LHR T3 mini-rant .. great BA staff..

Old Mar 18, 14, 1:33 am
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LHR T3 mini-rant .. great BA staff..

I wish Heathrow (BAA) would tell their staff to ensure that the belts across the BP scanners were closed when security hasn't yet opened. That is the whole point of the belt and the green light.

My wife and I arrived a little early yesterday and the scanner was both green and open and a number of us went through only to find the door still shuttered, so we all left.

I knew it would be a problem because the system now thought we were airside and when we tried to go through a few minutes later it said "seek assistance" which we did. The rather rude and curt staff said we had to reprint the BP and that would cure it. I explained that the reprinted BP would be identical and therefore we'd obviously be rejected again. I was shouted at and told angrily that if I wished to travel I'd need to go downstairs to a BA machine and get it reprinted. Of course I did and it didn't work. We were told by an even ruder person that it had to be a card BP reissued by BA staff "as I had previously been told" ( we hadn't) and I tried explaining again why that wouldn't work and of course they wouldn't listen and just turned their back on us and of course we went ack and had a card BP printed and we returned and it was of course again rejected. I was then shouted at and told we now couldn't travel as the system " said no". It was like a bad dream.

I returned to BA and asked for a member of BA staff to come back and negotiate on my behalf. I explained it all again. They simply asked The BA staff to "vouch for us! which the BA staff thought "odd" and the same BAA staff simply checked our passports and let us through with just a grunt.

The issue from our point of view wasn't the system or just the ignorance on behalf of the BAA Heathrow staff of why the problem had happened, it's resolution and why simply reprinting wouldn't work but it was their lack of interest in listening and in finding a resolution - and their unrestrained rudeness.

I'm not convinced that if it hadn't been for the helpful BA member of staff who left her station to come back up with us that we would have got it sorted.

Last edited by uk1; Mar 18, 14 at 1:45 am
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Old Mar 18, 14, 2:14 am
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
My wife and I arrived a little early yesterday...
Umm, just how early was this? Security doesn't open before 5 am I think, but the first BA flight from T3, to LIS, is something like 7 am, and it's often a few minutes late departing.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 2:15 am
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Please do write into Heathrow (not BAA any more) about this. Like when things go wrong with BA, it's the only way things have a hope of changing.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 2:24 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Umm, just how early was this? Security doesn't open before 5 am I think, but the first BA flight from T3, to LIS, is something like 7 am, and it's often a few minutes late departing.
It was just at 5am but you can't see the door shutter from the bp reader. So seeing the reader was fully open gave no clue. Whole toing and froing took around 45 minutes.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 2:26 am
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Originally Posted by Genius1 View Post
Please do write into Heathrow (not BAA any more) about this. Like when things go wrong with BA, it's the only way things have a hope of changing.
To be honest, i would do, but on the basis that this type of behaviour has been going on for years, I think it is a complete waste of effort.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 2:32 am
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
It was just at 5am but you can't see the door shutter from the bp reader. So seeing the reader was fully open gave no clue. Whole toing and froing took around 45 minutes.
Well I can appreciate that you must love the whole airport experience, but I think you could have been better served with another hour or so in bed! The clue, incidentally, is that the BP readers are never left unattended, if there is no one there then security isn't open. And you could have saved yourself a bit of time and stress by waiting at the shutters a few minutes longer, but then you'd deprive yourself of the fun and games so that's no good.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 2:50 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Well I can appreciate that you must love the whole airport experience, but I think you could have been better served with another hour or so in bed! The clue, incidentally, is that the BP readers are never left unattended, if there is no one there then security isn't open. And you could have saved yourself a bit of time and stress by waiting at the shutters a few minutes longer, but then you'd deprive yourself of the fun and games so that's no good.
Thanks for your very helpful advice but anyone who uses car or limmo services and who doesn't allow reasonable time safety margins - particularly when using the M3 - and misses a flight I'm sure you'd call a pillock. We arrived at 5am for a 07:15 flight which I'm happy to still think is sensible.

Last edited by uk1; Mar 18, 14 at 2:56 am
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Old Mar 18, 14, 3:27 am
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
Thanks for your very helpful advice but anyone who uses car or limmo services and who doesn't allow reasonable time safety margins - particularly when using the M3 - and misses a flight I'm sure you'd call a pillock. We arrived at 5am for a 07:15 flight which I'm happy to still think is sensible.
Pretty fair point.

Being early shouldn't have consequences; being late certainly does.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 3:58 am
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
Thanks for your very helpful advice but anyone who uses car or limmo services and who doesn't allow reasonable time safety margins - particularly when using the M3 - and misses a flight I'm sure you'd call a pillock. We arrived at 5am for a 07:15 flight which I'm happy to still think is sensible.
You're probably right, though it does seem a massive margin. Incidentally the reason the gates can't be left unsupervised is that it's apparently open to question whether HAL is insured if there's an injury to a child using them unattended. So you really shouldn't have got that far, since presumably a child could also have had a dreadful accident. So I'd certainly raise a complaint with HAL and perhaps chuck in the "will no one think of the children?" line....
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Old Mar 18, 14, 4:39 am
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I am not trying to belittle your experience but may I just say that this is a rather good example of unintended consequences.

I assume you turned up early to reduce the possible stress of being tight for time should something unexpected happened while trying to get to the airport.

Then by turning up early you encountered a situation which caused you stress (or annoyance or both), and it probably delayed you a fair bit as well.

For some unknown reason I am finding it rather interesting. Sorry, that doesn't mean I don't feel sympathetic because I do tend to give myself a bit of a margin, sometimes a big margin, to get to the airport just in case. I can see myself getting into a similar situation although I'd probably have stood at the shutters like a piece of vegetable with rolling eyes rather than going back out.

I suggest you write to HAL to complain about the rudeness of staff. T3 security staff, to me, seem much worse than T5 ones for some reason and it might be one of the staff members about whom others have already complained. In fact I even had T3 security staff share their feelings about other staff members being rude, so it's unlikely to be an isolated case of rudeness.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 5:01 am
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I don't consider 2 hours before departure to be an unreasonably early time to arrive at LHR.

For those close to London, and/or blessed with frequent/reliable transportation options then yes, it may seem overly generous, but those of us coming a fair distance by road have learned the hard way to allow a little wiggle room.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 5:06 am
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[QUOTE=uk1;22543086]Thanks for your very helpful advice but anyone who uses car or limmo services and who doesn't allow reasonable time safety margins - particularly when using the M3 - and misses a flight I'm sure you'd call a pillock. We arrived at 5am for a 07:15 flight which I'm happy to still think is sensible.[/QŵUOTE]

I would have left the same sort of margin for two reasons: (a) I have to go round the M25 and hour plus delays are commonplace; and (b) I would want to have some time in the lounge relaxing over breakfast at that time of the morning.

I would certainly complain as the way you were treated, the knowledge of the staff and the shoddy way that the BP scanners were left is unacceptable.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 5:57 am
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For morning flights I try to always get a hotel, even when I was living in Windsor.

I had an issue one time when I nearly missed a mid afternoon flight to MAN despite aiming to get to the airport over two hours before the flight, due to a serious accident on the M4.

I had decided that I could work in the lounge (yes, really work, it was an important meeting at the other end) so getting there early was no problem.

In the end I managed to get through with less than 5 minutes to spare. Even then I was extremely lucky, I had phoned up already to say it was unlikely I'd make that meeting.

So even though back then I lived close to LHR I still didn't want to risk morning traffic getting to the airport, considering even the afternoon occasionally had its nasty surprises.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 7:37 am
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Rather than cut and paste specific posts ..

Thanks for those that saw the point. It was about them leaving the green light on and the belt off and then the treatment.

The combination of M3/M25 am with a trip from the Wiltshire / Hampshire in a border using a limo service has meant in the past that when there's an accident basically you are stuffed completely and don't go anywhere particularly when many miles of it was coned single lane as it was yesterday. One single lane for miles. I do not have the luxury of company bought flex tickets and this combined with a early hours limo means that only complete idiots allow less wriggle room than two hours to take-off if stress reduction and sensible behaviour in my situation is the desired outcome. There are too any factors waiting to exploit Murphy's Law.

The BP scanners and entry to security can still be closed when a person is on the desk as airside staff have to get through, so it isn't a sensible point to negate the need for clueless punters like me who will simply look at a green light and strap removed to believe it is open.

In our case allowing a couple of hours at the airport is a lot less stressful than a night at an airport hotel ... ViSpring and our Siberian goose down pillows knows no viable substitutions

I don't understand this rudeness issue. I have a real sense of humour and never get angry or rude but some of these people seemed to find and search for excuses to be rude. I simply tried to explain to her that a reprint of the BP would accomplish nothing as it would have exactly the same bar code reader info about me and my flight. I am a passenger and you'd presume she as a supervisor would get the point. Instead she just kept interrupting and making snide remarks and then shouting and then threatening. It seems to me that she would only behave this way if the complaints system enabled her to believe that there were never repercussions, and that impression supports my instnct generally about what I see of these people. Having said that the security people once through were delightful and fun. I enjoy my banter.

On the plus side my trousers stayed up and Percy remained hidden from the general public.

Onwards and upwards.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 7:55 am
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You're right, it's not fair to assume passengers would know what time security opens and even if they did seeing the green lights might have made them assume it opened early.

If I was in your situation I probably would have done the same, taking advantage of the quiet looking security in order to get through before the masses arrive.
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