Strange Departures – Interesting Facts about London’s Airports

134,000,000 passengers arrive at one of London’s five major airports every year. But besides processing travellers and checking luggage, what are some interesting facts about Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, London City and Stansted Airports? Read on to find out more!

Heathrow Airport: The Ghosts that rumble beneath

photo Robin van Mourik from Alkmaar, Netherlands
33 of these fit beneath a deserted station beneath Heathrow Airport

Over 70,000,000 million people touch down and take off from Heathrow airport every year, yet few know what is actually beneath the airport.  Buried beneath Heathrow is a massive underground station, built as recently as 2008 under Terminal 5, but remains unused to date.  Despite this, there is hope that the station will become operation in it was hoped the station would become fully operational between 2020 to 2030. The hope is that as people become less reliable on cars, that the transition to trains will become eminent in the next few years.

Just how big is it? It can fit 33 double decker buses beneath it. Read more here: link

Gatwick Airport: Strange Menu Items

dead pidgeon
I don’t know what I expected…

In August 2010, the UK Border Agency (UKBA)  found a 21 kilogram briefcase abandoned at a carousel.  The bag had no identification on it. Upon opening it, the officials found pidgeons,  some which  had feathers plucked their skin. Officials suspected that the dead birds were bound to put on a menu in a restaurant some where in London. Read more about this incident and others here: link

Luton Airport gets unliked by its Facebook users.

An image from MDW Airport Accident was used.
Luton used an image like this from the Chicago Midway Airport accident.

Luton Airport’s attempt to make light of snow delays backfired when then used a photograph of crashed airplane. The photo was from a crash a Chicago’s midway airport. The crash depicted in the photo killed a 6 year old boy. The caption for the photo was “Because we are such a super airport … this is what we prevent you from when it snows … Weeeee :).”  The image only remained on the Luton Airport page for 75 minutes before outraged Facebook users cried out for its removal. Luton Airport profusely apologised, and banned 2 employees from using their Facebook page. Read more about this incident here: link

London City – The lost and found of bling-bling

money bag
€60,000 in cash was found at LCY Airport

Given London City Airports central location, its a popular place for spotting celebrities and the upper crust of British society. COO of London City Airport, Darren Grover, COO claims: “Because LCY is so close to central London it is popular with business travellers and celebrities, so we see more than our fair share of valuable items left in Departures. However, it is also a hotspot to find rather unusual item and expensive items in the lost and found. Here are some some of the things lost at Luton City Airport (LCY):

  • €60,000 cash
  • Bag of diamonds
  • Signed blank chequebook
  • Adult toys
  • Artificial skull
  • Glass eye
  • False teeth
  • Wigs
  • Designer watches worth £10,000+
  • Adult magazines

Read more here: link

Stansted Airport – Don’t get stuck here

We could have talked about the 10 eyeballs confiscated here in 2007, or UFO sighting hotspot, or  but instead it we’ll go with the dubious honor of Stansted Airport- The worst airport to get stuck in.  32,000 members of the MissTravel dating website agreed you do not want to get delayed here when on holiday. But don’t just take MissTravel’s advice, Airport revew site SkyTrax gives them 2/10 from over 600 reviews and  TrustPilot gives them 2 out 5 stars from over 2000 reviews. Earlier this year, an Irish woman, frustrated by long queues and badgering security, started stripping her clothes at the airport. She was promptly arrested but not after security broke her thumb.

stansted airport is bad
one of many unfavourable reviews of London’s Stansted Airport