London’s Heathrow airport said that 750 members of its non-operational staff will be volunteering 10,000 hours and over 2,200 shifts this summer in an effort to improve passenger journeys through the airport.
The Here to Help programme is a long-standing initiative but has been bolstered this week in response to growing passenger numbers over the summer. Over six million passengers have travelled through Heathrow this summer so far, with the airport seeing the equivalent of 40 years of growth in just four months.
The ‘purple people’ initiative is now in its twelfth year and forms part of Heathrow’s efforts to ensure the very best airport experience as it continues to find a way back to normal after a challenging period. The new bolstered team has been officially unveiled by TV star Rylan, who became an honorary member of the team doing a shift in the airport – and being spotted by passengers pushing trolleys and packing liquids to speed up the security process.
This year sees the first summer in three years that people will be embarking on summer holidays en masse, with many passengers travelling through Heathrow not having been abroad since 2019.
Passenger numbers so far this summer are over 500% higher than this time last year so terminals are busy, which is why Heathrow has taken a number of steps to help make passenger journeys smoother. This includes working with airlines to manage schedules, increasing security, engineering, and services teams, and bolstering the Here to Help initiative.
Key roles taken up by the Here to Help team to help people get through the airport as smoothly as possible include welcoming passengers into the airport, directing them to check-in desks, helping to manage issues such as hand luggage exceeding size allowances and assisting passengers with preparing hand luggage to enable them to pass seamlessly through security. The team of helpers are also on hand to assist passengers with any required pre-departure paperwork and advice on COVID-19 testing.
Emma Gilthorpe, Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow said: “Our long-standing Here to Help initiative has been bolstered in the lead up to the summer holidays to help us fully prepare for the summer surge and ensure passengers get away smoothly.
“We are aware that these summer holidays are the first in three years for many passengers, and that travelling for some may be a stressful experience. Our Here to Help team will assist you onto your holidays as seamlessly as possible. From small steps like helping you pack your liquids to being a friendly face helping you find your way through the airport, the ‘purple people’ at Heathrow will be out on mass from today.”
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