All shirts bright and beautiful ~ what not to wear at Heathrow

June 3, 2008 at 1:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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All shirts bright and beautiful
All protests great and small
All folk wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all.

Fresh back from T5 myself, wearing my tiny black-on-white


badge/button on my jeans pocket as I passed through the terminal building, I am glad to say I was not apprehended.  Perhaps it was my trusty old ‘John Kerry for President‘ grey t-shirt in eye-catching royal-blue-on-yellow splash lettering with navy collar and cuff trim that distracted officers  😉

I have to wonder what has happened to Britain when I read this story from The Edge of Madness about the “offensive” French Connection Transformers t-shirt that had to be removed before its owner was allowed to board a British Airways flight from T5:

No t-shirt, no flight

Inappropriate dress for travel via Heathrow T5

followed by this letter to The Guardian, published 3 June 2008:

On Saturday we unwittingly found ourselves allies of Plane Stupid’s encouragement to direct action against airport expansion (‘Life in prison? Bring it on‘, May 31). We were five pensioners from Slough, changing buses at Heathrow bus station on our way to the rally against the third runway. Three of us were wearing T-shirts saying “Stop Airport Expansion”, but the police stop and search rules say that dress cannot be used as a reason to stop members of the public.

Nevertheless, police officers did stop us. The Heathrow bylaws, we were informed, permit access to the bus station only to air passengers or those meeting them. Oddly, only the members of our party wearing the T-shirts appeared to be in breach of these bylaws. We were questioned, our details were recorded and we were forbidden access to the airport for 24 hours on threat of arrest if we did return. In one case “demo – T-shirt” was recorded as the reason for the stop, but the other records are inconsistent, referring only to breach of the bylaws.

Thousands of people change buses at Heathrow daily and hundreds of buses break the bylaws by carrying them. This restraint on trade is usually ignored. But five officers took half an hour to take our details, warn us and see us off the premises. We were given forms headed “Metropolitan Police: Working together for a safer London”. Safer for whom?

John Wilding 
Slough, Berkshire

The t-shirts the pensioners were wearing looked, I presume, like this:

STOP AIRPORT EXPANSION white on red t-shirt Heathrow 31 May 2008


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