The opening of Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow airport has been an unmitigated PR disaster for British Airways and BAA, the airport operator.
Four days of chaos have followed the first flights into T5. Critics have been swift to declare the scenes a national humiliation.
It's easy to agree. How could an opening planned for 15 years have gone so badly?
It's equally easy to link the T5 fiasco with the shambles that was the Millennium Dome, and the embarrassment of the opening - and immediate closure - of the wobbly Millennium bridge footbridge over the Thames.
Yet Britain and transport have long had a frightful, and frightening, relationship. Just this week, half of London was brought to a standstill because of 'late running engineering work' and signal failures on the Underground. Any sensible country would notice the monotonous regularity of such failures and do something to ensure no repeat. But this is Britain. Oh, and if you think that's bad enough, the dinosaur rail unions are planning to bring the city to a halt under totally spurious claims of safety concerns.
We suspected the opening of Terminal 5 might not be a glorious new dawn months ago. A friend of ours who is a senior member of BA cabin crew said chaos was inevitable. "They're installing the same baggage handling system in T5 that has caused chaos everywhere else. It's a recipe for disaster." Needless to say, BA boss Willie Walsh took no notice...