Bits: Airportr ski equipment offer, BA refusing to budge on ‘two tickets’ baggage transfer

More news in brief:

Airportr offering free transfer of ski equipment this winter

We’ve covered Airportr a few times on Head for Points.  This is the luggage collection service whereby your suitcases can be collected from your home or office and taken to the airport for you to pick up in the departure terminal – or in some cases they can even be checked in for you.  On your return, you can drop your cases with them whilst you head straight to your home or office – and at London City on BA domestic flights they will even find your luggage on the carousel for you.

We reviewed the service here if you want to know more about it.

Until 31st March, Airportr will transport your winter sports equipment for free when you pay for at least one suitcase to be collected.  Given that ski and snowboard equipment is even less fun to carry around than suitcases, this is well worth a look.  Details can be found on the Airportr site here.

AirPortr

British Airways refusing to budge on checked through bags

Late last year, all of the oneworld alliance members were told that they could, if they wished, now refuse to check through bags between oneworld airlines when the passenger was travelling on a separate ticket.

In plain English, this means that if you were flying British Airways to Doha and then connecting to a Qatar Airways flight to Delhi – booked on a separate ticket – BA would refuse to check your bags through to Delhi.

British Airways jumped on the opportunity to do his because it is a money saver – they are no longer liable to compensate you if your bags fail to connect.  They really pushed the boat out, however, by also refusing to check through baggage between two British Airways flights on separate tickets.

This is astonishingly inconvenient.  In the Doha example above, the passenger now needs to collect their baggage in Doha, clear immigration in Doha – which includes paying for a Qatari Visa, go the Qatar check-in desks (luckily Doha is a one-terminal airport) and then clear security again.  Some people have found themselves separated from their luggage because they did not have the necessary visa to go landside in order to re-check their bags.

Cathay Pacific made the same changes as BA.  However, within a few weeks, they backtracked under substantial pressure from passengers.  You can now check through a bag on two Cathay Pacific flights when booked on separate tickets.

BA will not budge.  If you thought it would, you should know that travel agents are receiving a continual bombardment of emails from the airline – two in the last week alone – reminding them not to do this.

Here is typical example from last week (the bolding was in the original):

“It is important that you never advise customers that the airports may be able to through check-in when they have tickets issued on separate bookings, as the airport teams are unable to assist resulting in frustration for the customer at check-in.

In addition to not being eligible for through check-in, customers travelling on separate tickets issued on different PNR’s will need to collect their bags at the transit point and re-check in, their baggage allowance and lounge access may differ depending on the fare paid for each sector and Conditions of carriage guidelines only apply for the disrupted sector and not on any separate connection.”

Charming.  It saves a few quid though, so …..

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Bits: Gatwick lounges (partly) open, avios.com Clubcard competition, use Avios with Amazon Echo
Bits: Kimpton Amsterdam on points, BA dropping and starting routes at City
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Comments

  1. I can confirm that CX will check-through baggage as long as the onward PNR is on an OW carrier. They did this recently for me without a fuss on HKG-KIX (CX) and KIX-HEL-LHR (AY), albeit I am OWE so they may be more flexible at F check-in at HKG.

  2. Hank Wakai says:

    Despite taking about 50 flights a year out of London, I have managed to avoid BA for the last decade except for one time when a CX route booked me on a BA flight from Oslo back to London, to get on the exact same HKG flight for £1000 less than it would have cost me to get on in London. This intentional inconvenience will certainly not lessen my resolve to avoid BA at all costs.

  3. I realise all businesses are out to make a profit, but moves like this by BA really show that what matters to them is solely the bottom line, customer satisfaction is very much a secondary consideration.
    Companies will only learn if people vote with their feet. Sadly I think too many UK-based customers will continue to fly BA as the default national carrier, at least in the short term.
    Imagine every reader of HFP and FT stopped flying BA, I don’t even know if that would make a difference to them. There needs to be a groundswell of support across the general population who say they’re not prepared to put up with BA’s penny-pinching, coupled with the comparatively expensive ticket prices for a below-par poor customer experience.
    In the short term BA will probably have a more attractive balance sheet, with Mr Cruz receiving a huge sum of remuneration for his “excellent” work before he moves onto another venture, leaving BA in tatters. It may take a long time, but BA cannot continue down this path in the long-term. IMO of course.

  4. James Black says:

    Next year, I will give up Amex companion voucher, with so many cheap Business class available to Far East, companion voucher is totally useless, then no BA flight any more and also fed up with Heathrow board queue, ackward terminal transfer!

  5. Craig Strickland says:

    If they get this right with regards to connections I think they can take business away from BA.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/norwegian-plans-to-join-forces-with-ryanair-easyJet-low-cost-alliance/

  6. Concerto says:

    Is there really ANYTHING left that keeps you sharpshooters flying with BA? Even if they suddenly change for the better and they employ decent qualified people to run the airline rather than total idiots I will retain my boycott.

    • the real harry1 says:

      yes – in our case: important: frequency of their service & real cost to me; not entirely negligible: I enjoy the Avios & points hobby, which means you have a stash to redeem; nice-to-have: ability to book ahead T-355 (LCCs generally don’t do this = uncertainty)

      • But you can still enjoy the hobby by collecting with another scheme surely?

        • I do not believe that there is another scheme with the same route coverage and collection opportunities, but I shall be glad to be proved wrong.

        • the real harry1 says:

          there’s nothing equivalent, pure & simple, if you are UK-based

  7. The BA position is even more infuriating when using Amex 241. I often book transatlantic the full 355 days ahead, but used to leave the “regional” link to Scotland until nearer the time. Now, you have to lock in the free (tax only) Avios connection on first booking – a separate cash to Avios booking means rechecking at LHR. Doesn’t seem to bother BA that most of us on 241s are Gold/Silver regular customers.
    So ex-Dublin flights, or ex-UK using Qatar, Finnair – and now Norwegian – look much more attractive. And once it becomes tough to use Avios and get used to paying cash on cheaper and better airlines, you quickly lose loyalty…Which is precisely what is happening…

    • ‘tax only’ – are you sure? I suggest you look closely, the supposed ‘tax’ can equate to a regular cash one way fare (have a look carefully, EDI/GLA add-on has been almost £75 extra per person recently on 241s I’ve read about on Flyertalk) No extra avios required, yes, how kind of them. But certainly no RFS or anything close either.

      • Got caught out trying to add domestic connection from EDI on 241 on o/b leg. Told should have done it at the time of booking LH, but too busy panicking about not getting the CW seats . No avois required , but please pay £91 p.p to alter ticket . Stuff that! Cheaper to use 8k avios and pay £35. As Silver the enhanced luggage allowance is a benefit, and as we overnighted in London, quite happy to check bags in again next day, just a tad inconvenient.

    • Using a 2-4-1 is a PITA. I don’t think I’m going to bother again.

  8. OT – looking to book a Hilton room for my parents (on points). Was just going to use my account and add my Dad as a second guest (and email the hotel too).
    Assume my parents won’t be eligible for my diamond benefits, but in practice, are they likely to receive any?!

    • May well do, yes, especially as upgrades will be allocated in advance of them realising you’re not there.

      • Thanks, and I assume in reality no issue booking this way?
        I guess I could phone up central reservations and do the booking in their name instead…

        • If you book in their name, your dad will appear as diamond to the hotel. Make sure he understands this.

      • Sat in club exec room crowne plaza Kensington cash booking upgraded but no lounge no water no robe no slippers why do they even tell you your upgraded

        • do the taps work?
          you’ll have to keep your clothes on. hardly a chore at 4:30pm surely?

        • Wow. Thanks for that useful input. Reception took a different view to you and serviced the room as it had been missed and I am now sat in the club lounge drinking birra morretti. Maybe I should have done what you suggested plus stayed in the room and drank tap water.

  9. Recently did a Qatar Cape Town run ex Amsterdam. Asked at First Check in(we are both Gold) if we could tag our bags to South Africa and the response was ‘we haven’t been trained on being able to do this’. When I asked “Are you sure?” the response was “Are you talking to me”

    At Cape Town airport I asked the same question if my bags could be tagged to London. The check in lady made one phone call and got a negative and then made another. Alas she also got a negative and said it was ‘hit and miss’ with BA as the week before it had been possible (this was 3 weeks ago)

    If this is a punishment for using Qatar then I’m prepared to accept it for a product that is twice as good as BA’s Club…… and with crew that actually smile.

    “The World’s Favourite Airline” could never, ever be used again as an Ad Slogan.

    The flights to /rom Amsterdam in Euro traveller were horrible thank goodness it was only 45 minutes.

  10. Anyone had experience of asking QR to check baggage for BA onwards to LHR. E.g. Check-in at Doha for QR to Amsterdam and a separate PRN with BA from AMS to LHR?

  11. BA and Cruz, or more specifically IAG and Walsh are focussed on profits in 2017 and 2018 and to hell with 2019 and beyond.

    We can all see the reason. Cruz and the exec board will be on a bonus scheme that pays out within 2-3 years of joining.

    Shareholders aren’t much help – they’ll be funds also targetted on 2-5 year plans.

    What we need is less listed companies.

    • the real harry1 says:

      I assume you mean fewer – but how likely is that to happen? – unless consolidation means fewer but greater.

      The biggest problem our Earth world has is: too many people.

      Do you all know the stats? I beggars belief in IMV that NOBODY ever talks about population numbers as an issue, probably because it is generally politicians speaking and they don’t want to be seen as eugenicists etc.

      1800 1 billion
      1900 2 billion
      1960 3 billion
      1975 4 billion
      1985 5 billion
      1999 6 billion
      2012 7 billion

      All very worrying – I guess I’ll be long dead when the sh!t hits the fan – I am concerned for my kids’ sake, of course

      • but…you had kids regardless?
        (presumably due to them having desirable heritable characteristics?)

        • the real harry1 says:

          good memory lol – 3 – averages count, though – and in Western Europe I’m helping keep up the numbers 🙂

          yep of course as soon as we stray into the bit about restricting high childbirth – esp if we talk about poorer countries or Islamic countries where reproduction is higher for understandable reasons – we run into trouble

          let’s ignore those factors and concentrate on the fact that the world has too many people, unless we are to accept that increased brain power will bring increased ability to do many things we hold dear, perhaps at the expense of some pleasures such as space, food, environment etc

        • Harry, do you have an FT username, I’ve connected with Rob & Genghis, got some info for you…. 🙂

        • the real harry1 says:

          nope never joined & I’ve deliberately not been anything but a passive user over there for the last few years, give me a hint 🙂

          maybe I’ll join up this year

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Twitters where its at 🙂

  12. This kind-of goes against the expectations, but can a passenger instruct check-in staff *not* to check-in luggage all the way through to the final destination?

    Eg on a cheap fare from Washington to Glasgow via LHR, only check the luggage as far as LHR?

    • You can ‘ask’ but not ‘instruct’… some airlines and staff will, some won’t. BA Americas staff are under orders not to, but if you can check in at an AA point you may be ok, they tend to be open to requests.
      Also self-serve machines are your friend here (albeit limited in location) – the ones that print bag tags ask you where you want the tag issued to, and if you’re competent enough to do it without staff intervention…

  13. Does anyone know whether the same applies to Iberia? I’m considering a cheap redemption to South America via Madrid with a separate positioning flight…

  14. Can anyone help please? In November I am using my Lloyd’s Avios voucher to travel Club World to Chennai on route to Colombo. The plan was to buy an economy ticket with Sri Lanka Airlines checking our bags through from London to Sri Lanka. However if I can’t check the luggage throughI think I’ll need an Indian Visa. Is there’s any way round this? Thanks.