I’m back, my bag is not! British Airways … aaargh!

First & foremost, let me take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy, healthy and successful 2013.

Now, over to business. Like I mentioned here, I was out trying to make sure I wrap up 2012 on Executive Platinum status on American Airlines. Here was my entire routing, and I started to find my way back on December 30, only to land into Mumbai a shade after midnight on January 1 with the stiff upper-lipped British Airways.


Going to the cold zone for a week, I thought it was prudent to check-in a bag, with some clothes for various circumstances (snow included!). The bag held up pretty well with my pace till it was time for to come back to Mumbai, and last I saw it was when I checked it all the way through on American Airlines at SeaTac airport.

The labyrinth called London Heathrow meant I had to be crossing over from Terminal 3 where American Airlines arrives at, and go all the way to Terminal 5 where only British Airways operates from. My incoming flight, which was going to land 1 hour early, was made to go in circles and eventually arrived 30 minutes in advance. But that was all the time eaten up by the ‘fast-track’ security queue at Heathrow, where almost everyone was there and took me over 30 minutes to clear. My flight was going to take off from some remote gates of Terminal 5, which meant I did not even have time to pop into the British Airways lounges to grab a Shepherd Pie or 2, it was a rush to the gates. I did enquire with a BA agent, who told me my bags had arrived from Dallas Fort Worth, and will be on their way to Mumbai.

Now, the stiff upper-lipped BA, did not bother to put my bag on the flight to Mumbai however. Even though it had a bright flashing Priority tag which sort of sounds useless now. The best part is, the flight from London departed over 20 minutes late, so they had a full extra hour to sort bags and get them going on the plane.


My first time in years of travel that my bag did not arrive with me. But the way British Airways handled it was my complaint area more than anything else. So, there is already a message they received that mine, and several other bags (at least 15 passengers) were not loaded on the plane. They did nothing to announce the names of these passengers at the arrivals hall to tell them. So I waited patiently for over 1 hour for the belt to clean up, and then they start the process. They already had the information, and they did not share it proactively.

They then asked me to fill up a lengthy form, and told me my bags were in London because they were not able to get them on the plane. Further, they had passengers waiting for another 45 minutes while they could engage with the Customs authorities to get us a clearance for BA to deliver the bags to us. As a result, I only got out of the airport at 03:00 AM and went home, while I was supposed to drive to friends’ straight after landing to join them in celebrating the new year.

So much for integration with oneworld. On my way out of LHR, American Airlines held the plane for 45 minutes to ensure that passengers AND their bags which were checked-in with Finnair were on board. And looks like they were more interested in making sure oneworld worked rather than just their airline.

10 hours out, this is what the status on WorldTracer shows up as…no status!


British Airways’ handling of the situation was totally tacky, and just please remind me again that I should not think of using LHR as a transit airport again, and maybe keep off British Airways as much as I can!

Here is hoping you don’t lose a bag this year or ever!

Update: The bag did arrive on Jan 1 into India, and was delivered to me early on 2 Jan. For my troubles, Bloody Awful threw a few miles at me, that is what they felt my time was worth!

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. For regular AA flyers like me, BA and LHR are weak links in OneWorld. AMS is a far better transit airport. Unfortunately I do not fly SkyTeam partners much, as I’m ExecPlat on AA. But I detest making connections at LHR.

  2. BA and LH I believe outsource their ground handling in Mumbai. Customer service and proactiveness at airports in India is generally poor regardless of which airline you fly.

  3. exactly the same happened to me on lufthansa. they make you wait till the last bag arrives so you panic and then join the line.

  4. Firstly, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 😉
    Hmmm….this doesn’t make feel good when me and my family are heading to Miami on BA in April. Flying from Norway…but layover in LHR. Last month we received an email saying our flight was canceled and to please call them…I thought to myself…sure because you cancel a flight over 3 months in advance..I need to run up my phonebill and call you? after talking with the BA rep she told me we had 2 choices…fly the night before to LHR and stay at a hotel so we could catch the 11 am flight to MIA or leqve the same day but we would have a layover in Denver!! Her tone was not friendly either so it seemed with every question i asked she seemed annoyed. In the end…we decided to just go the day before and spend the night at a hotel..near the airport. Thanks to Hotwire got the T5 Holiday Inn Exp. for $50 which is finem for a night.
    I personally only flew BA one time…one way during that whole volcano ash mess it was “ok”. I decided to take a chance on them…but boy am I wondering if I made the right choice now between what you have writen and what we have experienced so far…hmmm.

  5. I have had SEVERAL baggage issues with Bloody Awful and the only common thread was sheer arrogance with which BA treats passengers with mishandled baggage. Most of my encounters with their rude and unhelpful staff were at LHR. And now, with their ridiculous fuel surcharges and the UK government fees, it is a no brainer to avoid BA & LHR. When I need to visit the UK, I try to fly to BRU/CDG and take Eurostar. And if I absolutely have to fly OUT of the UK, I avoid BA like the plague.

    Perhaps unlike others, I am also not a fan of their seats (in Club) and certainly not their catering.

  6. sounds like compensating passengers for this inconvenience is out of the question..getting your bag itself will be a big deal.
    so what sectors do you use lhr as a transit point for? and what will u replace it with?

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