NEWS: British Airways and T5 luggage implodes again

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So this is the follow-up to my review of the new Club Europe menus and my flights to and from Heathrow which you will find published Sunday morning.

We arrived at Heathrow on time and made it through passport control quickly as well. Then it all started to go wrong. There was no baggage belt showing for our flight and the list of baggage belts did not seem to be updating plus it was very full.

So I headed downstairs and was shocked as I entered the baggage hall. At this point it was around 9pm, 20 minutes after we landed. There were people everywhere. I can honestly say that I have never seen so many people in the baggage hall. People were sitting on the floor, lots more were gathered around the screens still waiting for a belt.

Eventually we got a belt and headed off. As nothing was happening I sat to the side and my heart began to sink. People next to me had landed hours ago and were still waiting for luggage. There was a huge queue at the BA desks. Some people had been told that they would not get their luggage and to fill in a paper form.

Baggage hall at T5

There was zero information from British Airways or Heathrow. There was a lot of anger at BA in the hall and rumours of a baggage handler strike (seems unlikely at short notice).

Finally after waiting for another 30 minutes an announcement came on saying that they would shortly be going through all the flights that would not receive their luggage today. 25 flights were read out. Mine was one of them. No apology or explanation was given. That really was what got me. How hard is it? We were basically told to leave the terminal and file a claim online.

I could see that my bag had not left the plane on the remote stand as I have an air tag. It was so frustrating to be able to see it sitting there and do nothing. I don’t want it delivered as I’m not going home for a few days. Now I have nothing but the clothes I am standing in, my laptop and my medication.

I am still hoping there is a chance I can collect it from the terminal but it’s slim. Sadly this is not a one off. On 20th February there was a similar baggage meltdown over the weekend of the storms. Passengers then were told to leave the terminal and their bags would be sent on. BA blamed the weather but many said they had been told it was down to a shortage of ground staff (also a weekend).

If things are this bad now, what is going to happen when flights really ramp up? And why is it so hard to give an apology and an explanation? Thoughts on a postcard…


I will keep you updated.

35 Comments on "NEWS: British Airways and T5 luggage implodes again"

  1. Dreading flying back from Tenerife later today as I can’t see the situation improving? Luckily I am going back home so they can deliver it as I can make do without the items in the bag (apart from the Jack Daniels hidden in a towel) what happens if you simply leave the airport and the baggage turns up on the carousel? Would they still deliver it?

    • Yes I think as long as you file the report you should be ok given the situation.

    • I was caught in the IT crash in February, no joy with customer relations. People loosing there @“!? In the Concorde room. I was only offered a hotel in LGW. Put on a flight to home to MAN on the Sunday to get a text at midnight it’s been cancelled. BA gold line said get the train home, no seats on the shuttle until Monday afternoon. Cost me a fortune in sorting it all out. No overnight kits either. Staff were amazing, but the pressure there under is shocking. T5 baggage hall was carnage, families in tears Bags from all over the world just being taken off the belts for to be identified. After 1 hour I found mine airside and went to the hotel. Home a nice 48 delayed from JFK.

  2. I’m so sad to hear about this. I won’t check bags with BA anymore after my horrible experience in November 2019 when my bags were lost and never found,
    I hate to say it, but Alex Cruz destroyed this airline in the same way that Frank Lorenzo destroyed Continental Airlines in the USA in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
    It took several years of rebuilding under Gordon Bethune for Continental to recover, and they eventually became known for great service once again.
    I truly hope that the same thing will happen to BA under new management, and that we will once again be able to rely upon BA, but I’m not 100% sure that this will happen under Sean Doyle’s leadership.
    Sorry to hear this Michele. You and other passengers deserve better.

  3. Debbie Brooks | 20 March 2022 at 7:37 am |

    We flew in to T5 at 6pm last night. We had to wait half an hour to deplane- the explanation we were given was that Covid had caused staff shortages so there was no one to guide the air bridge onto the plane. Thankfully we did get our luggage after an hour and a half waiting. Very poor end to some people’s holiday. I’m so sorry that it got worse.

    • Yep – we had to wait 45 mins last night. We landed at at 6.45pm. We weren’t provided with any explanation or apology. Loads of people missed their connections.

  4. I feel your pain. I arrived in the midst of the IT outage at the end of February and had a very similar experience. I was also annoyed at the lack of comms and ownership of the issue from BA.

    I filled the paper form out and was told I’d have them in 48 hours… 2 days later I receive a random text with what I had to work out was a claim number. The only update I received on the claim was that DHL had my bags, no tracking number to trace delivery so I waited patiently for a further 3 days before they finally arrived. Customer service couldn’t even tell me if I could buy items to get me through those 5 days.

  5. Is this just BA? After two years of being effectively imprisoned in my own country and with the lifting of most near-end restrictions, I would like to travel with confidence – and WITH my baggage.

    • Yes just BA at T5

    • Mairi Turner | 21 March 2022 at 1:49 pm |

      I arrived back into T5 on the 19th only to find total chaos going on in the baggage hall. My flight was one of a long list announced as not getting baggage deliveries. It’s taken until 13.30 21/03 to contact someone in order to complete a missing baggage report. The baggage portal is not working. No point in tweeting…BA doesn’t reply. Most phone calls get cut off. I finally went through to the missing bags phone number, instead of the delayed bags and eventually someone answered the phone, took my details and completed the report for me. Think the poor guy realised that he had Mrs Angry on the line and tried to help. I did say thanks to him. What a dreadful service from BA…..shocking!

      • The baggage portal only works if you don’t sign into your BA account I worked out. Reported it on Sunday. I filed on Sunday morning and it’s still “lost”

  6. Sat on the First terrace yesterday afternoon/early evening watching planes park up, passengers eventually getting off but no sign of holds being opened up. Worked out that aircraft being used for outbound flights were being prioritised for baggage offloading, albeit with delays of 1-2 hours.

    No doubt, when the weekend summer schedules kick in, we can look forward to senior management swapping a work from home on a laptop day to don “Manager – Here To Help” hi viz vests to help their beleaguered colleagues in the terminal and baggage hall at weekends.

  7. Deryck de Maine Beaumont | 20 March 2022 at 10:20 am |

    Thank you Michele for all your hard work. Seems you never rest. I admired appreciate your drive and hard work. Sorry about this morning

    Not familiar with Airtag but having looked it up this morning it seems a good idea You like it?

    However you mention you use “Airtag” and could see your bag still on the plane. I looked up Airtag (Apple) and see it as a tracking device but you could “see” your bag still in the plane?

    Many thanks. deryck

    • For £29 it is well worth it. It works on their being enough people around with phones for it to get a signal. You see a map of its last known location. So I could see on the map it hadn’t moved from the remote stand. This morning I can see it is on a stand at the main T5 in the map.

  8. Deryck de Maine Beaumont | 20 March 2022 at 10:26 am |

    PS I remember back to the early 70s when I had some student summer jobs Heathrow and air travel was really on the increase. A lot of my time was looking for lost baggage – long before automatic tagging. We communicated with telex messages!
    However all this this morning reminds me of a card I remember celebrating increase of air travel

    “Air travel is wonderful, breakfast in London, lunch in New Work, dinner in San Francisco, and luggage in Hong Kong!”

  9. Poor experience last weekend. Requested special assistance for my mum, unfortunately none available. They did not tell us that we flew in and out of different terminal, queued for 2 hours to get into arrivals, bags eventually arrived 25 minutes later. Then had to board a train to get to another terminal

  10. Brexit. Lack of people to fill the positions. Add to that those with covid off sick.

  11. Maria Garcia | 20 March 2022 at 2:54 pm |

    Having been a devoted BA business class customer for decades, regularly flying LHR/LIS/LHR (plus occasional long-haul), I’m trying TAP business eminently. I’m looking for a better lounge experience at both airports and better inflight food. However, I’ll be surprised if inflight crew service will top BA.

  12. Peter Barnard | 20 March 2022 at 2:57 pm |

    There does appear to be disconnect between the airlines and baggage handling, I check luggage to DFW at my peril. If there is an issue it is very difficult to resolve. I have had issues at Heathrow as well with luggage delivered to my hotel a night before having to return to the US. I believe we are seeing the result of several problems including cost cutting, lack of service standards, people simply not interested in their job (if the company does not show faith in employees then they in turn have no faith in the company) and just a general lack of concern for the customer experience unless you are in traveling on a higher priced ticket. I say this from the perspective of a customer who does fly in business the vast majority of the time and watches how other passengers are treated. For all the new technology that exIsts it still requires people who care about the customer for a service to be effective.

  13. James Harper | 20 March 2022 at 3:52 pm |

    With this continuing to happen and my regular short haul routes are HEL, MUC, ATH and LIS, I just can’t fly BA to the three they operate because reliability is just not there when the competition on each one does. Sad, but that’s what BA has come to with disruption on a significant scale in each of the last three weeks.

    Doyle’s promises are all well and good but it’s results that are needed. How about offering significant incentives to staff who were made redundant to return because they clearly aren’t going to for what is currently on offer and without them, increasingly, BA does not have a business.

    • Agreed James. I was talking to someone who used to work for BA and wouldn’t give him a proper full time contract to come back, never mind the pay cut. You get what you pay for and BA are suffering from screwing the staff over.

  14. Richard Gordon | 20 March 2022 at 4:37 pm |

    A ‘what are your alternatives to the BAEC scheme’ for UK based FF is due! Would make interesting reading for those flying short haul and occasional long haul business.

    • David James | 20 March 2022 at 9:49 pm |

      FWIW, I moved Oneworld to Finnair as I travel to HEL often so that was easy, for *A I use A3, I fly with them often and it’s relatively easy therefore to maintain gold.

  15. OMG did we meet last night?
    We been kept on the plane for an hour as there were no one to let us out and then no baggage as well even that the screen was showing which belt should be delivered.BA staff absolutely useless-not able to provide us with any information exempt that”your bags won’t come out”.absolutely ridiculous and not acceptable situation. I rang BA information centre-all what I heard “you need to wait up to 48h for your bag to be found and then another at least 48h to be delivered-that’s mean 4 days with luck.
    Had to cancel another fly as ain’t got my stuff.
    No apology or explanation from communication whatsoever.

  16. We fly to Portugal on Tuesday to meet up with a cruise ship. I’m worried sick about timings and my luggage.

    • Outbound is usually ok as they prioritise it. But worth taking a few essentials in hand luggage plus investing in a £29 air tag.

  17. Had BA not sacked lots of the staff, treated the staff with some respect and decency, and made them sign a new appalling contract, and loosing more staff because of this, BA would not be in this mess. Good luck travellers.

  18. I landed at T5 on 20th Feb and had a similarly terrible experience. 1 hour wait after the plane landed to disembark, then no luggage, no announcements or notifications from BA to indicate there was a problem with the luggage. BA staff were awol. Eventually overheard other passengers talking
    and they advised what to do.

    Booked our next trip with Ryanair. BA are just too much of a liability.

  19. We landed from Dubai on a full A380 on the 20th March at T5. Perhaps we were lucky we got our bags after 1 hour 55 minutes. Not just us but the whole flight.

    • Yes it was back to normal the next day fortunately. Though I think we will see further issues until they get enough staff.

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