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So let me, as I was caught up in it and didn’t fly as a result.
They shunted all the pax to the South terminal and basically kept them there. No information was relayed. There was one guy with the sort of loudhailer you’d buy in a Maplins sale, trying to address a crowd of several thousand people, and failing, because unless you were standing within fifteen feet of him you couldn’t hear him.
The idea of strolling around and repeating messages obviously hadn’t occurred to him. Nor had it occurred to anyone to pass messages on via the PA.
Long story short, by the time they reopened the North Terminal there was a crush of several thousand people for the monorail. Having been forewarned by a kindly gent who’d walked from the North to the South when the evacuated the North, we slipped out the back way and walked.
Checked in (CW, flying to Punta Cana), and were told the flight was boarding. However, it hadn’t occurred to Gatwick to lay on any extra security screeners – only about half the machines were operational – so by the time we got to Gate 53, we’d missed the flight and our holiday.
The crush at the re-booking desk was epic, but luckily I’m BA Gold and so phoned through and was able to re-book our flights for next weekend and BA is going to try and sort out the accommodation.
They were powerless at South because they have no presence there. I did get the impression that EasyJet were handling things well.
However, Gatwick’s handling of the whole thing was utterly appalling. They simply lost it. We’re out of pocket to the tune of £100 – taxi home, lost bus transfer, etc etc – and are less than happy, but that wasn’t BA’s fault. And a big UP to BA’s gold card service – this is when you appreciate it.
Gatwick can suffocate in a steaming pile of their own poo, though.