Terminal rudeness at T5 as Phil goes down with trolley fever

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.


It’s early morning at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and it’s a pleasure to step out of the confines of my nine-hour flight from Delhi into the modern spaciousness of London’s flagship terminal.

I find a trolley easily and head down towards my well-signed baggage belt. It’s a relief to put my bulging, overloaded briefcase on it.

The trouble is the trolley won’t run properly. I notice the left front wheel keeps sticking and simply turning around and around. It’s still usable – just – but as I see a Heathrow worker pushing a long line of trolleys towards me, I decide to swap.

As I take one of the trolleys that he pushes into the existing row, he stares at me.

“What’s wrong with that one?”

“It doesn’t work. The front wheel keeps sticking.”

He grabs the offending trolley and tests it for all of two seconds.

“Nothing wrong with it.”

“Yeah, the front wheel, the left one, isn’t working.”

“Ever been to a supermarket mate? Ever done any shopping?”

“Ah… yes, I have.”

“Right, well there’s nothing wrong with this one then.” He rams it – and I mean really rams it – back into the line of trolleys.

It’s early in the morning and I’m tired and just want to get home. But I’m not going to leave it at that.

“Sorry, are you trying to tell me something?”

trolley images

He comes right up to me. And I mean right up to me. For a moment I think he is going to head butt me. “Yeah, nothing wrong with the trolley. And you’re complaining about it.”

“I didn’t complain – you approached me.”

“Well there’s nothing wrong with it.”

“Look… it doesn’t work for me. You don’t have to be rude.”

“I’m not being rude. You complained.”

Clearly I’m not going to win this one. This man is a living time bomb.

“What’s your name please?” I ask.

“Phil,” he replies curtly, his identity badge turned around so no-one can read it.

“Phil who?” I ask. “I’m entitled to know – as you’re aware.”

He flips his badge around at lightning speed and turns it back again even faster. “Phil – that’s my name.”

He stalks off and starts laughing about the incident to his colleague. “You’re a great ambassador for the UK Phil,” I say in a weak and unsatisfying parting shot.

The Phils of the world – and fortunately there are few of them at Terminal 5 – do incalculable damage to the reputation of the airport and to the country.

trolley images

So next time you arrive at Heathrow T5 in the early hours, watch out for a man with scraggly silver hair and goatee called Phil. He’s clearly off his trolley – and your luggage is likely to fall off yours.

And if you see a little old lady struggling to steer her luggage in the right direction, you’ll know why. It’s courtesy of Phil.

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  • yup..EVERY time I go through Belfast International we have one border control person who is the worst example of NI hospitality….generally to folk with young kids just off a late night flight from Paris.

    I am aware Border control doesn’t HAVE to have manners but this one female exceeds and never disappoints to act like a bully to everyone she meets. It’s now become my main preoccupation disembarking to watch her (I must be very sad but she excels in her sport of people baiting)

    Pity, the rest of the staff at that airport are exceptional..unlike City who are permanently grumpy..(exception again.BMI staff!)

    It only takes one to undermine what International does best… as first/last ambassadors for NI they are generally pretty brilliant.

    So I’ll be on the look out for Phil, find that trolley and accidentally show him how bad the steering is with a generous display of woman driving!