Lies and misinformation from Heathrow
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 20:15

How accurate are airport information systems and websites and should you believe what they say?

Modern flight information systems are accurate, very accurate, and what's more they are available on the internet free of charge. Why can't Heathrow show passengers the true state of flights, instead of misleading them?

Here is an example . . .

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Flight EI725 from London Heathrow to Cork, scheduled departure time is 22:15 with scheduled arrival at 23:25

At 2115 Heathrow was telling passengers via their airport displays that all was well, the Aer Lingus EI725 to Cork will depart on time. They were also telling the world the same story via their website. Here is what the world was seeing . . .

london heathrow

Meanwhile, over in Cork, anyone waiting for the flight is being told the same story, or perhaps we should say 'fairy story' with the expected time being shown as the scheduled time . . .

cork airport

Meanwhile, a little searching around on the internet reveals that over an hour ago a delay of 26 minutes was posted for this flight, as shown by . . .

flightstats shows the posted delay

The obvious question is, 'Why doesn't Heathrow tell the truth?' If the passengers can get better information off the internet then there is something seriously wrong with Heathrow's information systems. There is also something suspect about the management for allowing this to happen.

So what was the ACTUAL state of affairs? Did the flight depart and arrive when Heathrow said, or when Cork airport said, or was right all the time?

Here's the true answer . . .

At 2136, after the time that the gate should have been posted at Heathrow, an announcement was made that the flight would be delayed. Heathrow knew that over an hour before, but kept that information from passengers AND anyone waiting for the flight.

Heathrow did not update their web information, but Cork airport were really fast off the mark as shown here.

Cork update airort information

One immediately asks why a small provincial airport can update details while Heathrow can't.

At 2254, was saying that the flight was en route

flight stats at 2254

Heathrow was still telling the world that the gate had closed, while Cork was still sticking to its 2345 arrival time.

The true state of the flight is shown by this table . . .

ei725 actual flight details

This table clearly shows that the airline, Aer Lingus, knew about the delay to this flight over 3 hours before the scheduled departure time, Heathrow airport should have known, because the airline is constantly updating a worldwide database as changes occur. BAA and Heathrow take a more relaxed attitude or couldn't care less attitude depending on your point of view. As the BAA disclaimer says . . .

'BAA Airports Limited does not verify the accuracy or completeness of this flight information and disclaims any implied warranties with regard to it.'

Passengers and people who are going to airports to collect them deserve better. BAA could do better, but as their disclaimer shows, they don't really care about service. Aer Lingus is no better. The great looser is the travelling public, but what's new about that?

By the way, the flight eventually arrived, the details from are shown below.

EI725 arrival

and the full details of the flight schedule are below, read it carefully and you can see who knew what and when, it's a damning indictment of BAA Limited.

EI725 LHR to ORK actual details

Conclusions on Heathrow flight information

Slow and inaccurate. If you really want to know what is happening to a flight don't waste your time visiting the Heathrow website, use a 'proper' service like flightstats and you'll be better-informed than Heathrow. Some people might find these results and conclusions surprising, but if you are a regular traveller you will already know that Heathrow is a bad airport.

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