Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other Destination advice BHX Birmingham airport hell; move over, Manchester!

  • NorthernLass 8,531 posts

    @Ladyshopper, check that your special assistance person knows what they’re doing, unlike the one at Bristol recently who put a couple on a flight to Lithuania instead of Barcelona!

    Ladyshopper 123 posts

    @Ladyshopper, check that your special assistance person knows what they’re doing, unlike the one at Bristol recently who put a couple on a flight to Lithuania instead of Barcelona!

    I don’t even understand how that happens! Every airport I go to, special assistance always check your boarding card. Once when you go to the special assistance area (or if they’re called to you by the check in desk), and then when they pick you up to take you to the plane.

    ChrisBCN 292 posts

    From the BHX chief exec –

    “the escalators were removed for health and safety reasons”

    “More space [will be] released in three days’ time which will give us more queueing space” – I can’t wait.

    “It is much nicer to to queue outside” – yes, of course it is, we all bring umbrellas and rain coats to the airport.

    “passengers now have to stick to 100ml, and there is no end in sight for the temporary measure” – we can probably blame this on the government.

    https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-airport-confirms-fate-escalators-29356947

    NorthernLass 8,531 posts

    How much does this chief exec get paid for coming up with these helpful observations?!

    Peter K 619 posts

    I heard him on Radio 4 this week. He was basically blaming *all* the delays on the temporary 100ml liquid cap.

    Paraphrasing: They are a victim of their own success in getting the new scanners in place on time and, as they can’t scan as fast as they had planned because of the temporary cap, it’s that which is causing all the delays.

    The fact the cap only came in a week ago and the queues were there before then sadly was not challenged by the interviewer. Or maybe they just let the complete guff that was clearly coming from his mouth hang in the air…

    TGLoyalty 807 posts

    They never lifted the 100ml cap at BHX they were meant to on 1st June but didn’t then the DFT made their announcement.

    All the reports say if your flight is after 8am it’s pretty smooth sailing as I said before the real capacity limiting pinch point is at the scanners themselves


    @ChrisBCN
    here you are again talking about escalators when the lack of escalators don’t matter when there are huge queues at the speed gates then in the tensa barrier maze approaching the scanners and at the scanners themselves.

    Agree queuing outdoors in the rain is an awful experience so hopefully they are opening up the space around the speed gates to the security hall upstairs. As this was where you would previously queue but was restricted to a really tight corridor when I was last there.

    ChrisBCN 292 posts

    @ChrisBCN here you are again talking about escalators when the lack of escalators don’t matter

    No, it was the *chief exec* that was talking about the escalators

    AFKAE 150 posts

    All the reports say if your flight is after 8am it’s pretty smooth sailing as I said before the real capacity limiting pinch point is at the scanners themselves



    @ChrisBCN
    here you are again talking about escalators when the lack of escalators don’t matter when there are huge queues at the speed gates then in the tensa barrier maze approaching the scanners and at the scanners themselves.

    .

    I agree that after mid morning things are probably fine. I’m not convinced the pinch point is the scanners. When I went through on Thursday morning there were at least 5 lanes running and things were moving well.

    I’m convinced all the hassle is downstairs, as soon as you are in the lift and upstairs you’re probably ok. Busy but not horrendous.

    Ant M 82 posts

    From the BHX chief exec –

    “the escalators were removed for health and safety reasons”

    “More space [will be] released in three days’ time which will give us more queueing space” – I can’t wait.

    “It is much nicer to to queue outside” – yes, of course it is, we all bring umbrellas and rain coats to the airport.

    “passengers now have to stick to 100ml, and there is no end in sight for the temporary measure” – we can probably blame this on the government.

    https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-airport-confirms-fate-escalators-29356947

    He does seem to be talking complete bo***cks when he claims escalators are a health and safety risk since plenty of other airports and countless other places seem to do just fine with escalators in environments where there are lots of people and luggage. Sounds like he’s just trying to make excuses for why they decided to get rid of them – which was probably so they can use the space for something else.

    I do have to say though, looking at pictures I’ve seen of the queues, it does seem quite tame compared to the chaos that was Schipol airport in 2022

    Andrew. 514 posts

    If I were a journalist at Retch, I’d be contacting the Health & Safety executive to clarify if the escalators (or a staircase) at Birmingham Airport were indeed as dangerous as the airport are claiming.

    Froggee 1,001 posts

    How much does this chief exec get paid for coming up with these helpful observations?!

    The highest paid director (probably him but no guarantees) got aggregate employments of £699,000 last year.

    So less than the average Headforpoints’ reader.

    But then I guess the average Headforpoints’ reader isn’t employed in Brum.

    TGLoyalty 807 posts

    He would have meant right now because there was and probably is still no space upstairs (I assume until 3 days time) so they are crowd controlling downstairs instead. They can send up 200 people a min that’s more than 10 lanes can process in a min but there’s no way 200 a min could make it through the narrow corridor and speed gates as they were atleast a few weeks back.

    If there was were uncontrolled escalators you would risk over crowding and a crush but I’d still say it’s all being handled very badly as there’s way to manage timely flow .. especially when you know your throughput at the scanners and every customer had a way of telling you when their flight is.

    Then rightly says when it’s all finished and operational the max flow of the lifts is more than enough … I’m sure they have enough analytics on their own passenger numbers on average, low flow and peak days.

    HampshireHog 182 posts

    Much more pleasant to queue outside I ask you. Perhaps HFP could arrange a competition to guess how long this buffoon will remain in his job?

    TGLoyalty 807 posts

    Would rather queue outside BHX or Heathrow than inside on a hot day … during May they were queuing inside. Most pics of queues are in pretty decent weather.

    I’ve had worse queues at CDG and as above AMS and plenty of queues at Heathrow that exceeded pretty large internal tensa barriers and out the door on very busy days last year and the year before.

    ChrisBCN 292 posts

    @TGLoyalty, it’s really hard not to think of you working for BHX at this point….

    HampshireHog 182 posts

    @TGLoyalty, it’s really hard not to think of you working for BHX at this point….

    Perhaps @TGLoyalty is the CEO in question?

    TGLoyalty 807 posts

    Yup been posting here for 10 years for this very moment to save my job as CEO of BHX.

    I’m simply looking at all sides not just 1 and I can obviously observe what I’ve noticed using a local airport for many years including this one.

    ChrisBCN 292 posts

    Here’s the latest ‘Bartonisms’ from CEO of BHX Nick Barton.

    “These new measures are designed to give passengers a smoother and easier experience though security,” – he is referring to the new enlarged temporary structure outside the main building, which of course makes for a much smoother experience than a properly organised terminal…

    He is also referring to the new “third-party customer service specialists” – it’s always good to have a third party who aren’t invested in the airport to blame when the issues continue

    These new workers will apparently “explain cabin baggage liquid rules to passengers” – that’s great, do you have anybody that I can explain management of passenger flows to?

    You do wonder how they coped without these people in previous years, especially as they admit the vast majority of passengers are complying with the 100ml rules, just like in previous years.

    Lots of ‘look at what we are doing to take action’ things here, but nothing to solve the actual problems which all stem from poor design & planning, and clearly extremely poor or non existent contingency planning.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c800n8q2ky8o

    AFKAE 150 posts

    What should be worrying Barton is the fact that he’s got a permanent problem. The other day he was wittering about more space being freed up upstairs……won’t change a thing. The stuff mentioned by @ChrisBCN is also the same. The problem is getting people from check in on the ground floor to security on the 1st floor, until they can fix that they are stuffed. I hope somebody is working hard on an escalator contingency plan!

    Super Secret Stuff 373 posts

    Manchester is still bad (I know by my experience today), however I must concede it’s not as bad as a year ago!

    TGLoyalty 807 posts

    “The problem is getting people from check in on the ground floor to security on the 1st floor”


    @AFKAE
    No it isn’t … they can get 200 people up/down the lifts quicker than they can get that many through security.

    As the person on the bbc article states the problem is absolutely poor queue management towards a restricted access security hall and poor throughout past the scanners which absolutely rests with him and his team.

    They should have already made the decision that you can’t join the queue until T-2hrs and then they need to work on getting people through security asap, if that’s liquid checks in the queue or more people manning scanners that’s for them to decide … but its probably both.

    BOSSMANTRAVELS 24 posts

    Although having no escalators is ridiculous the issue is throughput at security. A month back I had fast track and I was 10 yards away from the scanners and witnessed an absolute mess, from having 20 people ahead of me it took me 25 minutes to get through the final security channel. The people operating the scanner had a shift change but the new guy instead of concentrating on scanning kept stopping, standing up and moving trays! This is all down to queue management and procedures. Why would they change when they are making so much money from fast track, management don’t really care about bad press if they have a captive market and making money!

    AFKAE 150 posts

    Although having no escalators is ridiculous the issue is throughput at security. A month back I had fast track and I was 10 yards away from the scanners and witnessed an absolute mess, from having 20 people ahead of me it took me 25 minutes to get through the final security channel. The people operating the scanner had a shift change but the new guy instead of concentrating on scanning kept stopping, standing up and moving trays! This is all down to queue management and procedures. Why would they change when they are making so much money from fast track, management don’t really care about bad press if they have a captive market and making money!

    Completely different experience for me last week. From security queue entrance to exit 15 minutes at pretty well peak time. I would be surprised if fast track revenue is significant to move the needle in an airport operation.

    All the queuing on BBC etc is in the plastic tunnels downstairs.

    AFKAE 150 posts

    “The problem is getting people from check in on the ground floor to security on the 1st floor”



    @AFKAE
    No it isn’t … they can get 200 people up/down the lifts quicker than they can get that many through security.

    From my observation last week scanning queues were not the problem.

    TGLoyalty 807 posts

    @AFKAE the queues downstairs ARE intentional … they aren’t letting people freely upstairs but holding people back to allow space to open up

    Here’s a very detailed Twitter thread https://x.com/nickhorner/status/1803686855348486594?s=46

    Shows exactly what I’ve been saying … the poster walked past long queues upstairs to get to the back of the queue outside.

    Took 30 mins to get back upstairs, which didn’t include any pre screening they want to set up.

    Then 45 mins to get through security once he was upstairs, they are getting people up 33% faster than they can get them through security.

    Which was better than last week as 6 ilo 5 of the 7 machines were in operation. What you’ll find is when the space opens up stairs there will be no queues at the lifts but plenty to the scanners.

    If they really want to speed things up they need to have a pre fight cut off time for entry as far too many people are turning up way before they need to and it’s causing extra congestion in already peak security hours.

    https://www.ttgmedia.com/news/birmingham-airport-boss-says-queuing-issues-will-be-fixed-for-summer-peak-46991

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.