Priority Steam Bath

Old Jul 25, 22, 10:49 am
  #1  
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Priority Steam Bath

Travelling on the BA519 just now, LIS-LHR, delayed a little bit by a late inbound. Gate was chaotic, A321 using one of the LIS bus gates (down the stairs in the middle of the terminal, on to the bus). The length of the group 1 line was truly astonishing, at which point I decided to just not bother and board last - worst case the backpack goes under the seat.

Tiny moment of anxiety as the bus pulls up next to a tap aircraft, not the BA aircraft next to it. At this point I realise that the first four buses were still parked next to the BA aircraft with all passengers on the buses. Judging from the time boarding started I would guess that the first few passengers in group 1 had a good 35 minutes of standing and roasting in the Portuguese sun (ok buses are air conditioned, but let that not stand in the way of a good story).
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Old Jul 25, 22, 10:54 am
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A common thing in Lisbon from my experience. Had similar in 2019. Followed by no food or drink on board.

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Old Jul 25, 22, 1:02 pm
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
Travelling on the BA519 just now, LIS-LHR, delayed a little bit by a late inbound. Gate was chaotic, A321 using one of the LIS bus gates (down the stairs in the middle of the terminal, on to the bus). The length of the group 1 line was truly astonishing, at which point I decided to just not bother and board last - worst case the backpack goes under the seat.

Tiny moment of anxiety as the bus pulls up next to a tap aircraft, not the BA aircraft next to it. At this point I realise that the first four buses were still parked next to the BA aircraft with all passengers on the buses. Judging from the time boarding started I would guess that the first few passengers in group 1 had a good 35 minutes of standing and roasting in the Portuguese sun (ok buses are air conditioned, but let that not stand in the way of a good story).
This ALWAYS happens. Apparently its cheaper for BA to be assigned remote stands. Often theres jet bridges available but they still opt for busses.
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Old Jul 25, 22, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by mmogdan View Post
This ALWAYS happens. Apparently its cheaper for BA to be assigned remote stands. Often theres jet bridges available but they still opt for busses.
what hurt was to see Vueling parked at a gate, though I assume it was a Schengen gate, so not really a 1:1 comparison.
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Old Jul 25, 22, 2:22 pm
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Originally Posted by mmogdan View Post
This ALWAYS happens. Apparently its cheaper for BA to be assigned remote stands. Often theres jet bridges available but they still opt for busses.
Sorry, it happens more often than not, but that isnt always.

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Old Jul 25, 22, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by DoctorCopper View Post
Sorry, it happens more often than not, but that isnt always.

Doc Copper
I was more referring to the bus experience. If its a bus gate, youre always shoved on a bus and made to wait on the bus parked next to the aircraft. Its a very poor customer experience.

In the short haul Terminal (T2), you just walk out of the terminal and up the stairs to the EZY plane. No waiting on a bus.
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Old Jul 25, 22, 2:31 pm
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Same with the BA503 last week. Same scrum at the bus gate, same line of buses waiting on the tarmac alongside the plane whilst it was cleaned. After a while one of the ground agents opened the bus doors to let in some fresh air, whilst asking everyone to stay on the bus.

The resigned silence on the bus was punctuated by a shrill, very posh voice broadcasting “this is absolutely disgusting” comments towards the gate agent. And everyone else.

The timetable allows a 55 minute turnaround here, which is way too ambitious for a full A321 and the capabilities of the ground operation.
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Old Jul 26, 22, 4:22 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
Travelling on the BA519 just now, LIS-LHR, delayed a little bit by a late inbound. Gate was chaotic, A321 using one of the LIS bus gates (down the stairs in the middle of the terminal, on to the bus). The length of the group 1 line was truly astonishing, at which point I decided to just not bother and board last - worst case the backpack goes under the seat.

Tiny moment of anxiety as the bus pulls up next to a tap aircraft, not the BA aircraft next to it. At this point I realise that the first four buses were still parked next to the BA aircraft with all passengers on the buses. Judging from the time boarding started I would guess that the first few passengers in group 1 had a good 35 minutes of standing and roasting in the Portuguese sun (ok buses are air-conditioned, but let that not stand in the way of a good story).
Chinese traveller here, is it the same bus for Group 1 and the last group? In China, premium passengers(Technically only First and Business, but sometimes they will invite Platinums and Golds as well when there is seat vacant and there is not much platinum and golds) generally(if not a sudden bridge-remote change) will be invited to board another Coaster type of vehicle(We refer to this as 小车, or "Small Car") parked next to the main bus at the gate that will guarantee a seat for everyone on the bus. I remember going on a 20-minute nonstop car ride around PEK for the HU 787 flying PEK-CAN, it isn't fun, but not much to suffer. Also, one time, on my PEK-CAN flight on CA, the original A333(one of the older ones with Angle-Flat) that was scheduled was put out of service, delaying the flight by three hours, until CA somehow found another A333 returned from International service(Europe route ones, fully lie-flat seat) and fetch everyone on buses, without offering separate coaster for premium passenger, and a lot of premiums I heard flied complainants because of the lack of small bus.
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Old Jul 26, 22, 4:56 am
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Originally Posted by rt23456p View Post
Chinese traveller here, is it the same bus for Group 1 and the last group? In China, premium passengers(Technically only First and Business, but sometimes they will invite Platinums and Golds as well when there is seat vacant and there is not much platinum and golds) generally(if not a sudden bridge-remote change) will be invited to board another Coaster type of vehicle(We refer to this as 小车, or "Small Car") parked next to the main bus at the gate that will guarantee a seat for everyone on the bus. I remember going on a 20-minute nonstop car ride around PEK for the HU 787 flying PEK-CAN, it isn't fun, but not much to suffer. Also, one time, on my PEK-CAN flight on CA, the original A333(one of the older ones with Angle-Flat) that was scheduled was put out of service, delaying the flight by three hours, until CA somehow found another A333 returned from International service(Europe route ones, fully lie-flat seat) and fetch everyone on buses, without offering separate coaster for premium passenger, and a lot of premiums I heard flied complainants because of the lack of small bus.
All just shoved on a normal bus.
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Old Jul 26, 22, 7:47 am
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If it makes you feel any better, a few months ago I transited LIS twice on TAP. Of the 4 flights, 3 were bus gates.

Lisbon has far too few jetty stands to be able to accommodate everyone that wants one. Could BA pay more and insist on a terminal stand? Maybe, maybe not. But also changing airlines won't guarantee you can avoid the bus either.

Last edited by shefgab; Jul 26, 22 at 9:49 am
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Old Jul 26, 22, 8:36 am
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Lisbon is a small airport for the volume of traffic that it handles, this has been the case since the 1980s at least. The airport is right in the centre of town and there is no room to expand. Numerous proposals to close Portela (the existing facility) and to build a new airport have been made, including converting a military base up in Ota https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ota_Airport. The latest plan is to shunt a lot of the low cost traffic to a new temporary airport at the airbase in Montijo, while an entirely new airport is built at Alcochete https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Lisbon_Airport Now, your guess is as good as mine as to how this will all work out, bearing in mind budgetary constraints, the redesign of the entire Lisbon area airspace, and the minor matter of both 'new' airports being next to a huge estuary with migrating birds, habitats, etc. etc.

Anyway, I have taken the BA 500 / 501 regularly since the mid 1980s and it's always a bus gate, mainly due to TAP wanting all the hard non-Schengen stands for their longhaul widebody departure bank each morning. There's not really much BA can do about it even if they tried. Be thankful it's normally a remote stand in the maintenance area, rather than on the midfield apron which is a *long* bus ride away.
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Old Jul 26, 22, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by shefgab View Post
If it makes you feel any better, a few months ago I transited LIS twice on TAP. Of the 4 flights, 3 were bus gates.

Lisbon has far too few jetty stands to be able to accommodate everyone that wants one. Could BA pay more and insist on a terminal stand? Maybe, maybe not. But also changing airlines won't guess guarantee you can avoid the bus either.
I am confident BA could pay more, but i am also much more confident ba won't pay more
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Old Jul 26, 22, 9:17 am
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LIS has been under renovations for quite some time, expertly organised as always in Portugal. The non-Schengen area was temporarily reduced in size while new gates were constructed and these new gates then used for Schengen flights for a time. The great thing then was that you pull up to the terminal, thinking you got lucky with a gate position, only to be faced at the top of the gate tunnel with stairs back down to the tarmac and a bus waiting to take you to the other side of the terminal you just parked at.

This is largely complete now, and if BA are still using bus gates, it is almost certainly because they choose to. Although I have not flown BA from LIS recently, all my TAP, Lufthansa and Swiss flights from LIS in the last month or so have been direct gate flights.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 1:29 am
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Originally Posted by shefgab View Post
If it makes you feel any better, a few months ago I transited LIS twice on TAP. Of the 4 flights, 3 were bus gates.
I know that bus gates are a reality at LIS (and many other airports) - my point was more that BA filled the first bus and then had people waiting on the bus in front of the plane for over 30 minutes. Luckily I was on the last bus, so only had to wait a few minutes.
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Old Jul 27, 22, 3:05 am
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Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
Although I have not flown BA from LIS recently, all my TAP, Lufthansa and Swiss flights from LIS in the last month or so have been direct gate flights.
Shorthaul Schengen flights are far more likely to have hard stands than shorthaul non-Schengen flights.

I can see that the last two arrivals of the BA500 parked up at the midfield apron.

If you look at TAP LHR-LIS, of the last 6 arrivals of the TP 1363 (scheduled at 0840), only 1 has been on a hard stand. 2 were on a remote stand south of the terminal building, 3 were in the midfield.

It's just a very busy airport in the mornings with very few non-Schengen hard stands.
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