare marble floor in a draughty bunker. Others hang around in any thinkable position at the uncomfortable metallic seats. Just like the leprous people they do not even move if their bodies are being hit by stumbling passers-by. These victims must be the ones, who already lost all hopes for further air travels and are devoting themselves to starve for this strange and black deity of destruction called Kali. I am observing dozens of unconscious victims. How many of these creatures may be lying in the vast network of catacombs at Heathrow Airport?


colonial empire must have been hardened against these kinds of visions. Whoever is experienced to let people starve in the streets of a remote colony, should not be too surprised by similar situations at home. All observable help had been offered by exterritorial institutions like Air France, Lufthansa and Alitalia, whereas I never saw any British hand helping. The IA-employees probably have been gathered again to smoke in their wagon-fort...



17 Time to say Goodbye...
Sunday, 13th of August 2006, in the night at 7:00 am


he last impression I remember from Heathrow Airport is a departure lobby for the functioning airlines Lufthansa, Air France, Swiss, etcetera. Here I am enclosed like a herring carrying a vast amount of luggage between crying students, cursing managers, praying monks, who are surrounded by armed soldiers. Embedded in massive pushing and pulling, hysterical screaming and panics I remembered the seldom pop-concerts in which fatal casualties have been reported. Strangely enough I feel happy to leave this hostile madhouse and I swear to myself not to return to this place for the rest of my life. In another thought-crime I wished this place to go to hell, but of course I keep these crimethoughts to myself. eaving London takes some more time than 100 years ago. First of all we have to overcome a guarded security checkpoint with extremely unfriendly personell. I never saw anything alike. Two queues with hundreds of passengers are waiting to be checked by 4 persons, guarded by over a dozen of military forces all armed with MPs. Of course these checks result in vast delays, but these airlines at least are waiting until the last of their passengers has passed the security check-point.



otes are warning us to avoid any remarks or discussions at the security gate. Otherwise the criminal may be kept in custody for a few days! Obviously authorities had already experienced a number of comments from angry passengers. I surely can imagine some English curses, which are to be used quite seldom in emergency cases. While waiting in the lobby of terminal 1 and a quick breakfast in terminal 2's coffee-bar I have been discussing with other passengers. Everybody seems to be convinced the Anglo-saxons at least have contributed to the hatred in the underground movements. England even reported some physicians, who had felt the need to use bombs against the local establishment. No wonder the youngsters permanently feel the need to absorb any available kind of liquors and 12years old girls feel the desperate need to become pregnant.


resist the idea of looking too deep into the eyes of these poor officials at the check-point. First of all passengers need to get rid of all beverages and dump them in a large metallic container. At a distance of two persons in my queue I observe one of the officials picking a bottle of 18-years old Glenfiddich19 out of a sealed plastic bag of an US-American passenger. The victim violently protests and starts some arguments until a soldier with a club intervenes. The incident results in a remarkable surplus of new cursing expressions for my dictionary. Of course the victim has to drop the good old bottle of Glenfiddich into the dustbin. Out of the back rows I observe a man staggering towards the garbage section, where he is seen to successfully remove the bottle and walk away into the catacombs. At least one person seems to be content with these new regulations!

Glenfiddich is a successful producer of whisky



f course all passengers are forced to remove their shoes and to unpack their belongings. After a 2-3 days stay most socks start smelling depending on environment temperatures. The odours released in my neighbourhood would not really reach top-levels in aromatic contests, but I myself did not feel too ashamed in presenting my socks and my dirty pants. Of course nothing was to be found at these checks...


y saviour Lufthansa Cityline LH4785 departs at around 11:00 o'clock am. At the airplane I meet a couple, who have been dumped at the airport by the same airline Imperial Airways. They confirm that nobody has been successful in rebooking by using those phoney IArebooking phone numbers. However they have been able to use their fully-charged mobile phone to contact a German office of Imperial Airways, where they were able to rebook them to this Lufthansa-machine. ur LH-flyer is only half-full and would have been able to carry more stranded victims from Heathrow Airport, but these kind of ideas cannot be developed in a British mind...



18 The battle against an airline...
15. August 2006


t the 15th of August 2000 I address my traveldocuments and a request for repayment to Imperial Airways. The airline merely provides a fax-number 01805-000067 in Bremen, to which passengers may send a request. They do not provide any phone-number at all inside Germany. My messages are not to be responded at all for weeks.


aving sent my documents I am waiting for two and a half months without receiving any sign of life. Did my partner go bankrupt recently or die unnoticed? It may happen of course and it has happened before. But after three months without any reaction a war is going to be started by sending a polite mail to the department Customer Services of Imperial Airways. After a week of waiting without a response a copy of this mail is being sent, which is to be repeated at shorter intervals until Imperial Airways finally responds after a few weeks. In automated response letter the airline feels sorry for the delay and explains there are so many letters to be responded...



t the 20th of November the airline finally pays back a minimal amount of money for the unused return flight of my ticket. My questions to the malfunctioning rebooking system remain unanswered. I do not accept silence for an answer and open a formal charge against the airline at the LBA20 in Braunschweig for a violation of the Air Passengers Rights. Right now I am sending daily mails to Imperial Airways questioning details to failing rebookings and the lack of any kind of support. Nothing happens... t 19th of January 2007 the postman delivers a first letter from Imperial Airways' lawyer in Frankfurt am Main. She states my flight has not been cancelled, but departed with only minor delays. As a professional lawyer she does not even mention my other questions concerning malfunctioning rebookings and failing support. In an Act of God an airline cannot be charged for damages anyway. I ask her why Imperial Airways did not inform passengers about their rights and about exclusions of rights at an Act of God in the leaflets and in the Air Passengers Rights. t 7th of February 2007 the postman delivers a second letter from Imperial Airways' lawyer in which she states the published Air Passengers Rights is not to be considered as a valid legal document. Again the rest of my questions remain unanswered. At 29th of March 2007 Imperial Airways offers me an air-travel voucher for 150 Euros, which cannot be transferred, with restricted validity for 12 months and for a flight to be confirmed by the airline. Of course I cannot accept vouchers for dilettant airlines, which are unacceptable partners for me.
The German Air Traffic Office in Braunschweig, Germany



t the 16th of April and the 20th of August 2007 the postman delivers a third and a fourth letter from Imperial Airways' lawyer. Again she avoids answering my questions. She breaks contacts “once and for all”. Instead I proceed communication by massively sending mails to the department Customer Service of Imperial Airways...


inally, at a level of 20 mails/day, the airline responds by a email reaction. It is said Imperial Airways does have a lot of requests and it takes time to respond. I myself do have a lot of work as well, but I never met a company which needs so many requests to react at all. After a few months a mail follows stating that Imperial Airways cannot be made legally responsible because an Act of God prevented the airline of doing her job. In fact our flight BA920 had been departing with a minimal delay, but the airport did not allow us to board the plane. Yes, sure! Of course we have been disallowed to board the airplane by some persons with shotguns. rom a few rare unqualified responses the damaged passenger may easily locate the Customer Servicedepartment somewhere way off in a development country, where a cheap staff informally communicates with sad customers. These employees are not allowed to promise anything but hope. Their main task is generating vast delays by not responding within three months after an event. This strategy will be usefull as some questioning passengers may have died or gone mad, which would be profitable for the airline... 71


he simplest joker at Customer Service certainly is David, who may still be believing in Santa Claus. To my question why Imperial Airways could not be contacted for rebooking at the 12th of August 2006 he simply responds in his naïve way: “Whenever stranded passengers cannot contact the rebooking office, Imperial Airways will always send experienced employees with mobile phones into the lobby to help passengers in rebooking their flight”.


avid probably never experienced a Heathrow Hassle and does not know how Imperial Airways reacts. For the airline any Hassle is like the divine spending of manna21, reanimating all hotels, restaurants and airlines near London and allowing them to earn decent money in an unequalled Goldrush...

Manna (Hebrew: ‫ ‏ן‬or Moun Salwa (Arabic, Persian, Urdu), sometimes ‫)מ‬ or archaically spelled mana, is the name of a food which, according to the Bible, was eaten by the Israelites during their travels in the desert. It was said to be sweet to the taste.


19 Legalized robbery...
The 20th of July 2007 Now we might say, well, that's a bad singularity. These things may happen every now and then. But that's not true as we may read from the popular phrase „Heathrow Hassle“, which any businessman will learn to fear on his trips to and from the City of London.


t Friday, the 20th of July 2007, a summer storm arises above the City of London and so its airport Heathrow collapses in a standard Hassle. A Swiss programmer Hartwig T. reports his experiences in a document titled "Imperial Airways in a storm! – and anticipating bankruptcy?”. According to his diary Imperial Airways had to cancel his flight from Heathrow to Zurich for „disruption to its operations“, whatever these kind of expressions may describe. nfortunately the airline turns out to be unable to spend a hotel-room for the night. Instead they offer £100 for a night („per room – 2 people sharing“)22. Just remember that an average room in Downtown London regularly costs £150 / night! It is left open what kind of solution is to be found for a singular room. Maybe the stranded passenger will be invited to share the room with a lovely roommate...

It is exactly the same type of offer I received at my Hassle in the previous year 2006.



n his document the Swiss programmer confirms how Imperial Airways refuses its obligations to feed stranded passengers and adds: “these idiotic measures to forbid the transport of any beverages probably kills23 100 x more people than terrorism”. Obviously he does not even know how easily an Act of God may deprive passengers from their Rights in case of Hassles. The airline is free to let them starve or dehydrate ad lib.


he airline avoids the waste of ressources by complete absence of the staff, by minimizing any information in the loudspeakers and of course in failing to provide any meals and beverages.

n the course of the day an IA-employee approaches Hartwig T. and offers him an option for a flight for the early morning of the following Saturday. The option however costs additionally £320, as the flight merely provides some seats in Business Class. That would reduce the problems to simply finding an adequate hotel room. To meet his order to find the cheapest available hotel room the guest winds up in a hotel room at the Sheraton Heathrow hotel for £203 (515 Swiss Francs!) including a bus-ticket.

By dehydration caused be preventing passengers to drink enough water...



he very next day he is invited to pay an overcharge of 810 Francs for a Business Class ticket. Having paid the charge he is informed “that his rebooking had been a virtual booking”. Imperial Airways just cancelled the flight he had been rebooking! He would not be able to fly back to Zurich that day.


ow Hartwig T. suggests to check other destinations, such as Geneva, Basel, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich. These airports would allow him to easily travel to Zurich by train. He now definitely wishes to get rid of these uninformative, greedy and avaricious English folks! uckily a sympathetic Indian looking employee at a ticket desk is able to help him. She manages to book Hartwig T. in Business Class to a Lufthansa-flight to Munich and from Munich to Zurich at the same evening. That very evening Hartwig T. will be able to take a full breath of fresh air in freedom!

Source for these details in German language: Diary of a Swiss Passenger.pdf



20 Mail Analysis
The 7th of April 2008


eceiving so many mails in 2008 I searched for some useful information to be distilled from these messages. The majority of the mails merely consists of some standard texts and identification messages. An example may clarify the basic structure. Receipt of your email to Imperial Airways Thank you for contacting Imperial Airways. Please be assured that your email is important to us and will be responded to as soon as possible, therefore it is not necessary to resend your email at any point. We thank you for your patience. Regards, Imperial Airways. The sending address for this email acknowledgement is an automated account. This message is for notification purposes only and should not be replied to. Thank you.



f course this kind of message will not satisfy a customer who is waiting for months for re-payment of his extra-costs. However these replies reveal some interesting details to study the working style of a company. rriving from Imperial Airways and from the Airportmanager BAA the header-lines for these responsemails do contain a basic structure e.g. in the following examples (for 3 successive responses): 07. Apr 2008 09:26, Header from Imperial Airways [Incident: 080407-000442] 07. Apr 2008 10:57, Header from Imperial Airways [Incident: 080407-000788] 07. Apr 2008 12:56, Header from Imperial Airways [Incident: 080407-001312]


nalysis of these data reveals the arrival of 442 mails at the 7th of April 2008 at 9:26 o'clock. By sending a great number of mails the damaged customer may therefore at least gather an overview of the airline's activities. pplying this method enabled me to document a very high mail input around 18:00 o'clock at the 7th of April 2008 and at 26th of May 2008. Both days reveal more than 2400 mails for these days. A normal day would expect between 800 and 1600 mails up to that time. The 28th of March 2008 of course has been the black Inaugurationday for Terminal 5, at which the airline had to cancel 34 flights... 78


n contrast the BAA-operator receives 500 each hour, respectively 7000 mails each day, as a rule of thumb a threefold amount compared to Imperial Airways. This number probably will be caused by ignorant system-managers, who are unaware of methods to stop spam, but maybe these mails may also have been sent by satisfied customers, who would like to express their thanksgivings for a great welcome and a night's sleep at the solid couches or at the marble floors at Heathrow Airport..



21 The Turing-Test


The 7th of April 2008

hese mails returned by Imperial Airways and BAA turned out to be quite depersonalized messages , which had been generated by computers. None of these mails will ever reveal a spelling error. The texts look like ghost-scripts as if some text-generator has been selecting standard text number 47 or 32. Could it be true I had connected one of those famous Turing-machine? That would be a sensational thing to happen!


ow let's analyse the following mail, which may have been generated by a text-generator, as it refers to refusal for a non-cancelled flight, but claims to be not liable for any delayed flight. This kind of nonsense will not be reproduced by human beings, but certainly has been generated by software: Dear Mr R. Thank you for contacting us about your claim for compensation. Your claim for compensation has been refused because BA0920 on 12 August 2006 was not cancelled. Under EU legislation, British Airways is not liable for a compensation payment when a flight is delayed. For more detailed information, please visit · click on the section marked Legal · then select Notification of rights to compensation for cancelled flights 81

Thank you for following this up with us and I hope you will fly with us again soon. Best regards Alisha S. EU Compensation Claims Your case reference is: 6844481 Please use the following link to send us a reply: http:/ b?eId=120001&wfpId=custrelreplies&case=6844481 Please quote your case reference 6844481 in any correspondence with us. Please do not reply directly to this email as it will not reach us, but if you click on the link above, we'll be happy to answer your question.


lan Turing24 really must be considered as one of the most important theoretic scientists in early computer development and informatics. His design for the Turing-machine is a basic fundament for theoretic informatics. Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science. He provided an influential formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine.

Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954)



n 1999 Time Magazine named Turing as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century for his role in the creation of the modern computer, stating: "The fact remains that everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine.”


ith the Turing test, meanwhile, he made a significant and characteristically provocative contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence: whether it will ever be possible to say that a machine is conscious and can think. He later worked at the National Physical Laboratory, creating one of the first designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE, although it was never actually built in its full form. In 1948, he moved to the University of Manchester to work on the Manchester Mark 1, then emerging as one of the world's earliest true computers.


uring the Second World War, Turing worked at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre, and was for a time head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.



uring was homosexual, living in an era when homosexuality was considered a mental illness and homosexual acts were illegal. Subsequent to his being outed, he was criminally prosecuted, which essentially ended his career. He died not long after from what was officially declared self-induced cyanide poisoning, although his mother (and some others) considered the circumstances of his death to be ambiguous. uring addressed the problem of artificial intelligence, and proposed an experiment now known as the Turing test, an attempt to define a standard for a machine to be called "intelligent". The idea was that a computer could be said to "think" if it could fool an interrogator into thinking that the conversation was with a human. In the paper, Turing suggested that rather than building a program to simulate the adult mind, it would be better rather to produce a simpler one to simulate a child's mind and then to subject it to a course of education. This approach is adopted by the project.

The Turing test
he Turing test25 is a proposal for a test of a machine's ability to demonstrate intelligence. It proceeds as follows: a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which tries to appear human.
Alan Turing: Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Mind, vol. LIX, no. 236, October 1950, S. 433–460 (online, HTML)



ll participants are placed in isolated locations. If the judge cannot reliably tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test. In order to test the machine's intelligence rather than its ability to render words into audio, the conversation is limited to a textonly channel such as a computer keyboard and screen.


he Turing test was described by Alan Turing in his 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," in which Turing considers the question "can machines think?" Since "thinking" is difficult to define, Turing chose to "replace the question by another which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words." Turing's new question is: "Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the Turing test"? This question, Turing believed, is one that can actually be answered. In the remainder of the paper, he argued against all the major objections to this proposition. In the years since 1950, the test has proven to be both highly influential and widely criticized, and it is an essential concept in the philosophy of artificial intelligence.


considered the idea these response-mails by Imperial Airways might be generated in a Turing-processor, responding with some intelligent logic, as if a human being would have been answering. At least some of the answers looked like human responses, but I would still need hundreds of messages to study the phenomenon.



n average of 99,9% of Customer Service's responses seem to have been generated automatically, either directly or with some help of a human operator selecting the answering codes. This method seems to be the most profitable solution in responding 1200-2400 mails each day with around 20 employees. Each employee will have to respond 60 up to 120 mails each day. onsidering my problems in identifying the automatically generated and the hand-made mails I now suggest to spend the Loebner-medal26 in bronze including a 2000 U$-Dollar prize to Imperial Airways for efforts in producing the most creative game-software for amusement industries.


n 1990 Hugh Loebner agreed with The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies to underwrite a contest designed to implement the Turing Test. Dr. Loebner pledged a Grand Prize of $100,000 and a Gold Medal for the first computer whose responses were indistinguishable from a human's. Such a computer can be said "to think." Each year an annual prize of $2000 and a bronze medal is awarded to the most human-like computer. The winner of the annual contest is the best entry relative to other entries that year, irrespective of how good it is in an absolute sense.

The Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence ( AI ) is the first formal instantiation of a Turing Test.



n April 2008 the total number27 of case references in the above Turing-machine has been set at 6.844.481 which may imply 2 years of operations at a rate of 1.000 mails each day at 360 days / year, resulting in a theoretical total of 7.200.000 case references.


This number is the case reference number in my previously printed response to Imperial Airways



22 Governmental Help?? Forget it!!


f course there have been numerous contacts to official governmental institutions to check the airline for such scandalous behaviour. Unfortunately these contacts proved to be useless against the lobby, which has been provided by Imperial Airways. For this reason the battle against arbitrariness can only be proceeded by documenting the incompetence of this organisation..


t 25.01.2008 the German administration for traffic admits the incompleteness of the Air Passengers Rights as displayed at Heathrow Airport. Passengers are expected to inform themselves at a website28. Of course this is a nonsense advice... t 12.02.2008 the Dutch minister for traffic affairs, Camiel Eurlings, reports that airlines are still not informing passengers about their Air Passengers Rights. Of course this is a well known fact, but nobody cares... t 05.03.2008 my special friend David at Imperial Airways writes me the following letter:,1483/Fluggastrechte.htm


“I am sorry but I have no details from a flight in 2006, I can advise that phone booths or any amenity at Heathrow Airport is supported by the BAA, who own the airport and it is their responsibility for there upkeep. As a company, during a disruption, we provide staff with cell phones who call on the passengers behalf. I can advise we do not have a separate rebooking system, only a booking system. This is used to rebook passengers and is operated not only in the UK but worldwide and it is rare that the worldwide system collapses simultaneously. I am sorry that I am unable to assist you but as this problem has been ongoing since 2006 I am sure you have been in contact with departments who can assist you”.


is suggestions are ridiculous: Failing telephones belong to BAA's responsibility? The airline is responsible for availability of these telephones! He also claims that IA-employees with mobile phones will be available to help passengers to rebook flights in catastrophic situations. he idea of working rebooking systems around the clock is a fairy tale as well. Test-calls at 3:00 o'clock in the morning at Heathrow Airport revealed: none of these calls has been responded. Anyway we both know now, these fairy tales are all untrue. Do we, David?



t 09.05.2008 the CEC29-director in Kehl, Germany, enters a claim for our case at the British consumer protection organisation. Imperial Airways responds at 11.8.2008 by simply referring to the Air Transport Bill. t 14.05.2008 I locate a valid German lawsuit 30 against an airline, which had been notified by CEC. A summary of valid German jurisprudence is:

An airline must help stranded passengers, even in case of Acts of God. If the airline is not helping stranded passengers they have a right to require refunding of their losses. (see German jurisprudence at number: OLG Koblenz, Az.: 1 U 983/05).

t 15.05.2008 the CEC31-director in Kehl, Germany, contacts the German law office at Simmern and asks for a copy of the lawsuit. The judge promises to send a copy of the documents, but today we are still waiting for the postman... t 18.052008 I decide to publish my report concerning my experiences at Heathrow with Imperial Airways in two consumer forums. Up to now these reports have been acclaimed as «most useful» by 500 readers. 31:



t 05.06.2008 the LBA denies our claim against Imperial Airways and closes the case. The lawsuit OLG Koblenz, Az.: 1 U 983/05 does not seem to be of any value to them. t 10.07.2008 BAA starts applying automatic responses for mails, which allows me to analyze their activities. They promise to respond within 6 hours, but I never receive any response from them... t 11.8.2008 I receive a letter from a lawyer, summoning me to stop sending mails to Imperial Airways with my questions and suggestions. That's the way to reset law and order. Unfortunately this letter leaves me with an open question whether the problems with flight BA920 have to be judged according to medieval British laws or according to a more civilized continental law, which would not allow an airline to treat passengers like coolies. t 28.08.2008 I receive a letter from a IA-lawyer that the lawsuit OLG Koblenz, Az.: 1 U 983/05 does not apply for flight BA920 as the number of victims (totalling 400.000) had exceeded the maximum number, which is freeing the airline from any responsibility. Consequently any crime may be accepted if the number of victims is only high enough!...


hat's enough, I do not want to hear any more of this rubbish. Any more of these details is a waste of bandwidth, paper and mental energy. Even publishing these scandals will not help at all...


23 Heathrow Hassles in 2004
Staff shortages and « technical hitches »


housands of disgruntled vacationers were stranded at Heathrow Airport Tuesday when Imperial Airways canceled scores of flights because of staff shortages and technical hitches. assengers at Europe's busiest airport slept on benches, joined long lines to rebook their flights or simply gave up and returned home as the airline grounded 46 flights in two days. "To be told that they've got no staff is ludicrous," said Tom E., 36, whose flight to Nice, France, was canceled. "I'm only going for four days and I now have to queue up to try and get myself booked on a later flight."



24 Heathrow Hassles in 2006

"Certainly Heathrow does shame London. It is typical of the English short-termism, lack of planning, lack of investment ».

The Terror at 10 August


mperial Airways, along with all other airlines, is experiencing major disruption to its operations at London Heathrow today, Thursday 10 August , because of the severe airport congestion, following the introduction of new security arrangements. ll Imperial Airways shorthaul (UK and European) inbound and outbound flights to and from London Heathrow up until 3pm (BST) this afternoon are

cancelled. "This is the mother of all injunctions. We've long known the airport operators to be arrogant, but trying to ban 5 million people from coming near them is conceited even by their standards," said John S., the chairman of the Hacan group that opposes the new runway.



mperial Airways is facing a bill of £50m for the disruption at Heathrow and Gatwick caused by last Thursday's terror alert. A DIRTY tricks row has broken out between BAA and its biggest customer after insiders at the airports operator alleged that Imperial Airways used the recent security crisis as a cover to cancel unprofitable flights from Heathrow. A BAA source claimed the airline had cancelled more flights than needed to cut out unprofitable routes.

Christmas, 25 December


robing the baggage chaos at London Heathrow over the Christmas period - some 25,000+ bags were lost, and Imperial Airways, once again, was in the firing line. Clearly the bag mountain and dealing with it was a mess. Did BA deal with it as best they could? Probably not!


25 Heathrow Hassles in 2007
Winterstorm at 19 January


inds eased on Friday but there was still disruption at London Heathrow and other British airports. Imperial Airways cancelled more than 130 domestic flights on Thursday.

Strike at 27 January


mperial Airways announced cancellation of about seven flights to the UAE32 from London during this month end, due to the strike planned by the cabin crew. The boss Gordon W. comments: "We're no longer the world's favourite airline, we're the world's favourite headline."

Volunteering at 10 July
mperial Airways is facing a mounting baggage crisis at Heathrow with a backlog of 22,000 items of "lost" luggage. The UK's largest carrier does not have enough baggage handlers to cope with the summer peak. The situation is so serious that BA has drafted in its own office workers who "volunteered" to help out, along with staff from an outside agency.

The Emirates


Summerstorm, 20 July


mperial Airways does not learn from experiences. A Swiss businessman adds his own experience with BA at a stormy night of Friday, the 20th of July 2007. His report documents the same ignorant and shameless treatment by IAemployees...


26 Heathrow Hassles in 2008
Wind & Rain at 10 März


igh winds and torrential rain have caused serious disruption to Britain's airports, with dozens of flights cancelled. A spokesman for London City Airport said it had so far axed 95 flights, while Heathrow Airport this morning cancelled 34 short-haul flights because of the poor weather conditions. (By the way Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports will have to be sold by BAA under a ruling by the Competition Commission.)

The T5 -Disaster at the 29 of March
oday the queen opens the new $8.5 billion terminal T5, but nobody says “cheers”. Something is wrong with the luggage system. A hysterical supermodel is so upset she needs to be taken into custody. mperial Airways, the sole occupant of "T5," said 67 flights were canceled Saturday, including 33 arrivals and 34 departures. These were the kinds of problems that have long plagued Heathrow's four older terminals, earning the airport the nickname "Hassle Heathrow," and the kinds of problems the modern T5 was designed to fix.



nstead of transforming passengers' experience, the collapse of a state-of-the-art baggage system plunged Terminal 5 into chaos within hours of its opening. The airline had to cancel more than 400 flights, send passengers off without their bags and try to sort out baggage in Milan, Italy.


housands of irate passengers had to find other travel arrangements, hundreds were left stranded at the new complex. The shambles at Terminal 5 already has cost Imperial Airways $32 million in lost revenue. M. acknowledges that: "BAA fully recognizes that the inauguration of Terminal 5 has not been as smooth as we and Imperial Airways would have wished."


27 Recent and planned Hassles
Storm, 3 February 2009


eavy snowfall at Heathrow Airport caused disruption and chaos. 650 flights had to be cancelled and thousand of passengers stranded... Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Luton, Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh and Birmingham airports were closed for all or part of the day, causing knock-on delays at most regional airports. At Heathrow, a Cyprus Air passenger jet slipped off the taxiway, coming to rest with its front wheel on the grass.

Strike, 30 November 2011
t Heathrow the British authorities started the largest strike in 85 years to protest against the haircuts in the pension system33. Air Passengers are preparing for 12 hours delays, if they are being informed at all. Of course this is an Act of God, which allows the airline to earn some good money in cancelling flights and sell some first class seats for later flights instead of re-booking their stranded passengers. In fact any Act of God is a god-given gift to an incompetent organisation.

Two million strike in Britain over pension changes. Passengers arriving at London's Heathrow airport, one of the world's busiest air hubs, have been warned to expect delays of up to three hours to have their passports checked as border control officials join the action.


Planned Hassle in 2012


t is never to early to plan new Heathrow Hassles. With fears mounting of chaos when the city hosts the Olympics in 2012, government officials and business figures are calling for urgent improvements at the world's thirdbusiest airport:

Hassle Heathrow.


28 Fair Weather Flyers!


bviously Imperial Airways must be considered as a Fair Weather Flyer, which has not been prepared for heavy weather. These kind of companies may be acceptable in humorous England, but at the Continent such humour seems to be misplaced. No other international airport will crash several times a year like Heathrow Airport. Which citizen would accept the idea of a nuclear plant without an emergency switch off? The British probably would, if it is cheap enough...


he arrogance of Heathrow Airport including its main customer is based on a unique monopoly and geographical pole position, which is being exploited ruthlessly. EU-government probably already has resigned for so much power in lobbying.


n airline in a monopoly-position does not need any emergency plans or any plan whatsoever. Obviously politicians and citizens accept the concept. The banana's and cucumber's curvatures seems to prevail over traumatizing the stranded air passengers by Hysteria Aeropuertiensis Britanniensis. Europe should be ashame of this development country, in which passengers are being left to starve in the Heathrow's catacombs...


29 Kafka's Castle


stranger named K. approaches the environments of an imperial Castle. He seems to be a customer, invited by the Castle, but nobody knows whether he is a real customer or a would-be customer, whether he has been invited or arrived by chance – these details will never be revealed. Although the circumstances remain unclear he now is here and he is involved in the Castle's environment.


afka's novel describes this involvement as a story of alienation and lost illusions – the illusions of simple travelling. The more K. tries, the more he will be denied. fter re-reading the novel “The Castle” by Franz Kafka I realized Kafka must have had Hassle Heathrow in mind.

hat would have been simpler and easier than asking information at an airliner's desk? Well, to do so you will first have to wait for three days. Yes, but to rebook you should be allowed to phone somebody? Well, yes, but even the very thought of “rebooking” may be thought-crime. What would be more understandable than wishing to talk to an employee? Correct, but the staff is absent and the Terminal is unaccessible.



ut we are allowed to make a telephone call to someone in charge? Sure, but you may only contact jet-maintenance or the catering service, which are just ignorants or maybe even a Turing-processor34, in which a computer may respond in a suitable best-fit way to help the airline in escaping reality... he very moment K. enters the Castle's environment he is still euphoric and full of high spirits. He may even plan to take over the Castle. Initially the environment does not seem to be of any interest to him. Then he decides it may still be of interest in as far as it may help him to contact the Castle. At last the environment is important to achieve a sleeping place on the barren floor. At the end of the novel the proud and high-spirited customer has turned into a miserable tramp, a hidden hobo and a servant at the maiden's homestead. The more he wants to gather information about the Castle, the more he is being rejected and denied until the goal disappears in the end.


The Turing test is a proposal for a test of a machine's ability to demonstrate intelligence. It proceeds as follows: a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which tries to appear human. All participants are placed in isolated locations. If the judge cannot reliably tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test.



n our novel Kafka's protagonist K. is a Customer. At first he is filled with hope the airline is going to help him, that difficulties are being caused by accidents. The Castle however denies the customer's position and makes clear he should get lost or rather starve to death. No pity is to be given, not even a despicable glance. The governmental organisation despises the guest as well. In the end he may just be tolerated, if he subordinates and behaves well.


he eponym "Kafkaesque" (derived from Franz Kafka) is used to describe concepts, situations, and ideas which are reminiscent of the literary work of Prague writer Franz Kafka, particularly his novels The Trial and The Castle, and the novella The Metamorphosis. The adjective has also been described as "marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity: Kafkaesque bureaucracies". It can also describe an intentional distortion of reality by powerful but anonymous bureaucrats. he adjective refers to anything suggestive of Kafka, especially his nightmarish type of narration, in which characters lack a clear course of action, the ability to see beyond immediate events, and the possibility of escape. The term's meaning has transcended the literary realm to apply to real-life occurrences and situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, or illogical.



s a Heathrow Hassle develops Heathrow Airport mutates to Deathrow as the ultimate Modell for a "Kafkaesque" Castle, in which the unknown proprietor may easily let a guest go to the dogs. In this respect Heathrow might be an optimal film-location for “The Castle”. A film-director is asked to give it a try...


Completed at the third anniversary for my ultimate Heathrow Hassle at the 12th of August 2009.

Francisco Kavvka


30 Appendix I – Learning Curve??
Did Imperial Airways learn anything from their Hassles? No Sir, arrogant people do not learn from experiences. At Friday 23 April 2010 the Guardian 35 publishes a report36 Stranded Britons attack British Airways after hike in seat prices stating: "Stranded customers experiencing extreme difficulties accessing tickets because of reservation phonelines taking three hours to connect and problems with accessing the BA website from airports." Of course we experienced exactly the same thing at the 12th of August 2006. Imperial Airways however simply denied it and said the phones have been operating. They are just lying... I did not receive any response for hours. They just switched off their phones... The BA-employees do not talk to their customers. They just don’t care. They do not respond to eMails for months and refuse to refund for my flight back home. The only way to learn from these kind of experiences is to ignore the airline and select another one...

35: 36:

Robert Booth and Matthew Weaver see the complete article in: Article history titled: Stranded Britons attack British Airways after hike in seat prices, subtitled: BA denies profiteering by selling seats at high premium, saying move is aimed at putting off new customers


31 Appendix II – New Rights??
Did the EU learn anything from theses Hassles? Yes Sir, in 2011 they seem to be learning from experiences. They added some extra rights to the wellknown list.

Fig. 2: “new rights!” Of course however in Heathrow British Airways did not give us any useful information to our cancelled flights, did not rebook our flight. They did not provide us with working 110

telephones or re-booking systems. They did not even allow us to complain and forbade us to send mails threatening us with legal orders. As a stranded passenger you will be cut off from any access to the BA-support system... In Heathrow you will always get what you deserve – Troubles! Right now a new hassle has been started. At Heathrow the British authorities started the largest strike in 85 years to protest against the haircuts in the pension system37. Air Passengers are preparing for 12 hours delays, if they are being informed at all. Of course this is an Act of God, which allows the airline to earn some good money in cancelling flights and sell some first class seats for later flights instead of re-booking their stranded passengers. In fact any Act of God is a god-given gift to an incompetent organisation.


Two million strike in Britain over pension changes. Passengers arriving at London's Heathrow airport, one of the world's busiest air hubs, have been warned to expect delays of up to three hours to have their passports checked as border control officials join the action.


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