Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Terminal 5 is ALIVE!

BA have launched their "Terminal 5 is Working" ad campaign.

When I heard that they would show live stats on the performance at Terminal 5 I thought that was a very clever idea! I imagined seeing live footage of Terminal 5 during ad breaks or on the displays on the underground boards so that people would get to see for themselves how Terminal 5 is working at that moment in time.

Unfortunately, the campaign doesn't quite do that. Instead they pick a pretty picture from the previous day where there are no people queuing at that particular time and gives some stat that "proves" that the Terminal 5 experience will be a pleasant one. The stats seem to be over the 6am to 2pm period for that day (freeing up the evening to actually create the advert for the next day). It would have been nice to have the updated stats every hour or so and have the running average of the week showing, but I can understand the administrative nightmare that could have potentially caused. Although we live in a high-tech world, we all know that it is impossible to have something running perfectly 24/7. Indeed no-one will know this more than BA!

BA have got a lot of work to do to convince people that Terminal 5 is not a building full of luggage that never made it to their intended destinations and this isn't a bad way of trying to do so. Out of my own curiosity it would have been good to be able to see the breakdown of the stats or show live footage of the airport, but I suppose that info must be available somewhere if I was really that worried about it. I tend to fly during mornings, so if I decide to fly out of T5 I am a little more confident that everything will be smooth sailing (odd saying for an airport...sorry!). I haven't yet flown out of T5 but have visited it once to meet my girlfriend who has flown in and out of it once or twice and must admit that it was as empty as the photos suggest. My girlfriend certainly didn't have any complaints about the service.

On a side note, a pet peeve of mine is advertising slogans that do not suggest anything special. "Terminal 5 is Working"! Isn't that just what it's meant to be doing?

However, I guess this is what BA want to reinforce! The media loves to criticize. When the opening of T5 was followed by the enormous issues it faced, the media was all over it, and yet now that everything is running smoothly we don't hear about it. That will leave millions of people left with the impression that Terminal 5 is still a disaster zone and all their baggage will be sent to Milan for sorting. Something as simple as letting us know that T5 is "working" may actually be better in the long run rather than trying to persuade people to us their airline with something like:


  • "Terminal 5 is BAck in action"

  • "5 Alive" (hmm..copyright infringement maybe)

  • "Please fly with us. Please."

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