Priority baggage handling for BAEC Gold/Silver?Back to Forum
Anonymous21 May 2013
Does anyone know the actual policy for priority baggage handling tags for BAEC Gold/Silver flying economy? I’ve taken a dozen or so flights with checked luggage in the past year on BA and the agent always tagged my checked luggage with a priority label, even though flying economy. Yesterday at T5 gold/silver check-in, I had three different stories: first the agent told me no, it is only for first/business passengers, and she refused to tag my bag. After, I spoke to her colleague, who told me yes, I am entitled to priority baggage handling (but too late as my luggage was long gone). After a snafu at security which sent me back to the check-in desks, I asked a third staff member, who told me she didn’t know, but it doesn’t matter anyway as priority is only given to first/business class passengers which the “system” recognises with or without the priority label. (I personally find any “system” suspect at Heathrow, but that is what she said.)
So what’s the truth? Are the labels purely for show and I shouldn’t waste my energy or should I insist on this “perk”? I went back to look at the BA website, and curiously it is coy about this benefit for silver or gold members, and refers only to business/first check-in rights and priority arrival baggage services (whatever that is), and does not refer to priority tagging and handling. If anyone knows, I’d be grateful, and perhaps BA staff can learn as well.
The irony is that on arrival, my ordinary tagged, economy class bag was one of the first on the belt!
flydrive21 May 2013
I have always been tagged with priority tags when flying domestic and the odd premium long haul I have taken. However it does make sense that electronically the baggage may just be recognised if it is business or first and the other tag is just a smoke screen to keep everyone happy.
I often find that it is just pot luck when your bag appears, I am always on edge that it won’t. 🙂21 May 2013
Well this is a tricky one and I also found myself in the same situation as you in the past flydrive.
It does not mention anything about premium baghage delivery on the Executive Club site, only that you can use the Club Check in if you are Silver and FIRST check in if you are Gold and that you can also use the Premium counters specifically at T5 if your bag is lost or damaged, not sure if that is such a massive benefit though.
Fact is sometimes they put a priority label on my bag when I travel in Traveller, sometimes they do not. But they always do when I fly in premium cabins, so sadly no consistency here. I was also told before that the label out of LHR makes not the slightest difference as the bags get sorted by the barcode on the actual bagtag and then prioritise them into the Premium Containers if you are travelling in a Premium Cabin. However on some routes, especially on European and Domestic flights there simply is no premium Container which probably was the case when your bag came off amongst the first even though it was not labelled. At some outstations, where the BA flights are handled by non BA staff they simply do not make the effort and prioritise bags, sadly.
So yes I agree it is very hit and miss and inconsistent but then again, so far, luckily, I never had to wait too long for my bags. Hipe my lengthy posting makes sense.21 May 2013
I have never felt that my baggage, when tagged as priority by BA, regardless of travel class, ever arrived as a priority. There are other airlines that I know for sure that my bags will be out first, but with BA it is always pot luck as HongKongLady also mentions.
In terms of whether the bags for Silver/Gold should be tagged – I find that to be at the discretion of the staff at check in. There does not seem to be anything mentioned in the benefits section for Gold/Silver other than the following for Silver and similar for Gold:
“Leave the queues behind
Your Silver membership opens up access to worldwide priority check-in desks, priority boarding and other services, whatever cabin you’re flying in. As a result, you can spend more time in the lounge or on the plane and less time standing in line.
•Access to Club World, Club Europe and equivalent oneworld business-class check-in desks
•Priority at Baggage Arrival Services desks
•Priority over Blue and Bronze Members on reservation waitlists and airport standby lists”21 May 2013
I absolutely agree that, tagged or not, there is no certainty at all that, as a premium pax, your bag will be one of the first onto the belt.
Even where baggage is handled by BA staff, it is a bit of a lottery. Where handling agents are involved, even more so, no matter the details of the service level agreement.
It takes a bit more time, and requires a bit more organisation, which means it costs more money. QED.21 May 2013
We usually prefer to have our luggage not labelled with priority labels as it seems to be a challenge for some baggage handlers to have it appear last on the belt!
HKLADY is correct, it is a bit of a smoke screen and I’m like you HKLADY, I am always on edge until the last bag arrives! I don’t care so much coming home, and in fact it is quite usual for some of our luggage not to make it back with us connecting up here from LHR, even when flying First. And of course no-one ever tells you or pages you when they know full well your luggage is not on the aircraft, but rather let you stand and stand at the baggage carousel. And it’s a real nuisance when your driver is waiting and you then have to face the non-BA agents to try and get some sense of when your luggage is going to appear.
The DH mostly travels with hand luggage only, but a girl simply cannot do that! 😉21 May 2013
Papillon53, I have to say that the last time my luggage didn’t make it, which was at UVF in June, I had a text message from BA waiting for me when I landed, informing me that the case didn’t make it, which was impressive, however what ensued was just a disgrace but I will not go into that here!21 May 2013
Thanks for all your comments/suggestions. A few other thoughts:
1. Both Star Alliance and Sky Team have priority baggage handling for Gold members. This is explicitly mentioned on their websites, and I have always been given priority tags on either of these alliances as a gold member, even flying economy. Granted, this may not translate into faster delivery, but it is at least a promised benefit.
2. Agreed that the priority label may not help, but it shouldn’t do any harm and I would have thought (maybe wrongly) it is better than nothing.
3. Papillion, actually on AF and KL, I have been told on a flight that my luggage would not be arriving (due to a short connection from LHR, undoubtedly). Still doesn’t help that you arrive without luggage, but at least you can march straight to the helpful staff who can sort you out and send you on your way rather than wait for the entire 747’s hold to be emptied.
I guess I am just looking for clarity of what is offered on BA. I would also like to take up the actual carrying out of the “priority” treatment, but that is for another time.21 May 2013
Flydrive – I think I will carry out an experiment next time we fly in F. I will ask for one bag to be tagged priority and the other not and see what happens! I will blame you if either one doesn’t turn up!!! LOL! Or maybe I should do it on the way home – just in case (oh dear ….. ….;-) …)
I suppose that doesn’t help if you are Gold/Silver travelling in Y, but it would still be interesting.
We would be connecting onto a UK domestic from our F international, so we will see. I will report back.21 May 2013
I don’t often check a bag when travelling on business, but for longer trips I have noticed an improvement recently when arriving at Heathrow, with bags often arriving as I get to the belt.
Outstations are a different matter. The T5 baggage system certainly segregates bags, so there’s no excuse for it.
For a long time, baggage handlers at Heathrow were notoriously Communist and would refuse to give F & J pax’ luggage priority. Something must have changed when they moved to T5.21 May 2013
Papillion, an interesting take on your “experiment”: on my flight yesterday, as I picking up my economy, untagged, Antler bag nestled in with the other “priority” bags first off the belt, a couple standing next to me were grumbling as they had flown first and only received one of their Louis Vuitton bags… the other, presumably also tagged first and LV, was nowhere to be seen. God only hopes it was not slumming with the economy bags… Needless to say I felt a twinge of satisfaction as I sauntered off and left them waiting…21 May 2013
As a gold member travelling economy I have always had bags tagged as biz on EK, and I can’t remember the last time bags didn’t come out first. I am not sure whether this means BA are using different baggage handlers?21 May 2013
for shorthaul, I dont think it makes a bllnd bit of difference. Longhaul is very hit and miss.
The only airline where I know priority tagged bags will come off first in Thai First in BKK!21 May 2013
Completely agree with HKL – it all depends on your luck!
In my experience as a Silver/Gold EC Member, my bag has always been tagged with the priority luggage (even on redemption economy flights) but there has never been any consistency in how quick you get your bags from the belt even when I flew on business.21 May 2013