Sometimes there are items in the news that are too good to pass up. These three appeared on my radar scope in the last few days.

Problems at Heathrow
In an earlier post I discussed the opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London. This $8 billion terminal took 18 years to build and was supposed to be British Airways’ crown jewel; Queen Elizabeth herself opened the terminal. Instead, it has been a huge embarrassment with the failure of its new high-tech luggage handling system. Thousands of pieces of luggage have been misdirected and British Airways has had to cancel over 300 flights to/from Heathrow in the first week due to the problems. The International Herald Tribune described the situation by saying “BA’s Terminal 5 is proving to be one big hub of chaos.” (read the article)

Misdirected luggage is piling up at Terminal 5. BA puts the total at 20,000 pieces of luggage, while Jim Fitzpatrick, the aviation minister puts the figure at 28,000. BA had to do something to fix it. The Telegram reports that BA will ship the luggage to Italy and other places to be sorted and then reunited with its owners. (read the article)

The luggage problem will eventually be solved and Terminal 5 will be everything BA hoped it would be and not the public relations disaster it has turned out to be. In the meantime, Heathrow, which already has a terrible reputation among travelers, has taken another blow to its limited prestige.

Airline hires temporary fliers
Flybe Airlines in England offers service between Dublin and Norwich. Norwich paid Flybe more than half a million dollars to offer the service, but in exchange, Flybe had to fly at least 15,000 passengers on the route in the first 12 months. (That’s only 290 people a week, not a very high mark to reach!)

Now, as the12-month period draws to an end. Flybe is short of its goal. It tried to negotiate a new deal with Norwich which refused. Flybe’s solution? They hired 172 temps as flyers, paying them $75 each (plus a free bar and in-flight entertainment) to fly to Norwich so they can reach their passenger goal.

Norwich officials call the plan “ludicrous.” (read the article)

Google makes history with new service
Over the years, Google has developed a tradition of announcing new services on April 1. Their new service this year is certainly one of the most incredible. fantastic, amazing, and historic actions in the history of mankind!

Google has joined with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to form Virgle. According to their announcement, “Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be leading hundreds of users on one of the grandest adventures in human history: Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars.”

What an incredible event! Bravo to Larry, Sergey, and Sir Richard!

Visit the site and learn how you can become a Virgle Pioneer!