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Baffling direction from LHR checkin ...

Baffling direction from LHR checkin ...

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Old Apr 20, 19, 4:07 am
  #1  
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Baffling direction from LHR checkin ...

One for the long closer “I work at the airport...” thread. Checking in today for LHR-YYZ-YHZ-YYT the agent (priority checkin) insisted that I’d need to pick up my bags and recheck at YHZ as I would need to clear customs. I guess he thinks that I’m flying LHR-YHZ-YYT ... (which I can’t obviously be doing so with the Max grounding). When I pointed out that I thought he was wrong (& showed him the advice on the AC app) he essentially said “its your risk”n

Last edited by AtlanticXpat; Apr 21, 19 at 8:47 am Reason: Corrected original post to add YYZ to routeing
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Old Apr 20, 19, 4:18 am
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Originally Posted by AtlanticXpat View Post
One for the long closer “I work at the airport...” thread. Checking in today for LHR-YHZ-YYT the agent (priority checkin) insisted that I’d need to pick up my bags and recheck at YHZ as I would need to clear customs. I guess he thinks that I’m flying LHR-YHZ-YYT ... (which I can’t obviously be doing so with the Max grounding). When I pointed out that I thought he was wrong (& showed him the advice on the AC app) he essentially said “its your risk”n
(bolding mine)

You may want to proof-read and edit your post. What route are you actually flying?
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Old Apr 20, 19, 5:32 am
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Originally Posted by smallmj View Post
(bolding mine)

You may want to proof-read and edit your post. What route are you actually flying?
Most likely OP was flying LHR-YYZ-YYT instead of LHR-YHZ-YYT due to the MAX grounding, in which case he would be eligible for OSS and wouldn’t have to pick up his checked luggage in YYZ.
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Old Apr 20, 19, 1:05 pm
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Yes, typed in a hurry before boarding. LHR - yyz - yhz - yyt. Just landed yyz. Won’t be picking up my bags here and not expecting to have to get them at yhz - which is what the LHR agent said i would need to do.
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Old Apr 20, 19, 2:32 pm
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I had the same thing in ZRH a couple weeks ago - flying ZRH-LHR-YVR-YYF and was told I would have to pick my bags up in YVR. I said “isn’t it OSS?” And was told that it wouldn’t be. Of course, when I got to YVR, it was OSS, and I didn’t have to pick up my bags or repack my Duty Free purchases. I don’t think they’re fully informed on how Canadian airports work.
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Old Apr 20, 19, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by jdj84 View Post
I had the same thing in ZRH a couple weeks ago - flying ZRH-LHR-YVR-YYF and was told I would have to pick my bags up in YVR. I said “isn’t it OSS?” And was told that it wouldn’t be. Of course, when I got to YVR, it was OSS, and I didn’t have to pick up my bags or repack my Duty Free purchases. I don’t think they’re fully informed on how Canadian airports work.
To counter that, I've also had AC agents at outstations in Canada that understand this stuff like the back of their hand. Case in point I was flying YSJ > YYZ > EWR > LHR on two separate tickets (YSJ > YYZ > EWR on AC ticket, and EWR > LHR on separate UA ticket). During check in I explained this to the agent, she asked for my UA flight number and tagged it for me and I was all set. A day later when I land in LHR and go through the eGates what do I see but my red bag coming out on the trolley. I think one thing that's unclear is who is providing the service at the airport. If its an agency like DNATA don't expect them to provide the same level of service as a SE agent at YYZ.

As another example, my parents were flying YZR to BCN (via YYZ) a year ago and YZR to YYZ flight got cancelled several hours prior to departure. AC sent out the cancellation email as per normal but an agent from YZR personally called my parents and walked them through the rebooking process. Short story long they ended up flying that same day out of YXU instead of YZR. Again someone at AC who knows their chops. In case one is curious why they flew out of YZR as opposed to say, YYZ, the fare was several hundred dollars cheaper and the drive was much shorter to boot!

I've also had a gate agent at YXU who doesn't know how priority works during IRROPs and ended up standing by and clearing a kettle flying to YVR (via YYZ) instead of me. In that instance, the flight was delayed by 3 hours causing my connection in YUL to be eaten away. I then speak to customer service at YUL who promptly puts me on the next flight to YSJ for the next day. When I ask about comping hotel (after explaining and showing my UA Gold card) she just quipped "you're on your own since air traffic delays are outside our control". Fine, walk to MLL and dragon there sees boarding pass and says, yes hotel comp is possible but can't do it for you go to ticketing. Finally at ticketing the agent there knew what to do and promptly got me my hotel, meal vouchers, etc.

I've also had an AC flight once take a 5 hour MX out of EWR. While everyone was yelling four letter words at the gate agent, I headed to the MLL, scanned my boarding pass for the cancelled flight and the agent. Oh, let me rebook that for you, retag your checked bags and give you a meal voucher.

Also this is not just an AC thing, LH has been guilty twice of not understanding how Canadian travel works both from their hub of FRA to boot!

On one occasion I was flying FRA > DTW and the check in agent refused to check me in saying I need an ESTA. When I told them that Canada is not part of the VWP with the US but rather the show your passport and get in the damn country program they started arguing. It was only when I demanded to see a station manager and told him to look up the information on TIMATIC that they finally issued my boarding pass.

Second story, was flying FRA > YYZ in J almost two years ago and Maitre de Cabin starts handing out CBSA forms. When I tell her I don't need one since I'm NEXUS she says, "everyone is required to complete one regardless of citizenship or status". I then promptly put it in the seat back pocket. FA was adamant that I complete one prior to landing and ended up completing one. Surprise surprise when I land in YYZ and was never asked for one!

I ranked the LH service as poor and an agent from LH called me the next day and I explained both stories. I told her, "Honey, if you claim to be a leading international airline you should act like one. It's unacceptable that you don't understand basic customs and immigration rules for the countries and citizens you serve." She agreed. I've never set foot on a LH plane since then but would be curious to see if LH has stopped with the Canadian discrimination!

The key lesson here from all these experiences are YMMV. It doesn't matter if you're leaving from the major airport of the airline (AC @ YUL) or at a regional airport (YZR) or are a 5 star airline (LH). The only thing consistent with service from airlines is inconsistency (aside from perhaps NH).

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Apr 20, 19, 4:45 pm
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OTOH, I did have to pick up bags on a DFW-YYZ-YHZ routing. Only thanks to an observant MLL agent when I delayed my second segment to catch a concall did I actually pick it up. Sometimes the agents don't do the right thing.
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Old Apr 21, 19, 9:12 am
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Somewhat related data point: The last BPs I had printed at LHR didn't have OSS printed on them, but my bags were checked through and arrived fine nonetheless. So, there's... that.
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Old Apr 21, 19, 9:57 am
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Having OSS isn’t related to through checked bags. The two are unrelated.
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Old Apr 21, 19, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by yyz_atc_qq View Post
Having OSS isn’t related to through checked bags. The two are unrelated.
Is it just a coincidence that not having to re-check bags after landing in YYZ became a thing exactly when OSS was introduced, and that all the OSS press releases refer to "passengers and their belongings"? I thought it allowed through-checked bags by not requiring re-screening of said checked bags.

It's possible people have made the possibly-false connection between the two for this reason.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 5:20 am
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Originally Posted by D404 View Post
Is it just a coincidence that not having to re-check bags after landing in YYZ became a thing exactly when OSS was introduced, and that all the OSS press releases refer to "passengers and their belongings"?
Didn't the bag thing pre-date OSS by a while?
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Old Apr 22, 19, 6:12 am
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Didn't the bag thing pre-date OSS by a while?
It's possible my memory has gone, of course.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Didn't the bag thing pre-date OSS by a while?
Yes, by at least a couple of years
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Old Apr 22, 19, 8:48 am
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My memory has definitely gone then, since I don't remember being able to check-through bags coming from (not going to) Europe through YYZ or YUL until OSS happened. I have no explanation for why my memory thinks this.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 10:06 am
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I think I should have changed the post title to "baffling post by poster with thick thumbs on a smartphone while waiting in the boarding line..." Anyway, I fixed the routeing in the first post.

I flew LHR-YYZ-YHZ-YYT. (Loss of the direct LHR-YYT flight leads to such joyous routeing). As expected, and as per the advice on the AC App, The inflight magazine's bit on transferring at YYZ and previous experience last year on LHR-YYZ-YYT, I didn't need to pick up bags in either YYZ or YHZ. I did clear customs at YYZ and took the transfer bus from F to D. In Halifax, I remained airside in the hour or so between connections. My checked bag arrived with me at YYT. As I say, all as entirely expected.

The LHR check in agent (at the Priority Check In) was adamant that I'd need to collect and recheck bags at YHZ and wouldn't be told otherwise - although I didn't put much effort into changing his mind. I guess, in his head he thought I was flying LHR-YHZ-YYT where, of course one does need to collect and recheck bags. Perhaps he hadn't noticed the lack of LHR-YHZ flights at present?

All in all, no big deal and a first world problem, except, the potential for confusion and anxiety for the less frequent traveler. My parents for example. I could see confusion and a short connection time at YHZ easily giving the potential for a missed connection. Naively, I suppose I expect Check In agents to know what the hell they are talking about. :-)
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