Heathrow airport on high security alert. Offputting?

It’s been widely reported in the UK that Heathrow airport is now in a state of high security alert, with 450 army (+ light tanks) and 1000 extra police on site (especially the perimeter) - the largest security presence the airport has ever seen. Government sources say they have very credible intelligence that it is a target, and refused to confirm or deny that they thought mobile rocket launchers might be involved.

They are expected to stay for some weeks, although some sources have said that the end of the Haj on Saturday could be significant.

So, would this affect your travel plans?

I am supposed to fly into Heathrow in a few weeks, and yeah, this is daunting news, but, sad to say, it is not something I and many others haven’t faced before.

I remember flying into Heathrow in the mid-70’s during a particularly bad stretch of the Troubles. Security was high, I was thoroughly frisked, etc etc, and my first night in London, a bomb went off.

Am not about to cancel my plans, but I certainly hope these guys stay on top of the situation.

Last night i was waiting for a bus home. Two tanks went past on patrol.

I thought:

“bugger me. thats not something i ever expected to see.”

To me (as a Londonner) it’s not scary - we’ve had the threat of bombs (from the IRA etc.) for years. Its just unusual to see the army out.

The Army on the streets of London just days before the anti-war march? Coincidence? I think not…

/adjusts tinfoil hat

My first reaction was to think this was the most overt, callous, manipulative political exercise since Thatcher’s reign. I suppose we should expect it in the week leading up to probably the biggest demo London’s ever seen but nonetheless … the manipulation in particular gets in my craw …

But I guess it’s the highest stakes Blair’s ever likely to play for so perhaps we should expect it.

Tanks …for goodness sake …they’ll be digging trenches next …

Change my travel plans? Well I’m already in Heathrow and will be in the area for the rest of this week. [sub]Mildly[/sub] concerned but nothing OTT. Hope I can get home Friday.

I have a Irish accent and people tell me I look vaguely Arab due to having a full beard and darkish skin. Should be fun going through the airport.

can i be there when you try??


This is kinda worrying. :eek:

I just get so tired of this “ Oh it’s serious, take it from us” shit.

Since when did this kind of deployment work on any level against terrorism – were there deployments like this around the time the IRA were active. Nah, it’s not the way you approach terrorism. Never has been.
If anything, this is even stupider – these terrorists don’t even care if they’re caught or killed. What difference does a tank make when the guy’s just going to pull out a launcher, aim, take the consequences and thank Allah ?
It’s just a great photo opportunity.

Well it might make a difference if the tank can blow the car up before said terrorist get the rocket launcher out of it :wink:

All these photo ops. and I forgot my camera :frowning:

Ha - you clearly haven’t seen the road outside my office.

They say it’s for utilities, but …

Hey, O’Sama, I don’t recommending walking around Heathrow with a big beard taking photos of tanks.

I do not mean to say that, of course, that your beard would be taking pictures of tanks, I mean your hypothetical camera.

And I “don’t recommend…”, not “don’t recommending…”

i got suspicious when they started issuing us fire-marshals with machine guns.

Yeah, I second the suggestion to the Irish-Arab bloke with the big briefcase … someone take him home, fer crissake ! :smiley:
<Evening Standard voice>

… and what really appals me is that terrorists are exempt from the Congestion Charge ! … can you beliiiiiiive it !

</Evening Standard voice>

Frankly, the tubes (subways, here in NY) and train and car tunnels are at much higher risk than airports—what’s being done to protect them? For that matter, what could be done? Not a helluva lot . . .

They’re not tanks.

The UK Govt says it has received intelligence about a real threat - almost certainly something along the lines of a surface-to-air missile attack on a plane taking off. What do you want the Govt to do? Ignore that?

Yes, it’s partly a PR exercise. It’s aimed at terrorists who want to kill innocent people. Let’s hope it works.

I think if I had been planning to fly anywhere yesterday, I would have cancelled my plans, no matter what the financial cost.

Sure, I would have been wrong - nothing actually happened yesterday, but I would have done it all the same.

<daily mail>

We spoke to Mus. A 22 year old Terrorist living in South West London.

“I’m a terrorist and obviously i need to be in Central London. I live in Hounslow, which is outside the zone but i travel into the centre of London regularly. I want to know what Red Ken is going to do to help me. I tried using the tube instead - but it severely limits my hours of operation. I’m not allowed to take a rocket launcher on the tube at peak times. This is seriously going to affect my business and is just another example of Blair’s broken promises. Oh yeah - and i’m sure that asylum seekers are to blame somehow too.”

</daily mail>

My wife and I fly first thing Sunday morning. I guess I’m not too worried. I tend to be a bit fatalistic - if your number’s up, it’s up. I think Mrs Xerxes will be worried at takeoff, but be fine after that. We shall see.