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Bizarre ground-handling mess at LHR

Bizarre ground-handling mess at LHR

Old Jul 14, 03, 9:33 am
  #1  
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Bizarre ground-handling mess at LHR

Had a very strange experience at LHR last Friday. Travelling on the morning flight down to MAD, everything went smoothly until boarding was called (we were using Gate 36, a bus gate). Loaded onto 2 small buses for the trip to the aircraft. After a lengthy, not-so-scenic tour of the innards of the Queens Building and T1 baggage handling facilities, we arrived at the aircraft, which was parked at one of the domestic gates. The buses, instead of driving us to the aircraft (where the aicraft was to be loaded using the back stairs), deposited us at the door up into the gate area instead. Of course we couldn't be released into the domestic gate area, so instead we waited on the stairs leading to the airbridge. We then waited 30 minutes for a dispatcher to arrive to dock the airbridge with the aircraft (an A320). We left nearly an hour late.

Very frustrating, though the ground crew were very good natured and explained things to us very clearly. Captain was very apologetic and said there would be an investigation (apparently the drivers had refused to take the buses to the rear steps of the plane because "the buses are too big to be manoevered into position").

BAA should really stop adding extensions to T1, raze it to the ground and start again. I'd gladly depart from a marquee (a la DUS) for 2 years if the net result was going to be a decent terminal!!
House is offline  
Old Jul 14, 03, 1:04 pm
  #2  
 
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BAA is NOW adding ANOTHER (yes ANOTHER) extension to T3 to top off the one they are doing to T1.

Someone with a clue in the govt (slim chance) really needs to investigate their hap-hazard LHR plans at LHR expansion.
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Old Jul 14, 03, 10:22 pm
  #3  
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I am afraid that BD ground handling at BA can be very bad and this is just an example of chaotic, disorganised service as a result of aircraft rotations.
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Old Jul 15, 03, 8:12 am
  #4  
 
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Why does bmi keep putting planes at the wrong gates? I'm sure it happens more often nowadays, and it's not something that seems to occur on BA...

And, if they are going to keep doing that, they had better find some better buses - either too small, or too big (have got stuck several times trying to negotiate the hairpin bends under T1)
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Old Jul 18, 03, 3:35 am
  #5  
 
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bmi can only make a request for the gate they would like to use, they are allocated by someone else.
Who is in control of gate allocation ?
That's right BRITISH AIRWAYS !!
The real 'Owners' of LHR.
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Old Jul 24, 03, 6:27 am
  #6  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by moleslayer:
Who is in control of gate allocation ?
That's right BRITISH AIRWAYS !!
The real 'Owners' of LHR.
</font>
I've heard bmi pilots complain about this one before (eg, when stuck in a distant part of LHR waiting for a stand to come free...). Now, my question is:

(a) Is this true?

(b) If it is, why can't bmi demand better stands, as the second largest fee-paying customer at the airport?

(...or is that old rumour about bmi defaulting on payment of landing fees still valid?)
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Old Jul 24, 03, 9:15 am
  #7  
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Each terminal at LHR is coordinated, from an operational perspective, by a committee made up of the airlines serving that terminal. BA, for example, ensures that it retains some say in what happens at T3 by retaining a few flights such as MIA and LOS there.

I've no idea precisely how the system works, but would imagine that, as largest user of T1, BA at least gets first choice over which gates to use (all other things being equal - if you're SAA with two 747-400's then there are only so many gates at T1 you'll be able to use).

Likewise, in T3 it always amazes me that BA's flights to MIA always seem to get the gate nearest the transit area and the lounges (Gate 10?).

Then again, I suppose this is little different from other airports, such as in the UA, where one carrier dominates (try departing MSP on United, for example, and you'll more than likely find your plane overtaken by numerous NW flights).
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Old Jul 24, 03, 11:28 am
  #8  
 
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I had a very unpleasant experience several years ago (I believe it was 1998) on the one time I've flown BD from LHR - not T3

I had bought a ticket from LHR-FRA (BD) - BOM (DL), we were using a remote gate, the flight was scheduled to depart at around 9am, and there were two buses that were taking us from the gate to the plane. I was on the second bus with about 7 passengers and the bus got lost!! We found the plane about 1 hour late, and it had already left without us!

I ended up taking the next flight to FRA and I had missed my connection to BOM. BD wouldn't take resposnability, and I couldn't even talk to their ground-staff or handling agents as I had to stay air-side (no visa for FRA)

With no face to face communication possible with them, I had to use the courtesy phones to call them up to check on the status of my rebooking. DL had no more flights or connections, AI, LH, EK, Alitalia, were too full to take me, so I had to end up going back to LHR later that afternoon to wait for a flight there.

I ended up having to leave the next day on EK from LHR via DUB, and getting to my destination 35 hours late.
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Old Jul 28, 03, 3:21 am
  #9  
 
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I may be misjudging BMI but I don't think BMI are being allocated the wrong gates, they are probably getting the gates they want.

It seems that the planes (and crew) are scheduled to a mixture of international and domestic flights and consequently the plane is positioned for the outbound flight annoying all the inbound passengers who need to then be bused.
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Old Aug 1, 03, 11:39 am
  #10  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by kt74:
I've heard bmi pilots complain about this one before (eg, when stuck in a distant part of LHR waiting for a stand to come free...). Now, my question is:

(a) Is this true?

(b) If it is, why can't bmi demand better stands, as the second largest fee-paying customer at the airport?

(...or is that old rumour about bmi defaulting on payment of landing fees still valid?)
</font>
Completely untrue. Gate allocations are done by BAA Operations. Usually they are mapped out quite far in advance, but when flights get delayed, they may have to be re-jigged. Having watched staff do allocations (albeit not at LHR), they don't do it with any sign of favouritism - it's much more a matter of what aircraft can fit on which stands and when is the next flight scheduled onto the stand.
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