web Musings of The Global Traveller

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More BA baggage woes and some other bad BA news

British Airways is yet again in the news for a poor baggage situation at London Heathrow (LHR). Apparently only T4 is affected. With limited capacity to handle baggage by hand, there are restrictions in place. These vary by day, whether originating in London or transitting, by class of travel and elite frequent flyer status. So for the latest check the BA website here.

In short, some passengers are limited to carry on only. Fortunately this increased to 2 bags earlier in the year. Unfortunately we still have the liquids restrictions.

I do wonder though how much thinking went into this statement.

On Thursday 21 February, transfer passengers through London Heathrow Terminal 4 should not bring luggage to be checked in as they will not be able to travel.

So someone flying on BA from Sydney (leaves shortly as I write this and arrives on Thursday 21 February) and transferring through T4 can or cannot have checked bags? Isn't it a bit late to advise these passengers now? In general transferring passengers have the least flexibility in terms of being able to convert to carry-on only for luggage.

I think the rules BA has established for allowing checked baggage in the short term until the situation is resolved, while no doubt well meaning, are rather too complex to be well understood. Be prepared for longer than normal queues at check in, and also at security.

For once it appears the airline is not to blame for the problem which is attributed to computer errors and thus responsibility of airport operator BAA (source BBC News). Still one can't help but wonder why BA seems to attract so many problems compared with other airlines.

It was only a few hours ago I speculated that BA's latest announced fuel surcharge increase was being timed to get all their bad news over well ahead of T5 opening in 5 weeks time. BA have also been in the news recently for losing a major court case on overcharged fuel surcharge (yes ironic timing leading some to wonder how much of the latest increase is to pay the refunds of the lost case). They are also threatened with strikes by pilots and cabin crew (more on this soon).

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