✅ Trip Verified
| I wasn’t impressed by the £3.50 drop off charge, crowded and chaotic terminal and the winding route through a shopping mall that you’re forced to take after clearing security. At that point I’d say it was just a 3/5 kind of experience. But the real problem occurred later on. In a queue at the gate, the final call time came and went. Staff disappeared. Then a rumour started that there was a problem back in the terminal and we had to go back there. This seemed unlikely as there had been no announcements over the PA system or from any staff members. Eventually someone in a high-vis jacket appeared who said that they thought we were supposed to go back to the terminal. So, reluctantly, people started moving backwards, and joined a crush of people that stretched from the gate, through a series of narrow corridors (past turned-off escalators) through arrivals and back to the main terminal. Still no announcements, no alarms and no staff member I asked knew exactly what was going on. The terminal got more and more packed as passengers from every gate, and even the planes that had been on the tarmac, just kept arriving. We were told that we couldn’t leave the now overcrowded building and we just had to wait until someone worked out what to do next. It turned out that a bus had caught fire outside the terminal. According to the BBC news website the fire was put out while I was still in a queue at the gate. So it’s surprising that they decided to evacuate the entire building, cancel all flights and even stop planes already on the tarmac from taking off. It’s also surprising that they did all this without making any announcements (that I heard) for at least a couple of hours until after the incident occurred. Over 4 hours after the original departure time, staff at the airline desk - I had to queue up to try to rebook my flight - said they were astonished at how the incident was handled. If there had been a serious problem hundreds of people would have died, prevented from leaving the airport and instead turned around and trapped in an enormously overcrowded building with no instructions and clueless staff. I will never use Stansted again.