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Anonymous14 Jun 2016
I travelled on BA0563 from Milan Linate to London Heathrow on British Airways in June 2016. I was travelling in the Euro Traveller Cabin.
I arrived at BA check-in area at around 15:55, having taken an Uber from the centre of Milan. This was a good way to travel to the airport as I was dropped right outside the terminal building and it was only a few meters to the British Airways check-in area. There were long queues for both priority and regular check-in. Neither queue was moving. After a few minutes I managed to speak with a manager/supervisor who told me and several others that they were only allowing check-in for passengers on the earlier 14:20 flight. I did query why it wasn't possible for them to check in two different flights simultaneously but I was told that check-in had to be 'done in sequence'. I was in the queue for nearly 1 hour before I was finally allowed to check in. The process was slow: the check in agent took 2 calls whilst I was at the desk, although she was polite and made sure I had directions to security and the lounge. Interestingly, there was a plastic stand on the desk containing passenger letters about an industrial dispute that had occurred about 2 weeks prior. Security was relatively quick and I spent the last of my remaining Euro at duty free. I then made my way to the BA Galleries lounge. Quite bizarrely there was no agent at the entrance desk. As the toilets were outside I passed by the desk a couple of times – both chairs were pushed under the desks and there was not a single member of BA staff to be seen……!
Thankfully, the lounge was quiet and only about half full. There was a fairly limited selection of food: fruit bowl, crisps, nuts, mini pizzas, pastries and a few sandwiches. A couple of the sandwiches I tried were quite dry and hard around the edges and had clearly been there for several hours (a couple of others tasted much better). There was a machine with decent coffee and a range of soft drinks, wines and a few spirits – albeit it definitely seemed more limited than other BA European lounges I'd recently been in. I made myself a final Aperol Spritz; one bright spot was an unopened and well chilled bottle of prosecco. The flight was delayed until 16:25.
Departure was from gate B28 and boarding of the priority queue was already well underway when I arrived. A couple of non eligible passengers were turned away. A bus was waiting directly outside the gate entrance and I was one of the first people onboard using 1L a few minutes later. The aircraft was an Airbus A319. There was a pleasant good afternoon greeting from the male pursuer. I was sitting in seat 10A, which is a window seat in the emergency exit row. The middle seat was unoccupied throughout the flight, so I think I ended up with more space than Club Europe passengers. I was relieved to see the overhead locker was completely empty. As on the outward flight, I recognised and gave a knowing nod to a member of a crew who had served me on a recent flight (and with whom I spoke with quite a lot). The captain made a short announcement at 16:25 to say the flight had been further delayed. The second bus load of passengers finally arrived at 16:30 and the usual hand baggage pandemonium ensued of bags been transferred between lockers and people searching for space whenever possible. Boarding completion was announced at 16:37 and the captain made an announcement shortly afterwards: there would be a short taxi; the route involved passing over the Alps as well as Zurich and Basle, flying conditions would generally be fine, although the weather in London was poor. Take off was finally at just before 5pm. There were good view on our ascent, including of the Unicredit building and the Republicca area. At 5:15pm service started and there was a choice of a pastrami sandwich and a cake in a box and a medium mezze salad with cous cous and falafel. This was followed by the usual bar service, with a second round of drinks being offered shortly afterwards. The rest of the flight was uneventful and smooth. I read and listened to music. The flight landed at about 17:30 UK time. There was a good view of the airfield on arrival, including several A380s and three BA 747s in OneWorld livery. We finally arrived on stand at T5A at just before 17:40. There was a long line for passport control but I was through the e-gates in about 10 minutes. Baggage arrived at carousel 8 within 5 minutes of arrival and with the priority label attached.
In summary, the ground experience was poor, even slightly bizarre at times. This journey was the longest delay I've ever experienced at check-in. Once board the service was attentive and the food and drink offered were fine. I will be giving serious thought to travelling with Alitalia on future trips to Italy – they might not be any better but I'd be interested to see how they compare!14 Jun 2016
You might find the revamped Alitalia worth a try. I’ve been on four times in the last couple of months and it’s almost unrecognisable compared to this time last year. The Etihad influence is certainly showing. Crew seem to be proud of what they are doing with a new sense of purpose.14 Jun 2016