Reply To: British Airways A319 Club Europe

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I connected onto this 17.40 flight from T5 to Geneva from a domestic service. I was enjoying my time in the First Lounge when, at about 16.55, the flight indicator board signaled “Boarding” for BA736 from Gate B34. While this seemed very early, I assumed that this was because of the need to get all passengers over to the B gates in good time. So I made my way to the train and arrived at B Gates at about 17.10, only to see that the gate had changed to B32 (no real issue) but that the sign had been down-graded to “Gate Open”. As there was no activity in the vicinity of the Gate, I headed upstairs to the Lounge where I enjoyed a facility I had not previously used. On checking in to the Lounge, I found myself upgraded to Club Europe so things seemed to be looking up! The ‘Boarding” sign reappeared about 17.25 and I went back downstairs – nothing much had changed.

A few minutes later, gate staff announced a gate change and led us, pied piper-like back to Gate 34 where we all anticipated boarding…… No such luck although the gate staff were not going to share any information with us. A uniformed BA captan, just off a flight from las Vegas, was on our flight and it was she who shared information with us about a delay due to the late arrival of the inbound aircraft. How lone we would have to wait was unclear. A vague announcement about a short delay was made but without any precise information
on departure time.

About 18.30, the Captain appeared and tried to use the PA to update us. This failing, he gathered us around and informed us of the need to change a tyre and the consequent delay of a further delay of between 45 and 60 minutes. I returned to the Lounge in order to sort out arrangements for that night as I was now likely to miss my last train connection from Geneva. No sooner was I searching hotel options, when “Last Call” announcements were made in the Lounge (contrary to policy) and those of us who had migrated upstairs rushed back down to find the aircraft fully loaded except for ourselves.

All in all, a strange afternoon of inaccurate information and a lack of information. Some tempers did fray and I must say that the lack of accurate information was unnecessary, especially as the gate staff showed little interest in or sympathy for their customers.

Anyway, ensconced in my OK but not special Club Europe seat, we took off some 90 minutes late. Service was good and the light meal of cold cuts was excellent and tasty. A quick flight meant that we landed just 75 minutes late and I was able to make the last train to Sierre. This, however, was all of 5 minutes late and the train crew were repeatedly apologetic for this (in Swiss terms) unforgivable transgression.

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