What a day with BA/BAA.. (a *long* read)

Old Dec 4, 10, 3:21 pm
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What a day with BA/BAA.. (a *long* read)

Obviously with the recent weather across EU, there was always going to be delays, cancelled flights and frustrated passengers but yesterday (3rd Dec) at T5 just really took the biscuit for me.

I was booked on my regular Friday sky-chariot, the 5.25pm BA1492 to GLA and having already checked in online and checking the online departure boards throughout the day, I rolled into T2 Departures at 3.45pm.

The first think I noticed was how many people were about - long queues for the Bag Drops, people sitting, standing and lying on just about every side of the hall. Anyway, knowing already that my flight was showing around a 1-hour delay, i went and dropped my single bag.

Being a newcomer to BAEC Silver, i made my first use of the Fast Track lane through security (didn't seem any quicker really) and then went to Galleries South - now, this being my first visit there, I couldn't say how busy it normally is but the lounge was absolutely packed to the rafters. But anyway, I found a seat and had a read of my book.

I was checking the boards and BA1492 was still showing Delayed 18:20 - even at just before 18:00. Eventually, the delay time increased a little at a time until it hit 19:05. I duly went down to the gate when it was revealed (A5) just in time to hear that there was a further delay of 25mins or so.

Anyway, we eventualy got on the plane and doors closed around 8pm.

Awesome, we're good to go. Err, not quite...

The captain then announced that we were waiting for a de-icing rig.. 8th in line. This didn't turn up for the best part of two hours while the CC offered us soft drinks/tea/coffee and a snack. With the de-icing done, the captain then informed us we were now waiting for a tug. Ten mins later, he then informed us that the tug operators assigned to us had gone home or something.. BAA regs? So we waited a further 15mins for a new one to turn up.

Finally, we were off.. over 4 hours late but everyone in fairly good spirits.. we were on our way after all unlike some of the poor sods still stuck in the terminal after cancelled flights.

Except.. around 15mins into the flight, the captain (whose voice I was beginning to recognise as nothing but a source of bad tidings) told us that GLA/BAA were refusing to accept any more planes after 11pm. Accordingly we were being sent back to LHR. Cue many protests and people hassling the flight crew (as if it's their fault for god's sake).

So then we landed and, in the spirit of the whole evening, then had to wait a further 10-15mins for the ground staff before we could open the doors. The senior crew then told us that we were to go to the desks at F/G to get a hotel booked for us if required.

If only it were that simple.

We suddenly found ourselves in a domestic baggage-claim area in chaos. The hall was full of people who had no idea where there baggage was and no information comes from anyoe in BA/BAA. At one point a lady did appear, was met with some hostility and subsequently disappeared (I couldn't blame her). We later found out via an announcement that only one baggage handling team was operating at this time.. and 14 flights were on the ground waiting to be unloaded. Our flight (now BA1492R) was just about the last of those.

Cue lots of sitting or standing around uncomfortably for over 3 hours before we were told that our bags had been unloaded and were, in fact on carousel 6 - in the international area (shortest international flight ever?) so we waited a further 30mins (sometime around 3am) for a security chap to escort us to the international baggage claim area where we finally picked up our bags.

Then it was up to F/G in Arrivals to find out what customer service could do for us. It turned out that they were there solely to arrange hotels. By the time I got seen to, it was 4am and I was offered a room in the Holiday inn Express in Slough - I was too shattered to do anything else so went to queue for the bus there. At 4.20am it still hadn't arrived, so upon hearing that the rebooking desks were going to be opened (zone E) at 5am so I gave up on the hotel and went to join that queue instead.

At 5am, they did indeed open the rebooking desks and after about 1.5hours, I was attended to. The next available seat for me was on the 11:40am flight but I was also put on standby for the 10:05 flight back to GLA so was told to come back to the A14 area in Arrivals at around 9:15am to find out if I got a seat on that). Cue more sitting/standing around trying to sleep in various awkward postions.

I finally did get home - on a standby seat on the 10:05 flight (which was itself a bit late but still).

As I mentioned at the start, weather happens - delays are expected (at least in the UK they are) but the sheer lack of preperation by both BA and BAA was bordering on unbelievable at times. I ws one of the lucky ones with a short haul flight home - there were some in the various queues that had been travelling all day and missed their connecting flight - one eldery couple trying to get to their cruise ship in Singapore etc.

Astonishing that after last year's cold spell, the transport system in the UK could get caught out again like this.. particularly the airports and rail services.

Oh well, just going to have a nice long sleep tonight and then wake up tomorrow to check in online for my flight back down to LHR on Monday morning >.<
mproudfoot is offline  
Old Dec 4, 10, 3:54 pm
Join Date: May 2003
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Welcome mproudfoot .... thanks for sharing and sounds like a story to remember for the grandchildren! Hope that was all your bad luck for one year rolled up in one day! Glad you got home anyway and hope you slept well

Whilst a pain in the proverbial for paying customers, we must also remember the chaos the snow causes for both ground crew and cabin/flight crew.
crystal_cad is offline  
Old Dec 4, 10, 4:26 pm
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Location: UK
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Firstly Welcome.

Secondly You wil forget about this flight in a few weeks time anyway. It could always be worse, you could have been in spain.

Anyway why does everyone say the last amount of snow was last year. It was this year, okay Jan / Feb but still this year. At the moment Europe is also having bad weather and you will find they need to close the airports in places like Geneva for a bit. But everyone complains about the UK for some reason.

On a slightly different note. I was watching CNN coverage of Gatwick being closed. Some tanned holiday makers returning from sunnier places. Still wearing shorts and t-shirts digging their cars out of the snow. The knew where they were flying to, their was no need to wear that on a plane.
origin is offline  
Old Dec 4, 10, 5:22 pm
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Welcome...I assume it wasn't T2 departures.

I, for once, am offering the greatest of sympathies here. I think the way you were treated by BAA was nothing short of shocking.

Yes, weather happens. And yes, BAA are rubbish.

But as a paying passenger you paid (a lot of money) to BAA Heathrow and BAA Glasgow for very little indeed.

In fact, I attribute 99% of this disastrous storyline to BAA, who in my opinion should fully bear the cost of the deicing fluid at LHR and the fuel for the LHR - LHR round trip. The way they treated paying customers with such contempt was appalling.

So if I were you I'd write to both BA and BAA. To BA demanding a full apology for what ended up meaning you spent the whole night awake. And to BAA demanding a refund of your taxes paid to the airport authorities. They failed to deliver.

With many thanks for posting...
andset1191 is offline  
Old Dec 4, 10, 6:02 pm
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I agree with andset1191 - second time that's happened today. This was very poor and BAA appear the big culprits.

To have that long delay after boarding and then let the plane take off only to turn it back is ridiculous. Obviously the bad weather is difficult to deal with but... (a few more deicing rigs would be a start)

Welcome to the forum mproudfoot; I hope your flights soon return to normal.
Fruitcake is offline  
Old Dec 4, 10, 8:18 pm
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Last time I checked BA is responsible for their tug operators, their de-icing equipment for their planes and sorting out baggage reclaim, not BAA
JimEddie is offline  

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