Delays with BA and at LHR

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  • frustratedflyer
    Participant

    Just returned from a nice holiday in the Maldives. Sadly the worst part of the trip were the delayed flights.

    The journey out saw our BA flight being delayed whilst we were at the airport. No real information or reason was provided for the delay. The delay and then circling at a congested Male airport meant missing the seaplane connection, being put on a domestic flight and boat for the transfer and arriving at the resort rather tired and irritable almost 7 hours late.

    The return saw us booked on a seaplane that got us to Male Airport just over 4 hours before our scheduled departure time. Before we left the resort we saw that the BA flight was delayed (I presume due to leaving LHR late) but there was of course no option to change the seaplane flight. This then meant closer to 7 hours at Male airport. The pilot did apologise for the delay but again no explanation was given. The delay pushed the arrival at LHR back until closer to 1.00 am.

    At LHR I assumed we would have a swift passage through the airport. Arriving at B gates the transit train was not running (due to it being the middle of the night) so walking through the underground tunnels to the main terminal was the only option. Border Force did a good job of opening up the e-gates and three manned desks. In the baggage hall the belt allocated by LHR was at the north end of the terminal where the customs lanes were closed meaning all passengers has to walk to the south customs gates. A small niggle but shows how little thought is put into things. BA baggage handlers I assume met their KPI by delivering the first bag on the belt in reasonable time but then there was quite a long wait for the next batch including my premium tagged bag.

    This left me thinking that LHR certainly don’t deserve the newly inflated passenger fee for their ‘premium’ service. BA needs to be better at communicating with passengers as to why delays occur and if they have 11 hours warning of a late flight which is the only one in the terminal at the time at least be prepared! Finally if my experience of seaplanes at Male is anything to go by either stay at a resort with a boat transfer or avoid Manta Air which operated my seaplane service.

    Anyone else had similar experience with BA or at LHR?

    8 users thanked author for this post.

    pheighdough
    Participant

    frustrated flyer, I believe the reason for the extensive holding when nearing Male was that there was a pothole on the runway which needed repairing and was an ongoing issue for a few days. Couple that with the apron only being able to handle 6 aircraft, and congestion and holding ensue.
    The outbound delay from Heathrow may have been a shortage of tug crews to get you plane from the maintenance area to the stand, and i think this is an ongoing problem.
    There’s no excuse for crews etc. not communicating with passengers though

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Yet again BA customers have experienced baggage delays at LHR.

    This Sky news report is from December 20.

    https://news.sky.com/story/british-airways-apologises-to-passengers-hit-with-baggage-chaos-at-heathrow-airport-12500949

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    Be thankful you weren’t due to fly with BA to Buenos Aires yesterday – 22 hour delay!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    … and thousands of passengers without their luggage


    onajetplane
    Participant

    I landed from DXB on BA last week (almost 2hours late – no explanation given) and had to wait 1.5hours for bags to come on to belt from landing. Zero issues with clearing border control. I then flew out to BHD from LHR a few days later, only to board the plane and be told by the pilot that there wasn’t enough ground staff to let us push back and depart due to COVID infections and thus we were delayed… I guess the new realities of travel in the Omicron spike!

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    I wonder if this is just a BA / LHR issue…
    Carnage yesterday evening at MIA (after an hour plus delay at LHR in part down to supposed tug crew issues). A baggage hall full to the rafters, a fight between 2 Brits well past their prime over alleged theft of position around the baggage belt and in excess of 90 mins for bags to appear.


    maxgeorge
    Participant

    BA 268 LAX-LHR Dec 19

    Departure 3hrs late

    No ‘heads up’ beforehand, no explanation afterwards.


    MikeManx
    Participant

    This is entirely a Heathrow issue. When flights started picking up again, all the companies that handled the ground side of the operation did not bring back enough staff. The whole operation is now badly understaffed – aircraft cleaners, baggage handlers, air bridge operators, and tug crew.

    BA should be kicking off about this, but from the total lack of explanations from desk staff and flight crew, they are not.

    Every long haul flight I have made from Heathrow in the past six weeks has been badly delayed – the outgoing by lack of cleaning staff and push-back crew, the incoming after landing by a supposed shortage of gates and then no bridge operators.

    My destination airport on every occasion had no such delays, unless the incoming from Heathrow came in badly late because of the above.

    It has got worse this past week due to Omicron absences, but the problem was there for 6-8 weeks before that.

    How the owners of Heathrow expect to cope with a return to full flight schedules, I don’t know.


    Nickberry
    Participant

    I can only concur with all the comments re baggage and flight delays. We travelled back on 19th Dec from Hamburg into T5 with an hour delay. Bus took 45 minutes to arrive but the baggage hall was like a third world airport. No information/thousands of passengers sitting on the floor and the staff had no idea what was going on. We were given forms to deliver our luggage to our homes but thankfully we waited and the bags turned up 2 hours later! BA really need to get the airport owners to give them better service …and us.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Montysaurus
    Participant

    No doubt Heathrow performance will improve given the 50%+ increase in landing charges – or perhaps not.


    esselle
    Participant

    A lot to unpick here.

    BA used to run their own buses to/from aircraft. If still the case and buses are late, is this a HAL issue?

    Most ground handlers (ramp, baggage handlers etc) are contractors. Do BA use their own contractors, or are they required to use those appointed by HAL?

    If it takes an age for bags to get from the hold to the belt, which part of the chain is at fault? HAL evidently run the baggage movement systems, but are they responsible if the bags accumulate in the hall, or is the airline, in this case apparently BA?

    If there are hundreds/thousands of bags in the hall and nobody is there to provide answers/advice, and you were a BA passenger, who should be dealing with the issue for you, BA or HAL?

    I am not defending either of them, but it would be good if there was some clarity as to who was responsible for all these shortcomings.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    It’s happening to other airlines and at other airports as well, of course

    US and Australian airlines cancel hundreds of flights after Omicron causes staff shortages

    Passengers face travel disruption on Christmas Eve as coronavirus variant affects journeys

    I feel so sorry for those who are trying to get home or visit people for Christmas (domestically, via rail, as well as internationally).

    U.S. Lifts Africa Travel Curbs; Xmas Flight Chaos: Virus Update

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    This is entirely a Heathrow issue. When flights started picking up again, all the companies that handled the ground side of the operation did not bring back enough staff. The whole operation is now badly understaffed – aircraft cleaners, baggage handlers, air bridge operators, and tug crew.

    I thought BA did its own ground handling at T5?

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Things don’t seem to be improving.

    Staff shortages and engineering works wreak havoc on travel plans

    ‘British Airways has been forced to cancel 43 flights today because of “operational constraints”. It axed 50 flights yesterday at Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport. There have been 76 flight cancellations at the airport in the past 24 hours.’

    Although in perspective, more than 7,000 flights were cancelled over the Christmas weekend, mostly in China and the US.

    ‘China Eastern was forced to cancel more than 400 flights yesterday, while Air China cancelled 193 services. In total, more than 2,000 flights were cancelled yesterday on top of the 5,100 cancellations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.’

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