Passengers & SLF (Self Loading Freight) If you are regularly a passenger on any airline then why not post your questions here?

LHR T5 Sunday 19th Dec

Old 23rd Dec 2021, 00:09
  #1 (permalink)  
Paxing All Over The World
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hertfordshire, UK.
Age: 65
Posts: 9,643
LHR T5 Sunday 19th Dec

This is a long story but might be interesting to those who are travelling soon or may need to change their plans. For those that have had to do so in recent weeks, this will be nothing new. Also, of course, this only refers to BA and T5.

A friend of mine was due to fly to MUC with BA on Wednesday 22nd, to stay with relatives for the season. They were all then going to visit friends in AMS and she would return from there, whilst the others drove back to MUC.

When The Netherlands closed their borders, my friend tried to change her booking online but the BA web site said she couldn't. She rang BA reservations but, of course, such queues and time to get through - she was not able to. So she decided to try at the airport or, even, once in Germany.

On Saturday 18th, her family messaged urgently to say that Germany was closing their borders in 24 hours time at 23:00 GMT on 19th - could she get on a flight? As this information was breaking at around 01:00 on the 19th there was not much time. Naturally, trying to change online or via the call centre was a waste of time. As I am a Night Owl, she phoned and I agreed to pick her up and get there for 05:30. That bit all went fine as the roads were empty.

The first big surprise was that BA had saved money and there was no longer a ticket desk in T5. I am sure this saved them a lot of money but it certainly gives customers a problem. The agent at the start of the check-in 'snake' was very helpful and said that we could ask the desk agent if they could help, otherwise, the only option was to phone reservations.

We were extremely fortunate that the desk agent we got was totally briiliant. He said he could help and with his screen and on the phone to reservations, they have a hot line. He spent some 15 minutes sorting out the change to the outbound for the midday flight and changing the return from AMS open-jaws to MUC. My friend paid the extra couple of hundred pounds and THEN the next problem.

You have to have a pax locator form filled in online and this had to be brought forward. We stepped aside from the desk whilst she did this and the agent got their next tricky case because ... there was no ticket desk!

Filling in the form on a small mobile phone was difficult and time consuming. I realised that, when I am due to travel in six weeks time, to do this on a full screen computer. Of course, you cannot fill in the form until you have a flight and the boarding pass cannot be issued until you have filled in the form... Eventually that was done and the agent took us back, found the vital ref number he needed and printed the boarding pass.

During this we had been discussing the problem of possible PCR requirement. The previous rules which were operative until 23:00 that day said 'no PCR' but would German Border people ask for one because of the new rules?

We checked the PCR supplier (Express Test) and the person managing their queue said you have to book online first. But all booking slots were taken for the day. He suggested we try at the other terminals but they were also fully booked. We were very surprised that the company did not accept 'walk ups'. I established that they send all their samples off site to a central facility, presumably on an industrial estate near by, so was that facility fully booked for the day? We shall never know. However, they said No and turned away many other people too, so they are losing a lot of money. Given that they have space in three termiinals they must be paying HAL a fair amount and might be pleased to have a higher return.

I found another company running tests at one of the airport hotels and, amazingly, they had a phone number. Except that it went to a machine. My friend decided to risk it and headed off. Her next problem was a 90 minute delay of the inbound machine caught in fog at GLA and then 30 minutes delay as no baggage handlers. On arrival in MUC, the Border staff knew the rules and she sailed through.

All that was left was to contact her boss and say that she would be working from home on Monday as agreed(!) but could she work from home on Tuesday as well? Happily they agreed.

So:
1) BA could save their customers a lot of problems by reinstating a ticket desk - even if only at peak travel times. This would leave the check in desk agents to do what they they are paid to do and get the queues moving. Thus, if you are travelling from T5, make sure you don't need any changes to your ticket as the desk agent is not obligated to be as helpful as ours was. I have sent a compliment to BA through their web site, having taken a quick photo of his name card. I hope that he is complimented for helping the pax and not criticised. Make sure you are just going to Bag Drop as the desk may be clogged with ticket problems.

2) Express Test should think about expanding their testing capacity and putting a card payment machine on the desk where the two staff could use it. If they made a surcharge for walk ups, people would pay.

PAXboy is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2021, 00:54
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Blighty
Posts: 4,784
It is perhaps worth noting that last weekend, slots in London for commercial Covid test providers became very difficult to obtain at short notice. This may be because of "distribution issues" with lateral flow tests from the NHS meaning pharmacies were out of stock, a surge of people flying due to the Xmas rush, and a recent increase in the number of countries wanting negative test paperwork for travellers to be able to enter their border. I am not surprised that the test provider at Heathrow was turning people away

Last edited by davidjohnson6; 23rd Dec 2021 at 01:18.
davidjohnson6 is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2021, 10:10
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: EHEH
Posts: 42
Now I know why I took the simple option of just not travelling anymore while all this nonsense goes on. Nevertheless, respect for your perseverance PAXboy!
FUMR is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2021, 21:17
  #4 (permalink)  
Paxing All Over The World
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hertfordshire, UK.
Age: 65
Posts: 9,643
Thanks for that dj6. I knew about the LFT shortage but, yes it may have affected PCRs too.

Each destination country has its own locator form, of course, and want different details. We are due out through T5 in early February, so I hope things will be more stable by then.
PAXboy is offline  
Old 25th Dec 2021, 01:24
  #5 (permalink)  
Paxing All Over The World
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hertfordshire, UK.
Age: 65
Posts: 9,643
A 'ps' about testing.Sky News report:
"You have to question why we're still running PCR tests," said Professor Alan McNally at the University of Birmingham, who helped set up the first government Lighthouse Lab.

"It's taking longer for a PCR result to come back than it's currently taking for the epidemic to double," he added.
Sky News
PAXboy is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2022, 06:07
  #6 (permalink)  
Paxing All Over The World
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hertfordshire, UK.
Age: 65
Posts: 9,643
My friend returned from MUC on Monday. She tells me that, on arrival there on the Sunday 19th Dec, she was told to take a PCR test - it does not matter what the rules say, just do as the person on the desk says or you are not going any further. So that was 80. and the trip went fine.

She was notified on Friday (I think) by email that her return flight had been cancelled and she could either have a voucher or a refund. The online booking system said it could not help, so she had to phone. They rebooked her on a different flight number that happened to leave with 15 minutes of the one that was cancelled. That flight was supposed to have operated the previous evening as the last out on Sunday but was showing officially delayed until the Monday morning. So when checking the flight for being on time, I was shown that it was running 10 hours late, until I unpicked the web - with the assistance of FR24 telling where the aircraft actually was!

Last Sunday evening, she went to check in on the new flight number found that the suitcase she had paid for had not been transferred with the changed flight. Providing proof of earlier payment did not suffice and she had to pay about 80 at bag drop and will have to argue the toss over phone and email.

The flight operated at the new/delayed time and was not too full. She had to take another PCR test in the UK, just the day before they are all cancelled. She tells me that it was great seeing her family but ...
PAXboy is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.