I've just missed my flight and Valentine's Day seems tarnished.

Initially I thought about simply a rant to vent my anger, but have decided to try and look at the whole event in broader context and assertain why I ended up missing my flight.

First some background. Being Valentine's Day I decided to book a flight from Heathrow, London to Bilbao, Spain. My girlfriend and I planned on seeing the Guggenheim museum, enjoying some sun, paella and sangria for the weekend. However, events have conspired against us.

Arriving at Heathrow a good 2 hours before our flight was due to depart, anticipating some delays due to the heightened security I mentioned yesterday. After checking in we waited for at least 1.5 hours in the queue to simple get through the security checks. During this time there were constant announcements over the speaker system that people "should not be concerned about missing their flight." All flights would be "called and passengers still in line escorted to the front." So we waited. Departure time was 17.40, pretty soon 18.40 rolled around and still we waited.

Eventually our flight dissapeared from the departure board. On approximately 4 or 5 occasions we enquired with fluorescent yellow vested stewards as to the status of our flight. They assured us that as they had not yet been notified to bring passengers to the front of the queue and the flight had not departed.

Then through the security checks, a brisk walk to the departure gate and...............the flight had departed 25 minutes previously. Deep breaths. We weren't the only ones.

Helpful Iberian airways staff told us we could get the same flight tomorrow evening at no extra cost. This was not suitable as we were flying back at 9.45 the next (Sunday) morning. Now we have to take it up with our travel agent on Monday and hope for a refund or complete reschedule. To say we are unhappy is an understatement.

This all leads me to ask questions. Why did we miss our flight ? Why was the security queue so long ? Why were Heathrow airport staff so incompetant?

I can't answer with regards to Heathrow staff, and somewhere deep inside I can't blame them. They aren't used to dealing with a line of people 5000 deep.

Essentially I have to look at the root of why the UK is on a high security alert to start with. This leads me to put the blame squarely on the UK government and the Prime Minister Tony Blair. If they weren't so insistent on agrivating Iraq and other middle east countries with their insistently beligerant foreign policies the UK would not be a target. If, instead, the UK operated in a peace brokering role, fostering greater understanding between cultures there would be no need for troops on the streets.

I guess now at least I can attend the anti-war demonstration in London tomorrow.