Dear Editor, Birmingham Airport has dropped the International from its title – hardly surprising, given that for some time it’s also been removing international from the list of destinations you can travel to.
You don’t need to cast your mind back too far to remember when you could fly to anywhere from Birmingham.
There was no need to consider Heathrow, unless you wanted a cheap long-haul flight, and why use Manchester when Brum was on your doorstep?
Coventry and East Midlands were on the radar because of their convenience, so choosing which airport in the region to fly from was simply a matter of weighing up schedules to find the departure time that suited best.
I am dismayed that every time I’ve travelled from Birmingham over the last couple of years, it’s simply added more fuel to the pyre for me. Not once has my experience run smoothly, each time with queues and delays of over an hour to progress through security and into the departure lounge.
Nobody is doubting the need for stringent security checks, but other airports manage to make the process far less painful. It’s the same story when returning – almost as if each planeload of passengers arriving takes them by surprise.
One day this summer, I resigned myself to brave the ordeal of Birmingham Airport and fly to Edinburgh.
Now domestic flights should be a doddle, and on the way there it was – check-in simple, queues for security were acceptable and the flight departed on time. Bravo, I thought, they’ve gone back to getting it right.
Unfortunately, my joy was short-lived. My return flight arrived back in Birmingham a few minutes ahead of schedule, but was then inexplicably held on the tarmac for almost half an hour. No excuses, no apologies. We just sat and waited until the bus came to transport us the few yards into the terminal building.
Perhaps it’s just me being a cantankerous old cynic bit I just feel that the things that the airport is getting wrong could be so easily set right.
Reading Mr Kehoe’s interview (New flight plan fro airport boss, Birmingham Post, November 4), I identified with his description of the ‘‘discretionary weekend traveller’’.
It’s great to get on a plane on a Friday lunchtime and jet off abroad. But believe me Mr Kehoe, it’s not because of the volcanic ash that I’m not able to do that, it’s because carriers from your airport do not fly to places that I want to go to – and those that do are at such inconvenient times it is easier to fly from elsewhere.
Not so long ago at least two airlines flew from Birmingham to Barcelona, offering plenty of choice on departure times. Now there are none. One airline flies to Reus, claiming it to be near Barcelona. The drive takes an hour in a fast car.
As for the runway extension – brilliant that the opportunity is there for expansion, but haven’t they coped admirably with the largest passenger plane in the world? Landed Popes, presidents and pop stars? What do they need a bigger runway for?
I read that the airport is running at nine million people under capacity. Yet it’s not consistently coping with the passengers it already has.
Please, Birmingham Airport, get your act back together. Treat us to a schedule of places we really want to go and whisk us through with minimal fuss and delay, just like you used to.