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BA Check In desks wrongly reporting full flight

BA Check In desks wrongly reporting full flight

Old Oct 27, 2023, 6:09 am
  #1  
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BA Check In desks wrongly reporting full flight

Hi there,

My first post, long-time lurker.

Had an interesting one this morning. Was booked on the 15:35 from LHR to BHD today and wanted to change to an earlier flight, so did the usual check on MMB this morning and it was allowing me to change to the 11:55 flight, not the 13:15. I was holding out for the 13:15 so I did not avail of the opportunity to change to the 11:55, instead planning on getting to T5 and seeing what the check-in agents could do for me.

It is worth mentioning that I had been checking Expert Flyer this morning to get an overview of any spare seats on these flights, and they were showing a handful available across them, so I was hopeful of some form of success.

Fast forward a couple of hours I arrived at the LHR T5 CE check-in area, at exactly 10:55, so enough time to drop my bag off if I was able to change to the aforementioned 11:55 flight... Anyway, I enquired about changing my flights and I was told that all flights until later in the evening were fully booked. This came as a surprise given I had seen available seats just an hour earlier, but of course, I am well aware that things may have changed in the time that proceeded.

Apologies for the long introduction and context, but this is from where my curiosity peaks, and hence, my question finally stems. Seconds after being told I was out of luck, I quickly went back on to MMB and was able to change my flight to the 13:15 flight, in front of the check-in agent, not seconds after they had told me it was full. Was it a case of them being wrong? Were purposefully not allowing me to change flight? Any other reason perhaps?

In a classic British manner, I avoided a confrontation and did not question the agent as to why I was misinformed, hence why I am now humbly before you all, alas, I would be grateful to hear anyone's thoughts, concerns or anything else.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 6:15 am
  #2  
 
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the 1315 BA1416 is zeroed out
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 6:20 am
  #3  
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Welcome to Flyertalk and welcome to the BA forum.

The 11:55 was the first flight of today to BHD, thanks to an earlier cancellation some weeks ago and a weather cancellation of 09:30 service. Consequently the now delayed 11:55 is totally full and probably has been since yesterday.

That weather cancellation is affecting connections so I would say that the loads on these flights will be shifting from minute to minute. As things stand the first service with availability is the 18:15 and your 13:15 is now full. It closes shortly but it's possible that space will open up and then fill up in the remaining minutes. To get on the 11:55 then being at the desk at 10:55 is probably on the edge anyway, 10:50 would be better even though the deadline is 60 minutes.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 6:22 am
  #4  
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First flight this morning was cancelled, next two 100% full, few seats available later in the day.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 6:22 am
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unoccupied seats in Expert flyer a few hours before departure is not a good sign of whether a flight is full or not

currently no unoccupied seats in Y now for the BA 1416

one unoccupied seat in J. as the flight is zeroed out it could be a no show or they may still check in in the next few minutes

it is quite possible the situation changed if other delayed flights meant someone was going to miss their connection onto the 13:15

Last edited by scottishpoet; Oct 27, 2023 at 6:27 am
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 6:55 am
  #6  
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Thanks all for the responses, they are all making sense however I am not sure they fully answer my question.

I was at the check in desk from 10:55 to 11:00 and this was when the agent informed me that all flights were full. However as I was standing in front of them, at this same time, was when I was able to select the 13:15 flight on MMB on the BA app. I told the agent this and she was surprised that I was able to. So I did indeed select it and obtain the boarding pass there and then.

So my question is (and apologies if this has been answered and I have misunderstood) why was the agents system at check in showing the flight as full at the same time I was able to select a seat?

I know I only have a limited number of posts but thought it was important to clarify this. Thanks
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 6:59 am
  #7  
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The flight may have been under control of flight connections rebooking customers, it’s not easy to see what’s going on with a flight even for staff.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 7:00 am
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Originally Posted by jud_mc
Thanks all for the responses, they are all making sense however I am not sure they fully answer my question.

I was at the check in desk from 10:55 to 11:00 and this was when the agent informed me that all flights were full. However as I was standing in front of them, at this same time, was when I was able to select the 13:15 flight on MMB on the BA app. I told the agent this and she was surprised that I was able to. So I did indeed select it and obtain the boarding pass there and then.

So my question is (and apologies if this has been answered and I have misunderstood) why was the agents system at check in showing the flight as full at the same time I was able to select a seat?

I know I only have a limited number of posts but thought it was important to clarify this. Thanks
I think you are asking people to guess. In theory physical check-in would have access to the same inventory as you do changing your flight online. Did you check the flight availability to see what the availability was on expert flyer?

Of course, although rare, it is possible that you just happened to check seconds after someone was rebooked due to a late departure of a connecting flight and the inventory changed from the person on check-in checking.

Alternatively, they may have checked the wrong day or just made an assumption based on seeing the actual loads/how many oversold it was without checking the inventory.

Either way, I doubt we will actually find out why, but thankfully you got the flight you wanted and can enjoy the lounge.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by jud_mc
It is worth mentioning that I had been checking Expert Flyer this morning to get an overview of any spare seats on these flights, and they were showing a handful available across them, so I was hopeful of some form of success.
Also just to be absolutely clear, seats showing as empty on an ExpertFlyer seat map does *not* mean that there are unsold/available seats on that flight. It just means those particular seats are as yet unallocated. The flight could be way overbooked and sold out.

If you were looking at the *inventory* on ExpertFlyer (only in the paid version), that shows what is available inventory, but that can also exceed the number of seats on the plane.

The simplest way to see if BA is actually willing to offer a seat on a slight is to see if it's available for booking on BA.com, but again that doesn't necessarily match other channels.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by scottishpoet
unoccupied seats in Expert flyer a few hours before departure is not a good sign of whether a flight is full or not

currently no unoccupied seats in Y now for the BA 1416

one unoccupied seat in J. as the flight is zeroed out it could be a no show or they may still check in in the next few minutes
the 13:15 now shows every seat in j and y as occupied
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 7:41 am
  #11  
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Welcome to the forum! That does sound like an odd experience at the BA Check-In desks. It's possible there was some miscommunication or a system glitch at play. Hopefully, it was just a one-time issue, and you won't encounter it again in the future.
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