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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Overcrowded and potentially lethal. Transfer bus between terminal and aircraft.

Facilities at Southampton airport leave much to be desired

We rarely travel by air when we go to Jersey, but at this time of year and with a restricted timetable on Condor Ferries, we settled for the flying option when a window of opportunity suddenly arose to allow us to get away for a few days.Flying, airport terminals and the associated mini trauma of transfers is not a new experience for either of us, but we were not rally prepared for the atrocious conditions on the transport between terminal building and aircraft. Passing through gate 6 we were ushered onto an already packed single deck "bus" full of passengers with their associated hand luggage (some of which looked big enough to  be in the cargo hold anyway) the few seat already taken and many standing passengers. We fully expected the bus to move off to the waiting aircraft and were surprised when even more passengers and their luggage came through the gate and were  squeezed into space which was not really there. The driver, a quite excitable little chap, could do nothing but rush between the two doors screeching at people to move down into the bus to make room for passengers wanting to get on, to which the response from a number of people already packed in was "Get another bloody bus!" or words to that effect.This process and responses continued for some time, until the doors were finally closed and the bus moved off bound for the aircraft.
Now, I freely admit that the distance between terminal building and aircraft is  quite short However, when the bus finally moved it was quite clearly over crowded with around 85 passengers and baggage on board. (The aircraft was  full on take off). It is clearly contrary to Health and Safety regulations to have that many people, mostly standing without straps or other means of support, in such a confined space not matter how far they have to travel. I was (and remain) so infuriated with those responsible for the movement of passengers to and from the Terminal building at Southampton, I was moved to post the following messages on Facebook. So far, only Flybe have responded with a "We will pass your comments on". Remember our experience if you should ever need to use Southampton Airport.

I posted this on Flybe and Southampton airport pages.
Good morning Flybe. We flew from Southampton yesterday on your 14:20 flight to Jersey.The aircraft was as would be expected for a short haul flight of 40 odd minutes, but the airport facilities were at best, awful.You should exercise what ever influence you might have to improve the terminal facilities, but above all else with the transport of passengers between terminal building and aircraft. I do not expect to be packed in like a sardine on the Piccadilly line underground with a particularly unhelpful driver screeching at passengers to move down and make room for even more people to be crammed in. The bus eventually left with around 40 standing passengers crammed in, some with nothing to hold onto,excessively overcrowded and clearly in breech of every health and safety law you could imagine. I shall post this on your page and Southampton airport page if I can find one and post a more detailed account on my blog.