London, April 13, 2008 – A survey by TripAdvisor ® of more than 1,220 travellers worldwide about the recent chaos at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 suggests that the damage it has done to reputations might not be as bad as feared. Dire predictions about how global reporting on the airport anarchy will harm UK plc, British tourism and British Airways (BA) appear to be premature.
Asked about how the problems might affect their plans, 52 percent of travellers said the problems would have no impact on whether or not they use Heathrow airport or Terminal 5 (T5) in the future. Twenty percent however said that they are now less likely to use Heathrow and 14 percent said that they would still use Heathrow but avoid T5.
Thirty percent of TripAdvisor respondents said that they thought it was teething problems and that the airport would soon be operating normally. Eighteen percent said it was just another Heathrow horror and 15 percent of travellers suggested it was a national disgrace.
Travellers seemed to be split about how Heathrow’s reputation had fared. Fifty-one percent of travellers said that the T5 problems had no impact on their opinion about the airport whilst the rest said that it either confirmed its reputation as one of the worst airports (23 percent) or that their opinion about Heathrow had gotten worse (26 percent).
Meanwhile, it does not seem that BA’s reputation is being hung out to dry in the minds of travellers. Only 13 percent said that they thought BA was to blame for the debacle. Thirty-eight percent blamed British Airport Authority and 19 percent said that T5’s designers were to blame. Fifty-three percent said the issue had not affected their perception of BA and 28 percent said that while perceptions were tarnished they would still fly with the airline.
It certainly appears that there is no terminal damage to British tourism, with an overwhelming 75 percent saying that the T5 problems will have no impact on their thoughts about visiting the UK. Only four percent of respondents thought there was any long lasting damage to the UK’s reputation and 45 percent said “no, it’s only an airport terminal