Rumour: T5 ticket desks to close

Old Dec 2, 18, 2:12 pm
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Rumour: T5 ticket desks to close

Chatting to a BA member of staff at Terminal 5 recently I was came to understand that BA have told ticketing staff that all of the public access ticket desks in the terminal will close.

If true, the implications for somebody needing to change a complex itinerary ten minutes before check in closes will be, shall we say, interesting.

If true,
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Old Dec 2, 18, 2:24 pm
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Is this linked to empowering all of the LHR staff being able to complete all duties? If the check in guys can make changes and ticket, then the desks would be not needed
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Old Dec 2, 18, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Sixth Freedom
Chatting to a BA member of staff at Terminal 5 recently I was came to understand that BA have told ticketing staff that all of the public access ticket desks in the terminal will close.

If true, the implications for somebody needing to change a complex itinerary ten minutes before check in closes will be, shall we say, interesting.

If true,
What are they going to do instead? Install rows of telephone booths so that you can spend hours waiting in a (second) queue for your call to a call centre to be answered? Or are the desks going to be outsourced (to a de-facto travel agency)?

Perhaps their experts will have 'permit to travel' machines installed instead...
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Old Dec 2, 18, 3:47 pm
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It is an anachronism that BA still segregates this function. It is 20 years overdue. Routine matters should be handled by any staff at a counter. If complex, perhaps it will require a supervisor or help line assisting the staff member and perhaps the passenger will be moved to a different position. But, the notion that tickets (likely reticketing) may only be handled by specific physical positions is absurd.

It remains to be seen whether "empowerment" will come with the training to get it done.
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Old Dec 2, 18, 8:18 pm
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Oh come off it. BA staff are often the last to know about stuff like this.
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Old Dec 2, 18, 8:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1
It is an anachronism that BA still segregates this function. It is 20 years overdue. Routine matters should be handled by any staff at a counter. If complex, perhaps it will require a supervisor or help line assisting the staff member and perhaps the passenger will be moved to a different position. But, the notion that tickets (likely reticketing) may only be handled by specific physical positions is absurd.

It remains to be seen whether "empowerment" will come with the training to get it done.
I disagree with this ; keeping long tasks separate ensures that people are not left queuing for a quick check in operation whilst someone plans a 16 sector itinerary - keeping some desks just for that function benefits the majority

It is not an anachronism - I can think of more places where ticket desks are separate to check in desks than where a check in agent does ticket selling ; outside of North America , my experience is that it is the norm
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Old Dec 2, 18, 11:12 pm
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It’s not often I agree with Dave Noble...

Now, you might want to put more of the exception handling at the same desks, so ticketing / disability / excess payments / etc as happens at many out stations already, but handling ticketing issues with checkin is going to go completely wrong the first time there’s a number of flight cancellations at the same time. i.e. the first bad weather day in winter.
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Old Dec 2, 18, 11:28 pm
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Well re-reading the OP I would suggest a high degree of speculation here.

On the other hand there might some pennies to be saved for BA, with the work done by experienced/dedicated staff distributed elsewhere to lower paid employees. I suppose it all depends on whether the intention is to release the staff involved or move them to other duties as part of the wider pool.

As stated above it will be interesting to see what training is provided, or whether this all falls over at the first sign of IRROPS when minimum wage check in staff are sat trying trying to rework complex routings. My guess would be that many things that have hitherto been possible will suddenly prove impossible.....
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Old Dec 3, 18, 12:32 am
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This is a nightmare! I often have very complex itineraries that require manual pricing and if true will be one more worry for any last minute changes....
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Old Dec 3, 18, 3:23 am
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Though I rarely have a complex itinerary to sort out I can see the benefits of having a dedicated area with knowledgeable staff to help.
A key principle of operational management is to divert more complex tasks away from the straightforward ones to preserve the overall efficiency.
Plus... from a personal point of view I would get very frustrated if I had to queue behind someone for a long period when they could be dealt with (more effectively) elsewhere.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 7:42 am
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Well, just think of it this way:

Assume you've got a flight with 200 people on it who want to check something in, 3 agents, 2 hour checkin window. So each agent has to handle 66 people in 2 hours. Clearly they don't arrive nicely spaced out but even if they do that's about 2 minutes per person. Pushing it a bit, especially with multiple bags, children, faffing, overweight, etcetcetc.

Then I rock up and can't check in because my OTP-LHR-HEL-JFK-ORD-LAX-PHX-ABQ-SJC-...-BBQ itinerary across 4 carriers hasn't been reticketed properly. Agent #1 spends 45 minutes sorting the mess out (not an exaggeration from a real situation with a slightly simpler itinerary). Agents 2-3 fail to check in the growing queue and the last people miss the flight. Agent 1 hates me and BA. Agent 2-3 think "there but for the grace of deities go I". 75% of pax dislike BA. 25% of pax really hate BA. Next day there's several column inches in the Independent (Calder) or the Guardian (Tims) about how hard-done-to those people are and how BA should have a separate desk for problem nutters like me.

Last edited by flatlander; Dec 4, 18 at 2:38 am Reason: correct agent numbering
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Old Dec 3, 18, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by flatlander
Well, just think of it this way:

Assume you've got a flight with 200 people on it who want to check something in, 3 agents, 2 hour checkin window. So each agent has to handle 66 people in 2 hours. Clearly they don't arrive nicely spaced out but even if they do that's about 2 minutes per person. Pushing it a bit, especially with multiple bags, children, faffing, overweight, etcetcetc.

Then I rock up and can't check in because my OTP-LHR-HEL-JFK-ORD-LAX-PHX-ABQ-SJC-...-BBQ itinerary across 4 carriers hasn't been reticketed properly. Agent #1 spends 45 minutes sorting the mess out (not an exaggeration from a real situation with a slightly simpler itinerary). Agents 2-4 fail to check in the growing queue and the last people miss the flight. Agent 1 hates me and BA. Agent 2-4 think "there but for the grace of deities go I". 75% of pax dislike BA. 25% of pax really hate BA. Next day there's several column inches in the Independent (Calder) or the Guardian (Tims) about how hard-done-to those people are and how BA should have a separate desk for problem nutters like me.
But that isn't how it works at T5 - there are more than 3 agents in any one section and with the introduction of self bag drop, its becoming more likely you'll have zero interactions with check-in staff. Amalgamating the roles into the same desk just make sense. Nothing bugs me more than the 'I can't deal with that walk over to that desk so someone with the same systems can do it and then come back and see me' approach.

Alas, its just a rumour as the OP points out, but it could be a good move for BA and empowering to the staff.
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Last edited by gilfiom; Dec 3, 18 at 1:15 pm Reason: clarity
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Old Dec 3, 18, 1:50 pm
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Originally Posted by gilfiom
But that isn't how it works at T5 - there are more than 3 agents in any one section and with the introduction of self bag drop, its becoming more likely you'll have zero interactions with check-in staff. Amalgamating the roles into the same desk just make sense. Nothing bugs me more than the 'I can't deal with that walk over to that desk so someone with the same systems can do it and then come back and see me' approach.

Alas, its just a rumour as the OP points out, but it could be a good move for BA and empowering to the staff.
nothing bugs me more then incompetent staff, I rather know where to find those who know how to deal with issue than spend 30 min and have my pnr and seats messed up even more...
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Old Dec 3, 18, 3:43 pm
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I've come across this...

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/...st-for-leaders

It does include instructions on how to count passengers, when not to clean an aircraft, why yellow tags are dumb, why the hand-baggage box sizer should be abolished, and so on. But it does say this

4. Has your organization seriously considered eliminating check-in?
This seems more likely. With a general help-desk system for problems, perhaps on a 'take a number and sit down' queue. Such a system seems like a super effective way to cut costs - they can let important passengers cut the queue, whilst making those who'll be furious with BA no matter what wait an eternity because they really couldn't care less.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by cauchy
I've come across this...

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/...st-for-leaders

It does include instructions on how to count passengers, when not to clean an aircraft, why yellow tags are dumb, why the hand-baggage box sizer should be abolished, and so on. But it does say this



This seems more likely. With a general help-desk system for problems, perhaps on a 'take a number and sit down' queue. Such a system seems like a super effective way to cut costs - they can let important passengers cut the queue, whilst making those who'll be furious with BA no matter what wait an eternity because they really couldn't care less.
This whole checklist seems like a fantasy land created by a bored consultant who doesnt know how and why airlines do certain things.
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