Heathrow ChaosBack to Forum
Wow, was Heathrow in melt-down last night!!
We flew Auckland – Amsterdam with Cathay and then used Avios to book AMS-LHR-GLA with BA. Why Amsterdam? Because of the fantastic price we got with Cathay. Why BA? Because burning a few surplus Avios seemed like a good idea at time of booking!!
Anyway, we checked in very early in Amsterdam, well aware that Storm Dennis could create problems for us later in the day.
However, the inbound arrived only about 20 minutes late and we boarded maybe 30 minutes late at 14.30, the Captain seemed to be in extended discussions at the gate about cargo weight. We were then given a slot an hour late but that was OK, all things considered. We had plenty of time at LHR.
Off we went, were in a hold pattern for an additional 30 minutes and landed at 16.00, about 90 minutes late. Our gate at 5A was occupied and it was then that the fantastic Captain (who kept us 100% informed of what was going on) told us of the computer chaos across all 4 terminals. The plane at our gate could not leave because of baggage issues so, eventually, we headed off to 5B to a gate which was free. fine but there was nobody to switch on the guidance system or operate the airbridge because the scheduling system was down and the back-up was very slow. Eventually we disembarked 100 minutes after landing, with my BA app telling me that the Glasgow flight was scheduled to leave in 10 minutes so we gave up on that.
Got to T5 transfers to find absolute chaos with a massive queue for help. I was lucky and pushy and got assistance from a BA staff member who then could not get through on his telephone help line to check the status of our flight and booking – the screens at Heathrow were down as well!! He advised heading for the First check-in Desks (I am Gold) which we did. Massive queue there too, a mixture of check-ins and re-bookings. Again I was super-lucky or pushy and got past this to find that all further flights to Glasgow (and, indeed, all short-haul) had been cancelled. However, amazingly enough, our helper found out that our original flight from A6 was still there (because the computer could not allocate a bus and A6 is a bus gate!!) to we hoofed it through the Lounge, past massive queues throughout the Terminal and off-to A6 where final boarding was in process. I checked on the way down and was assured that our bags were on board….
Made it back to Glasgow about 2 hours late but on the last short-haul flight to depart on Sunday – everything else was cancelled. No luggage but that, I guess, is a small price to pay for the up-side of getting home.
As an aside, I have been trialling the Harrier baggage tracking system for BA – has anyone else been doing this? I am not sure how helpful it would be for passengers except to tell you that your bag had arrived. This it did for me in HKG, AMS and LHR but each time with decreasing battery power left in the device. It was down to 19% by the time we got to LHR and that is the last I heard from it…. So there is a real design issue for BA to sort out here – just when I need it to tell me or BA where my bag is, the battery appears to be dead.
BA staff were fantastic – the Captain on BA435 from Amsterdam, the staff members at T5 transfers and in the First area, calm and helpful and, for once, this was not a chaos of BA’s making. Undoubtedly, my Gold status got me round the horrific queues so I will never again question the value of elite status again. Without it we would have had to join the massive queues, would have missed our flight, been stuck in a hotel and be trying to get a re-booking some time later today….17 Feb 2020
As an aside, I have been trialling the Harrier baggage tracking system for BA – has anyone else been doing this? I am not sure how helpful it would be for passengers except to tell you that your bag had arrived. This it did for me in HKG, AMS and LHR but each time with decreasing battery power left in the device. It was down to 19% by the time we got to LHR and that is the last I heard from it….
TominScotland – As someone who uses bag trackers (currently using the Gego unit), are you able to comment or post pictures of the Harrier unit? Glad to hear you got home safely..17 Feb 2020
We flew Auckland – Amsterdam with Cathay and then used Avios to book AMS-LHR-GLA with BA. Why Amsterdam? Because of the fantastic price we got with Cathay.
No wonder given CX’s declining load factors.17 Feb 2020