This only applies in Europe, because I can’t imagine how this would have played out in the US. Then again, airports tend to be less automated in the US, so I doubt this happens as frequently.
Two weeks ago, I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 2 from a European city that will go unnamed. I never get recognized, but coincidentally the pilot, purser, and ground crew on this flight had seen my videos. After the flight, I stayed and chatted with the pilot before heading toward passport control. No other passengers were in sight at this point, but I didn’t figure it would be a problem.
Well, a minute later I got to the room between the jetway and the hallway to passport control. The only problem? The door was locked. I motioned to activate the motion sensor. I pushed and pulled. Nothing.
I ran back to the jetway. That door was locked too. One thing was clear: I knew I wasn’t going to wait around for someone to find me. I picked up the black emergency phone, dialed the number for emergency services, and reached an agent immediately.
“Heathrow Police and Fire Department, how can I help?”
“Hi, I’m stuck in the area between the jetway and the arrivals area and can’t seem to get out.”
Apparently, the emergency phone was registered at the wrong gate, so it took them 15 minutes to figure out where I was. Lucky it wasn’t an actual emergency! However, the man was incredibly competent but honestly didn’t sound surprised when he heard what had happened. He stayed with me on the phone the entire time until a woman came to collect me.
At this point it had been 30-minutes and the return flight had started boarding through the same area, so dozens of bewildered passengers walked past me on their way to the aircraft. I was ordered not to go through their terminal door since I’d be in departures.
The more I think about this incident, the more surprised I am. No one is to blame for this situation, but you’d think there would be a protocol in place for this considering the security concerns. Lord knows what I could have got up to in there alone for 30 minutes… given that the doors are automatic at Heathrow, as opposed to the US where I always seem to see a person guiding passengers, this can’t be an unusual occurrence.
Interested in seeing the event transpire? My latest video has some funny footage:
What is your weirdest airport experience?