This week: More London rivalry and Hawaiian welcome gone wrong

This is going to be fun, as we have another one of our rivalry reports between Heathrow and Gatwick. And this week it’s all about the luggage which went right for one and oh so wrong for the other; more about that in a few paragraphs.

First up we have some heavy rain for you. No, not the computer game, but the wet stuff that continuously fell over Hawaii this week. Sure, heavy rain can cancel or delay flights, but when airport security kicks you out of the dry shelter of an airport when your flight was delayed doesn’t seem like such a brilliant idea. This is exactly what happened on Tuesday, when about 20 passengers were stuck at Lihue airport (IATA: LIH). The Washington Post wrote that the small airport normally closes overnight and the guard told the passengers — including a pregnant woman and a disabled man — that they needed to leave immediately. The Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaiian Airlines have since apologized to all passengers.

Water had been a massive issue for Bangkok’s number 2 airport, Don Mueang (IATA: DMK) late last year when the airport had to be closed due to flooding (we wrote about it). We’re happy to report that the airport has now reopened. The Australian reported that Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan had said during a visit to Don Mueang on Monday that almost 1.6 billion baht ($52 million) had been spent to make the airport operational again.

Let’s now move our attention to the fascinating battle between Heathrow and Gatwick Airport, the two largest UK airports. As we wrote in our lead-in, both made headlines with luggage this week bot not both headlines were positive. So, which one do you want first? Good or bad? You got it, let’s start with the bad one: A power cut at Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW) had disrupted luggage carousels, causing some flights to leave without passengers’ bags, reported the BBC on Saturday. Charter flights to some destinations were held back to allow bags to be loaded. Twelve flights were delayed for two hours, and one for three hours, the article concluded.

That leaves us with the good news, which – if you are paying attention – now has to come from Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR). The BBC reported this week that the airport had been tested with thousands of extra bags in a simulation designed to assess its readiness for the London 2012 Olympic Games. According to the article operator BAA sent 3,000 pieces of luggage through handling at Terminal 5 in two hours on Thursday morning. Why is this good news? Well, knowing what did happen to luggage when Terminal 5 first opened, a thorough test will surely point to any potential shortcomings. So we hope, at least!

That’s all we have – safe travels everyone!

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by maistora]