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Check in queue policy at ALC - unusual or the norm these days?

Check in queue policy at ALC - unusual or the norm these days?

Old Jan 6, 20, 8:05 am
  #1  
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Check in queue policy at ALC - unusual or the norm these days?

Dear All

Would be grateful for people's opinion on the following.

Arrived at ALC check-in desks to be faced with a large queue for both Club Europe and Euro Traveller desks. There were only two desks in operation, one for each.

Interestingly, the check-in staff did not prioritise the CE queue and instead checked in both classes simultaneously. On all previous occasions I have used a BA check-in desk, the ET check-in queue was held up and CE was prioritised until that queue was dealt with and ET processing would then commence.

The staff member serving the CE desk was incredibly slow and thus the ET queue moved much faster, to the point that it was empty whilst around 8-10 passengers remained in the CE queue. The Agent serving the ET desk then disappeared, prompting further gasps and howls of derision from the CE queue.

I must say I found this incredibly poor service and did mention it when we (finally) checked in. Apparently it is standard practice at ALC and I wondered if this is an isolated case or the norm at other airports. I am strongly of the opinion that CE should always be prioritised at check-in and the ET queue should be held up until such time that the CE queue no longer exists.
Calthrop is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 8:12 am
  #2  
 
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I don't recognise the system you describe of both desks processing CE until clear and then processing ET. I don't think I've seen that anywhere for just two desks.

I have seen a designated CE desk process ET pax when there are no CE pax but that's not the same thing at all.
windowontheAside is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 9:09 am
  #3  
 
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Yes IB who handle the BA flight at ALC seem to be a law into themselves. The check-in comprises 2 desks - one for Club and one for Traveller. All it takes is for one problematic check-in then both queues can easily get out of hand. In our case at the weekend this was a retired staff member travelling on standby trying to check in 6 bags that snarled up the process for everyone else.
The traveller queue was shorter than the Club queue. One agent taking passengers from each queue in turn. We got processed quicker in the traveller queue than in the Club queue.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 9:19 am
  #4  
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This, I fear, is not-untypical of the Couldnt-care-less attitude that one sees in that airport. They are handled by Iberia with all the indifference that they can show at times. So please do not take that as being the norm for BA - this is BA as delivered by Iberia. Their baggage handling is a disgrace and Priority Boarding means that getting to stand on the jetway longer. This is not helped by the number of wheelchairs and their entourage. When flying from ALC, it is not will there be wheelchairs but more how many will there be. This is not a moan as, God Knows, one day we might all be in one however the incompetence does not make matters easier. The Vip Lounge usually has nothing in it when the BA flights leave. This after not even having Fast Track. It exists but BA passengers are not permitted to use it. This summer some portly queen (so said my Best Friend, I would never use such terminology as he was a nobody) was shrieking "I am Fast Track" to the utter indifference of the Security Staff. More notice would have been taken of a dead goat.

I have met a gentleman who is in charge of Alicante, Valencia and, I think Barcelona. He was very receptive to someone old enough to be his Mother complaining about the ALC nonsense. I suspect that he is not often there and that Iberia do whatever they please and stick a bill into BA. Individually they are quite pleasant particularly if you happen to speak Spanish - there is one lady who is I think the ultimate Station Manager who is mustard. I adore her, but she is trying to herd cats.

The best thing about Alicante ground handling is the door shutting and the aircraft pushing off to let the poor crew deal with the issues that the ground staff have created.

Seriously, I'd complain - it's a shame that you did not record some of this nonsense and send it via Twitter. That seems to get some results.
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PUCCI GALORE is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 9:37 am
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I honestly thought it was a normal thing that each desk, ET & CE, processed its own queue...?

Originally Posted by windowontheAside View Post
I have seen a designated CE desk process ET pax when there are no CE pax
And also this
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Lefly is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by PUCCI GALORE View Post
More notice would have been taken of a dead goat.
Especially by the lounge catering team...
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Old Jan 6, 20, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by PUCCI GALORE View Post
This, I fear, is not-untypical of the Couldnt-care-less attitude that one sees in that airport. They are handled by Iberia with all the indifference that they can show at times. So please do not take that as being the norm for BA - this is BA as delivered by Iberia. .
From recent experience I think this can also be said of TFS.
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Wifie is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 1:17 pm
  #8  
 
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Unfortunately OP, I experienced similar last August.

A long and winding queue for ET, being served by one check in desk. A much shorter but still significant queue for CE, again being served by only one check in desk. There was no priority being given to CE passengers by the agent at the ET desk. Each queue was served by the relevant check in agent and the queues moved accordingly.

It was far from a hardship and I was extremely thankful I wasnít waiting in the ET queue however it was still around a 20-25 minute wait to get from the back of the CE queue to the check in desk. Given thereís also no fast track security available at ALC for BAEC status and CE passengers, it can be a significant period of time between entering the terminal and getting to the lounge. Add another wait of 15-20 mins to get through passport control between the lounge and gate, it makes for a less than premium experience.

First world problems? Absolutely! However given the premium youíre paying for CE to a destination like ALC during the summer holidays, it is a touch frustrating.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 1:30 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by windowontheAside View Post
I don't recognise the system you describe of both desks processing CE until clear and then processing ET. I don't think I've seen that anywhere for just two desks.

I have seen a designated CE desk process ET pax when there are no CE pax but that's not the same thing at all.
It’s at the regional airports in the UK that I’ve seen it on several occasions. I’m not sure whether it’s BA policy/guidance or just colleagues using their initiative. Regardless of the size of the ET/WT check in queue or the number of desks serving CE/CW/F, if the priority check in queue becomes more than a handful of passengers, the ET/WT desk nearest it will start to call over priority passengers at the first opportunity. If there is no priority queue, those check in desks will start to process ET/WT passengers.

Having said all that, this has always been in scenarios where there are more than one ET/WT check in desk.
GlasgowBlue is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 1:39 pm
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Itís certainly chaotic, but I travel through there 2 - 3 times a year and Iíve always had the priority queue board first.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 3:24 pm
  #11  
 
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This is the norm at LIN as well. If there is ET queue, priority passengers will have to wait in line at the CE queue with no chance of getting into the bag drop or ET queue at all, even when BA staffers are doing the checkin.

I assume this is standard practice in, well, less organised countries?
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Old Jan 6, 20, 5:10 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by 1Aturnleft View Post
The traveller queue was shorter than the Club queue. One agent taking passengers from each queue in turn. We got processed quicker in the traveller queue than in the Club queue.
Same at Madrid where the CE queue is longer and processed slower than ET by the same IB check in staff. With the move to ET Basic HBO fares not so much of a surprise as ET is passport check and print BP whilst CE is much more likely to e travelling onwards from LON, need seat reallocation and multiple items of baggage.
UKTony is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 5:26 pm
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For what itís worth, the TAP staff do a decent job for the BA flights they handle at Lisbon; surprisingly as my experience with TAP itself has not been great.

They police the CE/priority queue, making sure that people are in the right queue. With three desks, the middle ET desk agent often steps in to help clear the CE queue quickly, along the lines of what the OP suggests, although thus is not entirely at the expense of ET given there is a third agent. NB Iíve not seen a situation where all deans are used for CE while ET are held back and can see some problems with that approach.

I presume Lisbon gets more than two desks given passenger profile, ie a lot of connecting and club passengers.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 7:11 pm
  #14  
 
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Palma is chaos also. I was one over an hour for club checkin. Complained. Got nowhere.

easyjet you get processed in minutes on the rare occasion I check a bag
jeremyBA is offline  
Old Jan 6, 20, 9:36 pm
  #15  
 
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It's completely normal in my experience and also fair - those at the front of the ET queue would be waiting a horribly long time if they processed the whole of the CE queue first. It is inevitably full of people with heaps of luggage, lots of "paperwork" to faff with, 100 questions about their connection, a bronze card holder with a family of 9 etc etc. Standing in it is a really frustrating experience and quite often a mystery as to what is happening, as approx 100% of the time I walk up and am checked in within about 35 seconds

In my experience the ET queue will be faster - as UKTony says, the ET queue is speedy as it's often people who are well rehearsed in the ways of Easyjet etc. Personally unless the ET queue is a lot longer (or CE is small - e.g. a Greek island flight last year was only 3 rows of CE) then better to use that one.

What would be better is if they could provide 3 desks - 2 for CE and one for ET, the middle desk then handling ET if CE happens to clear. But that would cost money, so never going to happen.....
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