Travelblather

There’s no way BAA looks after its customers

First findings for the UK Competition Commission into BAA the Airport operator that controls most of the airports in the south of England including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted suggests the company may not be serving customers as well as it could. Anyone who has flown economy class from these three airports will have little difficulty working out where BAA's priorities lie. Vast amounts of retail and restaurant space at the expense of decent seating areas for passengers who just want to wait for flights without spending their holiday money before they even get on the plane. General seating areas are cramped and overcrowded, particularly at peak travel times. This is all the more apparent if you are lucky enough to have lounge access which I did passing through Gatwick a month back. The contrast was so marked. Spacious comfy armchairs with plenty of natural light versus cramped seats all joined together in the middle of the floor with no natural light surrounded on all sides by retail outlets. And what about so called 'Tax Free Prices' that the retail outlets advertise all over the place. Prices are no cheaper than the high street for all but the most unprice-sensitive of shoppers and the food and drink is seriously expensive. The reason? A simple case of supply and demand. Limited floor space means BAA can charge whatever rents if feels like. I've no idea how much it charges, but I bet it's a fortune. The sooner competition is introduced into the airport sector the better. Break up BAA now.

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