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Confusion over checking in hand luggage with HBO fare

Confusion over checking in hand luggage with HBO fare

Old Jul 31, 20, 4:52 pm
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Confusion over checking in hand luggage with HBO fare

Apologies if this has been discussed before.

I remember seeing on this forum that you can always check in your hand luggage for free regardless of the check-in allowance. So I flew EDI-LCY yesterday (Gold on HBO) and wanted to do it. However the ground staff told me it should be chargeable, although he's waiving it this time. I brought up the hand luggage point but he said "it's only applicable on busy flights".

Are there any official rules regarding this, or is it purely dependent on the interpretation of the staff?
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Old Jul 31, 20, 5:09 pm
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A Basic fare is hand baggage only. In essence it means just that. At LHR passengers can check in their cabin baggage, and sometimes emails go out on busy flights inviting people to do it. But it's not an absolute right, it's a policy waiver which will apply in particular scenarios. So in essence HBO = HBO, but sometimes BA will offer it proactively. If you want a clear checked baggage allowance it is best to pay an extra few pounds for a Plus fare, otherwise you are on best endeavours.
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Old Jul 31, 20, 5:16 pm
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It isnít always the case that you can check hand baggage for free on ex LON flights. A few times I have been told that the flight hasnít been busy enough to allow hand baggage to be checked for free.
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Old Jul 31, 20, 5:23 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
A Basic fare is hand baggage only. In essence it means just that. At LHR passengers can check in their cabin baggage, and sometimes emails go out on busy flights inviting people to do it. But it's not an absolute right, it's a policy waiver which will apply in particular scenarios. So in essence HBO = HBO, but sometimes BA will offer it proactively. If you want a clear checked baggage allowance it is best to pay an extra few pounds for a Plus fare, otherwise you are on best endeavours.
Originally Posted by cameramaker View Post
It isnít always the case that you can check hand baggage for free on ex LON flights. A few times I have been told that the flight hasnít been busy enough to allow hand baggage to be checked for free.
I was told by check in staff at LHR that it was always possible to check in hand baggage on a basic fare on all domestic flights as it would help boarding and ease cabin congestion. Iím wondering if thatís still the case post covid Iíve never tried it on domestic flights to London though

ive offered at BCN MAD and PRG to check in Hand baggage on a basic fare without the your flight is busy email and not been refused though would never bank on it.
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Old Jul 31, 20, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by strayersong View Post
Apologies if this has been discussed before.

I remember seeing on this forum that you can always check in your hand luggage for free regardless of the check-in allowance. So I flew EDI-LCY yesterday (Gold on HBO) and wanted to do it. However the ground staff told me it should be chargeable, although he's waiving it this time. I brought up the hand luggage point but he said "it's only applicable on busy flights".

Are there any official rules regarding this, or is it purely dependent on the interpretation of the staff?
call me old fashioned but wouldnt it just be easier to just pay for a baggage fare?
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Old Jul 31, 20, 8:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Anonba View Post
call me old fashioned but wouldnt it just be easier to just pay for a baggage fare?
Isn't Flyertalk all about maximum benefit and minimum cost?
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Old Jul 31, 20, 9:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve in Olympia View Post
Isn't Flyertalk all about maximum benefit and minimum cost?
It's different things for different people. Not everyone here is a 'rinser' ; )

I've noticed that those that are quick to recite the 'cost-cutting is in our DNA line' could often be readily understood to be speaking about themselves.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 1:38 am
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Originally Posted by Anonba View Post
call me old fashioned but wouldnt it just be easier to just pay for a baggage fare?
It is but plans change. I had no intention to check in my luggage until my friend gave me a bottle of Prosecco as gift!
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Old Aug 1, 20, 1:40 am
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Thanks for sharing your experiences, still contradictory words so I probably won't bank on it next time
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Old Aug 1, 20, 1:51 am
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I was told yesterday at an F checkin desk that it's always possible as long as the bag would ordinarily be small enough to be taken into the cabin (i.e. hand baggage size).
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Old Aug 1, 20, 2:10 am
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Originally Posted by ThatT1Feeling View Post
I was told yesterday at an F checkin desk that it's always possible as long as the bag would ordinarily be small enough to be taken into the cabin (i.e. hand baggage size).
Yes, as noted for LHR (and NCL pretty much always did it). And previously LGW but LCY never allowed it, nor did most out-stations on the mainland and Ireland. Again it's a policy waiver and doesn't allow for more cabin bags than your allowance. You can add bags to an HBO fare online in both MMB and OLCI.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 2:11 am
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Originally Posted by ThatT1Feeling View Post
I was told yesterday at an F checkin desk that it's always possible as long as the bag would ordinarily be small enough to be taken into the cabin (i.e. hand baggage size).
As others have said, I donít think itís a formal rule; In practice, you get 100% success rate at lhr if indeed your bag meets all hand luggage requirements, but I think thatís a ďlocalĒ policy (there are a few). Outstations are far more variable, and if you are told that you have to pay the airport checked luggage fee, I donít think youíll have a leg to stand on.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 2:34 am
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Originally Posted by Anonba View Post
call me old fashioned but wouldnt it just be easier to just pay for a baggage fare?
Not when there have been large notices displayed at Heathrow (and possible Gatwick) which state you are welcome to check in hand baggage for free in UK and short-haul routes, as long as the bag is no larger than usual hand baggage allowance. I think it's reasonably fine to discuss this here without jibes about paying for baggage, if in fact it seems to be a London airport policy, just not advertised online. I called through to BA once and they checked with the airport team, who confirmed to me this was standard in London - and I've never had an issue even on less busy flights. This of course could have changed recently. Discussed before here:
Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
No the signs are still there, there are 6 of them along T5, though 2 of them were moved slightly over to the side. Here is what they say:

Hand baggage allowace

If you are departing LHR or LGW and you baggage is inside the HBO size limits then you can check your bags in for free in the usual way. But you can't use this to increase your 2 bag HBO limit and it applies to trips within Europe. It is not just for busy flights, from LHR or LGW.

In other scenarios such as departing from mainland Europe you normally need to get a text and SMS from BA allowing this. At the gate (past security) most places are OK for you to gate check bags unless the flight is half empty.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 4:57 am
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I asked here a few weeks ago whether the LHR policy still exists in these Covid times, but didn't get a reply. So I tweeted BA and they confirmed that checking in hand luggage on short-haul flights is allowed at LHR free of charge. Other airports only when emailed that the flight is busy (which is unlikely right now). LGW allowed it, but that's not relevant at the moment as there's no BA flights from there. (Easyjet charges £7; free on some "3" mobile plans.)
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Old Aug 1, 20, 5:20 am
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Originally Posted by strayersong View Post
It is but plans change. I had no intention to check in my luggage until my friend gave me a bottle of Prosecco as gift!
And here is my take. This is where I think it changes from being hand baggage to checked baggage (all be it hand baggage sized checked baggage).

There seem to be 2 main ways in which the checking of cabin baggage can be offered to HBO ticket holders.
  • At the gate when a call is made as a way to free up space in the cabin and overhead lockers when it becomes apparent there may be issues securing space for everyone who's turned up.
  • In the terminal at the check-in desk on particularly busy services where BA knows in advance that they're going to be operating full, they generally send a text in the hours leading up to OLCI opening inviting you to do so.

Just because someone has bought you a bottle of bubbly that you're trying to get around the liquids policy wouldn't really qualify as a reason to open up the above to you.

You're not able to gate check because you have liquid over 100ml and the flights not warranted as being busy enough to have the official waiver applied (presumably this would require some sort of supervisory sign off as a lost revenue stream?)

As you point out, sometimes plans change. BA allow for this in their fare structures allowing you to buy restricted or flexible fares with or without baggage. You are able to add on checked baggage after ticket purchase and at a lower rate than when OLCI opened. Or pay at the airport at a slightly higher rate. But I'm guessing you didn't want to do either of these.

It sounds as though the check in agent made a discretionary decision and allowed you to check your bag in the terminal for free. They didn't have to do this to you on a HBO fare which I think was a good call for all concerned.
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Last edited by 1Aturnleft; Aug 1, 20 at 5:37 am
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