View Full Version : Security at boarding on BA

6th Aug 2003, 22:05
I flew LHR to VIE yesterday morning and returned in the evening.

I managed to board both legs with the wrong ticket and not once was I stopped or slightly quizzed.
What actually gets checked when you board...just the date?
If they are this lax about the flight coupon how do they expect to be able to check all the passports properly too!

It was quite an (accidental) eye opener.



Angus Meecoat
6th Aug 2003, 22:27
Your're a wind up merchant LHD. There is no way you would have got past check in or got a boarding card with the wrong ticket.

Yes if you used the self service then why check in for another flight with a wrong ticket, what are you trying to prove.

Even if you did use the SS, all the BA flights I work on or been on you would not get passed the gate with the wrong boarding card, its all automated, and you would not get past the cabin crew on boarding without the correct boarding card.

Once checked in you do not have to show your ticket again.

Confirm you didn't have the correct boarding card for the VIE and you may sound credible

Notso Fantastic
6th Aug 2003, 22:37
And were you trying to get to Lisbon?

6th Aug 2003, 23:21

On the contrary, I accidentally used the return e-boarding card for the outbound and vice versa. On the outbound leg the ticket was even processed through the little box at the gate (although not on the return).

No wind up which is why I was so surpised.



7th Aug 2003, 05:54

You are obviously dissapointed that you are wrong on this occasion. My post wasn't to "diss" BA only to highlight the fact that I managed to board a flight with a coupon not for that flight. If you do not believe me then I am more than happy to provide you with an independant (non aviation) witness.



7th Aug 2003, 06:23
Last year I flew to Alicante from Manchester, and one of my friends a police man, had a pen knife in his pocket:hmm:
It was for his pipe but security didn't find it:eek:
I know WE should have known better but it highlights how lax the checks can be.
On the same flight (air 2000) two people boarded our flight to find their seats occupied, untill they discovered they where on the wrong aircraft:eek:
I have also just returned from Turkey the checks there are very stringent, but the man on the gate checked my passport against my boarding pass... But the boarding pass did NOT have my name on it, or any of my details so he was just going through the motions. As a lot of security people do:oh:

Golf Charlie Charlie
7th Aug 2003, 06:30
I am sure PA38 is right about security personnel going through the motions. Only last week I flew a 4-flight journey in Western Europe. There had been a discrepancy whereby the airline mis-spelled my surname, so the ticket/boarding pass name was moderately different from the name in my passport. No big deal, perhaps, and I don't really blame the people involved who are under some pressure, but I was a bit worried someone might have spotted it. Not a bit of it - went through four separate check-in/security procedures at three airports.

7th Aug 2003, 07:33

If your boarding card was, as you say, passed through the ATB machine at the gate it would have been rejected. The technology has been in place for many years. The flight would not have reconciled and would have not departed, simple as that.

7th Aug 2003, 11:12
Ain't machines wonderful...they never make mistakes:hmm: :ooh: :yuk:

7th Aug 2003, 14:09
Not very often in this case.
In the last two years of having to check boarding cards, I have never had somebody reach the aircraft with the wrong boarding card due to a computer glitch. Though sometimes passengers seem to have a small collection of cards in their pockets and hand me the wrong one. Sure enough the correct one appears when I tell them their going no further. In that two years of shorthaul flights with three to four flights a day six days a week (excluding hols and days off) I think thats a fairly reliable system.

7th Aug 2003, 15:00
Back in Nov 2001, my wife managed to board a BA flight from Newcastle to Heathrow with an out of date passport after passing through 3 seperate security checkpoints, then passed through a further 2 checks at Gatwick before the BA staff at the boarding gate finally noticed the error (at the 6th attempt) and correctly refused her boarding the flight to Phoenix.

Given this took place a matter of weeks after 9/11 on a US bound flight when security was about as paranoid as it could possibly be, highlights that the system is far from infallible. Whether a deliberate attempt to breach security would have the same outcome is open to question.

Extremely embarrasing for both BA (and my wife, who should have checked her passport was valid some time before), who very kindly flew her out on the flight the folowing day FOC after she had purchased a new passport.

Notso Fantastic
7th Aug 2003, 16:25
If your wife was flying a domestic sector, then the passport was just used as an identification confirmation at Newcastle. Photo ID is all that is required. Don't you think if people are idiotic enough to set off without a valid passport to the USA then they deserve to forfeit their seat and airfare? Exactly whose 'embarrasment' is it? This really has become a 'hold your hand let us do everything for you- we'll tell you if your passport is out of date' world, hasn't it? Reminds me of that Abbey Nat TV advert: "....because the world's so complicated!" How nice of BA to let her go the following day.

Lefthanddown:<<You are obviously dissapointed that you are wrong on this occasion. My post wasn't to "diss" BA only to highlight the fact that I managed to board a flight with a coupon not for that flight. If you do not believe me then I am more than happy to provide you with an independant (non aviation) witness.>>............I would like to follow this up and report it to our Security section. I would like to take this up as it is obviously of concern if as alleged. Could I have full flight details- no., date, route, and any of the relevant paperwork you still have.

Scottie Dog
7th Aug 2003, 16:57
I don't know which side of the bed you got out of this morning - or maybe your just on your way to it after a long night.

witchdoctor had already said that it was his wife's fault for not checking that her passport was valid. I am sure that we all have made mistakes - like checking the details on our tickets to ensure that the name haas been spelt correctly etc etc.

witchdoctor was obviously very pleased that BA has allowed Mrs Witchdoctor to be carried the following day FOC and has said so.

I am suprised - if being through checked at NCL - that the passport was not checked properly by the agent, since this acceptance would have allowed baggage to be put on the connecting flight. If the domestic flight was on another ticket, then the document was obviously not checked correctly at LGW. Eitherway a fundamental error was made.

I fully accept that the job of checkin and security becomes monotenous however, with the closure of HM Immigration checks at departure, these people become the only means of checking that documents are valid. How much more embarrasing to arrive in a foreign country with an out of date document and be refused entry and then put on the next flight home.

Scottie Dog

7th Aug 2003, 17:35
It is also hardly a valid photo ID if it is out of date! Bear in mind that the staff at Newcastle are not British Airways employees but a ground handling agent, who should themselves take the blame in this case.

Surely that it is checked so many times in order to identify errors (that were noticed eventually) proves that human errors occur and that the system does work if it was identified.

Notso Fantastic
7th Aug 2003, 17:47
I would be mortified if I tried to travel with an expired passport. I would not be announcing to the world "How embarrasing for BA...." that travel was commenced on a domestic flight, with the passport just being used for identity confirmation by various airport security operatives. The system works- she was stopped from actually boarding to the States- where it counted. There was no embarrasment on the part of BA, just like there is no embarrasment to Tesco if you do a big shop and then discover you have left your wallet at home. I have used an expired passport as proof of identity at banks- as far a Newcastle was concerned, the lady had adequately proved her identity and had no need of a valid passport to allow her to travel to London. It really was her fault alone. To impugn the airline for this is going a little far. Sometimes people really have to be responsible for themselves.

my manner may be brusque. In the interests of brevity, one has to type different to how one says things. Face to face, it would have taken me 5 minutes to get around to pointing out what a daft thing to do and was it really anybody else's fault? But it would have been said nicely .

Captain Airclues
7th Aug 2003, 17:56

There is no requirement to have a valid passport on a BA Domestic sector. Photo ID is only required when collecting a paper ticket and does not need to be a passport. Many people travel on domestic flights who do not even possess a passport let alone an invalid one. Therefore there was no requirement for the Newcastle staff or security to check the validity of the passport.
It would be different if she had been through checked, but as there is no through checked baggage transfer between Heathrow and Gatwick, the Newcastle to Heathrow sector would have been treated as purely domestic.
I'm pleased to hear that the BA staff at Gatwick picked up the error, and that you were subsequently looked after so well.

The regulations can be found in the 'questions and answers' section of www.ba.com


7th Aug 2003, 18:38
Back to the original post though, in my experience, it is not uncommon for passengers to make it onboard the wrong aircraft, with or without electronic systems. The facts are, no system is 100%, including electronic systems. All we can do in the industry is try to get as close to 100% as we can. Once we think that we have achieved 100% security, we will just be proved wrong. So, as a passenger the best thing that you can do in a situation wher you think that the process has failed, is to point it out to those concerned, so that appropriate measures can be taken. And for the record I dont think that the standards of boarding checks is any different between handling agents and in-house staff. I have workied with both, and both have the same mix of professionalism / apathy whetever.

7th Aug 2003, 20:04
As usual we have the hyped up wails of those who do not quite understand the system and how it works unable to realise the difference between security and administration. It matters not one iota if someone boards an aircraft with an out of date passport or the wrong ticket stub but whether it was intentional and if so, was there an ulterior motive to commit an act that could harm the other passengers, crew, aircraft or whatever.

You can get on any aircraft with a loaded gun if you like but if there is no intent to use the weapon then it really doesn't matter except to show that there was a lapse in security checks somewhere. However, if you manage to get on board armed only with a hefty bottle of duty free alcohol and your intent is to commit an act of piracy then it becomes an issue.

Without proper, non-PC passenger profiling and I don't mean the often trotted out "did you pack your bags yourself or did anyone give you anything to carry for them?" you don't have proper security. With all the fuss being made about the visible searches with indiscriminate removal of hair pins etc, the authorities fail to provide the necessary level of security and would rather spend all their money on limited means which appear to the travelling public as though they have actually done something but in reality can be easily outmanouvered by anyone determined enough to try.

The original post in this thread is slightly misleading. The pax did have a ticket and was named on the manifest. Just because the wrong portion of the ticket may have been used is not really a security issue as there was obviously no intent to mislead and no intent to do harm to anyone. It is a huge step from a journalist proving how futile security is in some areas by smuggling a fake gun or a concealed knife on board a parked aircraft or even an actual flight and then actually using said concealed weapon to try to take over the aircraft.

I would worry more about someone who should not be in this country getting in without any identity checks who then intends to recruit or incite others to perform acts of terrorism. As an example, and I hope someone from either BAA or other responsible authorities get in touch with me abot this, earlier this week I and others managed to arrive on an international flight into Terminal 3 at LHR and then got to board a domestic flight at Terminal 1 with no immigration or customs checks whatsoever between disembarking at T3 and leaving the Terminal at my domestic destination. Apart from a security check which involved showing a valid ticket and X-raying hand baggage, no other form of check was required and that included inspection of passport. As far as I am concerned, it is possible for someone to arrive from outside the UK or EU who may not want it to be known they are in this country and are able to do so with ease and impunity. I won't give the details on here but sufice it to know that I doubt it is a loophole that isn't known about amongst those that are likely to exploit it. :*

8th Aug 2003, 15:12
No need to apologise old chap - said pretty much the same thing to her myself when she rang me in Phoenix to explain why she wouldn't need picking up at the airport. Obviously I said it in that loving husband understanding sort of way.;)

Nothing against BA either - I happen to think it was rather decent of them to fly her out FOC as it was her mistake - just expressing surprise that so soon after 9/11, when people were really paranoid about security, she got as far as she did.

Anyway, don't want to divert a thread to one about my wife's passport. Carry on everybody.

9th Aug 2003, 00:06
Pax have handed me both wrongly pulled coupons and also incorrect boarding cards at check in and when boarding a flight. This seems to happen a lot more during holiday season and I can see how easy it is for someone under pressure to clear queues to accidentally pull the wrong coupon/check in the wrong person/wrong flight/throughcheck baggage on a connecting flight when there is in fact a stopover. I've come close on a few occassions myself.

However, this is usually picked up on and I can't see how someone would use this "loophole", if you can even call it that, to get round security. It isn't common place, and is obviously unpredictable as to when it occurs. I wouldn't be screaming about security breaches on this one. As many others have said here, there are far greater problems.