Heathrow Delays

Old Sep 4, 2021, 12:42 pm
  #1  
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Heathrow Delays

today was a DAY! MAN-LHR, easy enough.

first, MAN security was a disaster. queue was not long so i was optimistic. i had two carry on bags--one with my normal electrics which i put in a bin with my plastic baggie. this bag is always packed the exact same, so it is my normal routine. well the security guy was yelling and making everyone pull out every single electronic...and my larger duffle had a blue tooth speaker, electric toothbrush etc etc. fine, pull ALL that out.

go thru the detector fine and then i see a massive crowd of dozens waiting for their secondarily screened bags. the duffel i was worried about now sailed through and my every-flight bag did not. long story short i stood waiting for 40mins for them to swab that bag and there was not a single "wrong" item, she said it was my WALLET that set something off. now if you saw, it was only these two security lanes that had literally dozens of secondary bags...no other lanes. made it to the gate (142) with minutes to spare before doors closed. no chance to check out the aspire obviously.

great flight. great crew. even got a personal welcome during service lolol.

Now LHR: landed at 345pm, early of course. wait for traffic to clear and pull up to gate A-1 t T5. sit on board for approx 20mins because there was no one available to connect the jetty. the pilot says we are at the end of queue to get someone but that they may have found someone that was just clocking out for the day and hopefully we can skip the queue. his words.

deplane at 415pm. fine, whatever. now the wait for the bags....it was 530pm when i finally left bag claim. that means it was 1hour 35mins from the time we rolled up to the gate to the bags being delivered. how is everything falling apart on what id imagine is a relatively quiet saturday at LHR??

oh and finally i took the heathrow express. left on time, pickup from T2/3 and we get moving to come to a stop still in the tunnel. naturally the smoke alarm went off in the toilet and we were halted until they could investigate and once we got moving again it was very slow going and the ride ended up taking just shy of 40mins.

so it was one of those days!


(i had to check bags before the usual people come around "oh i never check bags" thats great for you!)

Last edited by VSLover; Sep 4, 2021 at 12:51 pm
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Old Sep 4, 2021, 4:02 pm
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I can't understand why someone would fly MAN to LHR when their destination was London. There are too many things that can go wrong and you are fixed to the schedule you booked.

Why not drive or catch a train - what am I missing?

My rule is " A drive < 5 hours" wins over a flight (unless its a day round trip)
Fly non stop over connection if drive is less than 2 hours each way at destination
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Old Sep 4, 2021, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by SteveinA2
I can't understand why someone would fly MAN to LHR when their destination was London. There are too many things that can go wrong and you are fixed to the schedule you booked.

Why not drive or catch a train - what am I missing?

My rule is " A drive < 5 hours" wins over a flight (unless its a day round trip)
Fly non stop over connection if drive is less than 2 hours each way at destination
voucher to burn. dont drive. but i should have prefaced my op with people saying take the train! lol

also not helpful.

Last edited by VSLover; Sep 4, 2021 at 5:32 pm
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Old Sep 4, 2021, 5:54 pm
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MAN is a joke, wish BA flew LBA still - Id happily commute further for that airport
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Old Sep 4, 2021, 6:05 pm
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Originally Posted by PGberkshire
MAN is a joke, wish BA flew LBA still - Id happily commute further for that airport
i was warned from the separate MAN thread...but surviving that i was shocked by the ground delays at LHR. i mean nearly 2hrs combined of delays after landing from a 35min domestic flight is just not a good look and anyone connecting, well we know their bags almost assuredly did not make it.
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Old Sep 4, 2021, 9:17 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by VSLover
today was a DAY! MAN-LHR, easy enough.

first, MAN security was a disaster. queue was not long so i was optimistic. i had two carry on bags--one with my normal electrics which i put in a bin with my plastic baggie. this bag is always packed the exact same, so it is my normal routine. well the security guy was yelling and making everyone pull out every single electronic...and my larger duffle had a blue tooth speaker, electric toothbrush etc etc. fine, pull ALL that out.

go thru the detector fine and then i see a massive crowd of dozens waiting for their secondarily screened bags. the duffel i was worried about now sailed through and my every-flight bag did not. long story short i stood waiting for 40mins for them to swab that bag and there was not a single "wrong" item, she said it was my WALLET that set something off. now if you saw, it was only these two security lanes that had literally dozens of secondary bags...no other lanes. made it to the gate (142) with minutes to spare before doors closed. no chance to check out the aspire obviously.
Oh MAN security are quite incredible when it comes to making their own rules up. It's the only airport I've been to where they absolutely insist that any outerwear HAS to go in a separate tray which creates a massive backlog on the belts at the other side. At any other airport where I've had to separate things out into separate trays has literally been due to lack of space in said trays...

They'll shout and scream at passengers until they're blue in the face for not following the 'rules', whilst failing to appreciate that the majority are once a year fliers who actually just need a friendly pointer in the right direction, then blame us all like naughty children because the secondary delays are entirely our own doing.

I say that, if any of us frequent flyers can't get it right by their invented standards, then there's no hope for anyone. As another poster said, it's a terrible shame they dropped LBA. Pleasant airport, pleasant staff and pleasant lounges. I hate MAN with a passion.
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 1:05 am
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Originally Posted by PGberkshire
MAN is a joke, wish BA flew LBA still - Id happily commute further for that airport
But they need the route for all the plastic Mancs from London to go to Old Trafford
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 1:47 am
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Originally Posted by davidcamp6
But they need the route for all the plastic Mancs from London to go to Old Trafford
and the significant number of business and leisure passengers connecting at LHR.
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 1:58 am
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Sorry can someone direct towards the separate MAN thread referred to above, as I can’t find it. Thanks
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 2:30 am
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Sorry to hear of your challenging trip yesterday OP.

I fly MAN-LHR fairly regularly (home is Manchester, work Lomdon).

With work being in west London, it is quicker door to door for me to fly than go by train, and the west coast service has gone downhill in their offering in recent years (predating its switch from Virgin to Avanti). In normal times, the route has been really efficient, although I do agree that Manchester is not the most friendly of places. Id add to the frustration about MAN that they keep moving the BA check in desks to different locations in Terminal 1 and the accessible lane for security, which also doubles as a staff security lane, is currently only open for staff and not customers with accessibility needs; apparently they think people are mind readers with the illuminated signs still pointing customers in the wrong direction and dont mind making said customers who have mobility issues who dont necessarily need a wheelchair walk the breadth of the terminals multiple times.

The use of T3 gates is another additional slog.

My last experience following the security alert at Heathrow was a! hour wait to deplane and baggage we were then told would take a further 2-3 hours, so I elected to escape. On the plus side, BA have kindly funded some essentials whilst I then waited for my bag.

These issues are being compounded of late by staff shortages- I wonder how much of that is a recruitment freeze/redundancies and how much is pressure from high sickness rates from the pandemic.

in short, the train is easier at the moment, particularly going MAN-LHR, although things arent too bad going the other way flying. It is a useful way to chip away at TPs whilst some of the usual Long haul trips arent running, but definitely worth not booking theatre tickets on the night of the MAN-LHR leg.

Originally Posted by mycity68
Sorry can someone direct towards the separate MAN thread referred to above, as I cant find it. Thanks
potentially referring to this one, although there are multiple MAN threads

BA experience at Manchester
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 2:45 am
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Heathrow are having staffing problems which given past performance, I would say is of their own making.

Returned from GLA on Friday and first 5 oversized bags appeared on the belt at 29 minutes (is the KPI 30 minutes by any chance). Remaining bags appeared at 50 minutes. It was faster to get the bags from Glasgow to London than it was for them to get from A2 to belt 1.
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 6:07 am
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Its good to hear that normal levels of service have resumed. I dont know why this is happening when the airport is operating with so few flights but I expect its a mixture of:-

1) Its staffed according to planned capacity - you cant suddenly bring people back online at full utilisation at a moments notice. I expect they had to do a plan based on a reasonable case scenario (whilst also keeping a handle on cash expenditure given there are fixed costs whether youre running one or a hundred flights) and all the chopping and changing at government level has made planning and managing staff rotas very difficultespecially if some managers and staff have moved on, others are rusty, and presumably to get airside passes etc back DBS checks need to be sorted, new inductions on h&s and so on and so forth need to be done. Its not a 5 day lead in time!

2) Border delays - if passengers arent being cleared at the border, presumably, bags arent being collected from the belt. So this then means theres no space to unload the next flight, especially if a limited number of ground staff are waiting to offload the previous flight etc. IE a delay anywhere in the passenger flow has a trickle through effect.

3) Maybe bookings are now higher than the models had predicted?!

4) BA being BA. For as long as I can remember there have been random delays due to lack of a red cap TRM/TRC. Anecdotally things are either great at LHR - on a good day, it is a world class airport experience. On a bad day it is less goodmay be linked to 2.

Bluntly, it sounds like they need to stop being so tight and bring staff back ASAP. Just in time for more restrictions, or something, no doubt - this is the issue! How can you plan?

Ben (Lucky) from OMAAT described it as a complete clusterf**k https://onemileatatime.com/insights/..._jspC020VWEYjo

Last edited by IAMORGAN; Sep 5, 2021 at 6:26 am
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 7:20 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by IAMORGAN
Its good to hear that normal levels of service have resumed. I dont know why this is happening when the airport is operating with so few flights but I expect its a mixture of:-

1) Its staffed according to planned capacity - you cant suddenly bring people back online at full utilisation at a moments notice. I expect they had to do a plan based on a reasonable case scenario (whilst also keeping a handle on cash expenditure given there are fixed costs whether youre running one or a hundred flights) and all the chopping and changing at government level has made planning and managing staff rotas very difficultespecially if some managers and staff have moved on, others are rusty, and presumably to get airside passes etc back DBS checks need to be sorted, new inductions on h&s and so on and so forth need to be done. Its not a 5 day lead in time!

2) Border delays - if passengers arent being cleared at the border, presumably, bags arent being collected from the belt. So this then means theres no space to unload the next flight, especially if a limited number of ground staff are waiting to offload the previous flight etc. IE a delay anywhere in the passenger flow has a trickle through effect.

3) Maybe bookings are now higher than the models had predicted?!

4) BA being BA. For as long as I can remember there have been random delays due to lack of a red cap TRM/TRC. Anecdotally things are either great at LHR - on a good day, it is a world class airport experience. On a bad day it is less goodmay be linked to 2.

Bluntly, it sounds like they need to stop being so tight and bring staff back ASAP. Just in time for more restrictions, or something, no doubt - this is the issue! How can you plan?

Ben (Lucky) from OMAAT described it as a complete clusterf**k https://onemileatatime.com/insights/..._jspC020VWEYjo


your points make sense but what i cannot grasp--from the most basic common sense perspective--is that they know exactly how many passengers will be landing next saturday. yes it will deviate, but not to such a significant degree to cause the delays across many areas. its this basic principle i cant wrap my head around. for BA it may be the mess mentioned above with people still on furlough and poor planning.

for border force, well i dont know if anyone will ever understand how THAT planning is done!
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 7:32 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by VSLover
well i dont know if anyone will ever understand how THAT planning is done!
They (Border Force) don't care how long we wait. They are not measured on performance from that viewpoint - although once they were and had ludicrously long processing targets.
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Old Sep 5, 2021, 7:33 am
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Do these long queues and delays impact only arrivals at LHR, or do they impact connections as well? And is it at all terminals? Because a family member needs to connect at T5 international to domestic (MAN), theres currently a 2 hour connecting time - but concerned that the person would miss the connecting flight due to these horrendous queues!
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