It seems that UK airport bosses are not content with keeping passengers in the dark as to when they will ever leave the ground. Angry passengers who'd rather be swilling their eggnog in foreign climes have told El Reg that British Airports Authority (BAA) staff are stopping passengers stranded at Heathrow – and other airports – from filming the ensuing chaos on their mobiles.
According to one blogger, those who refuse to comply with the information blackout are then given a choice: delete the images – or out into the snow.
But it's not just the bloggers who can't get footage. The story appears to have surfaced last night on Channel 4 News, accompanied by suggestions that BAA were trying, Canute-style, to hold back the tide of news organisations eager to film from inside their airports.
We spoke to Channel 4 News, which confirmed that reporters had been told that they could not film unless accompanied by a press officer. Since all the airport's press officers were too busy dealing with the current disruption, this meant no one was available to hold their hand, and no footage for their viewers.
Meanwhile, stories of passengers being told to put away their (camera) phones first surfaced earlier today on twitter – backed up by a report on today’s newswatch blog, a slightly obsessive daily summary of the main news stories from the UK and around the world.
We asked BAA if this was true and said they thought not. Or rather a spokeswoman did confirm that they were asking camera crews to apply through the usual channels for permits to film, but added, quite fairly, that it wouldn't be one of BAA’s priorities at this time.
As for the ban on taking pics? The same spokeswoman said there was no such thing.
It is also possible, of course, that a few "enterprising" middle managers decided on their own steam that their employer’s interests were best served by getting members of the public to delete all photographic evidence of their failings.
If any reader – perhaps attempting to depart from Heathrow at this very moment – can help us further on this story, we are all ears. ®