BA AND BAA STILL HANDLING HEATHROW T5 ISSUES BADLY: My experience when the baggage system breaks

London Heathrow Terminal 5

No-one can forget the fiasco that was the opening of British Airways Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. The baggage system went into meltdown and hundreds of flights were cancelled.

At the time BA came under pressure for their poor and sloppy ability to inform and keep passenger briefed.

Today I experienced how poor they are at this.

I was flying from Terminal 5 to Beijing. I had checked in online and all I had to do was drop my suitcase off. And there the drama and stress began.

There were massive queues as the baggage system had broken down. And every now and then an announcement was made saying the same thing, which was nothing. All it said was the baggage system was down and they would resume check-in “soon”.

This was very unhelpful. Should we wait? Were they delaying flights until people could check in? What should you do?
Staff knew little and it soon was clear flights were not being delayed and you would miss your flight. Time kept ticking by and after about an hour and half it was clear I had to act fast. As there was no information, a time for dramatic choices!

Luckily my partner happened to be about to drive past Heathrow on his way home from seeing family in Oxford. So he diverted, I hurriedly rammed some clothes into my hand baggage discarding toiletries, and other clothes. Rushed through security to meet the “40 minutes before flight rule” they kept blaring also as an announcement.

In the end the flight left an hour late, leaving at least 50 people behind who sounded like they may have been trying to get through security. It was so badly handled. Unlike when there are delays on Eurostar who constantly update and give options.

You would have thought BA would have learnt and have a procedure. It is all about giving information and telling people their options.

The captain apologised. Seems they also were as left in the dark through the process…

Once on the plabne, as usual, BA crew are great. I liked the trip from then on…

Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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