#921774 by Fuzzy14
24 May 2016, 12:36
I don’t do trip reports for every flight but I figured this was worthy of one. I have been spending a lot of time in the beautiful city of Madrid recently and been using a variety of methods to get there, usually direct with EasyJet from Edinburgh however the flight times are not always convenient. As an alternative I’ve used KLM GLA-AMS-MAD which was pleasant enough however last time I had a mad dash across Schiphol to make my connection, from one plane to another within 15 minutes otherwise I’d be staying the night in Amsterdam.

On this occasion BA were cheaper than KLM and had the benefit of having more options out of London should there be a missed connection. The journey out to Madrid was uneventful. A mid-morning BA GLA-LHR was ok, BA onboard service these days consists of a drink and a packet of crisps. We had two-and-a-bit hours to kill at T5, considered heading to the Aspire (£40 each) but in the end sat in the Pilot’s bar with a beer and a rather nice pizza. The second leg was via Iberia code-share and was only notable by the total lack of complementary onboard service, everything was to be paid for. I was somewhat surprised as we hadn’t exactly paid EasyJet prices and I would have imagined that a BA code-share would have similar standards to a BA flight. My first time in T4 of Barajas, seemed a nice place.

A few days later it was time to come home. My travel company had emailed me on the Wednesday to warn of a French air traffic control strike the next day but I figured we’ll keep the plans and see how it panned out. In the taxi on the way to Barajas at 8am (for the 1050 flight) my app showed an hour delay. That was a problem since my connection at Heathrow was an hour.

Arrived at Barajas T4, through security and had to make my way to the subway for the train over to the satellite. The satellite appears to have the same shops as the main terminal so no worries about making your way over there early. I didn’t bother with any food in the airport as had a big breakfast in the hotel before leaving, bought a couple of bottles of wine from the duty free for Mrs Fuzzy as compensation for being away. Watched the incoming BA 767 on Flightradar24 and sure enough it was doing a circuitous route skirting the Bay of Biscay to avoid French airspace. The plane landed soon enough and parked at a remote stand. Ugh. The busses duly arrived and we got bussed out to the plane, although I was one of the last to board there was still a bit of sitting about the tarmac before we took off 50 minutes late. Glad to see plenty of newspapers at the gate. It was a nice and big 767 on this route and there were a few empty seats up the back. Service onboard consisted of a muffin-sized chicken roll and a muffin. Everyone has cutbacks but I think KLM have the edge with their warm pizza slices.

Keeping in mind I previously made a connection at Schiphol in 15 minutes I was still hopeful when we landed at LHR at 1245 and was off the plane at 1255. However that’s where it all went wrong. Followed the signed for transfers, the BA lady pre-screening before the UK border scanned my boarding pass, printed off another boarding pass and handed it to me without any explanation. I had to ask what was going on, I’d been removed from the 1315 flight and was now booked on the 2055 (!). I decided to take it up at the ticket desk later so I made my way to the UK border however it took them 45 minutes to let me into the country. I very much doubt I would have made my original flight even if I had arrived on time, it was an utter disgrace with people in the queue missing their connections, presenting staff unable to do anything about it and passengers getting argumentative with BA who rather than lending a sympathetic ear simply shrugged their shoulders. Simply not enough staff were on for the volume of people.

After finally clearing the border I then ended up back at security for a bag scan. I had a bottle of water on me which had to be ditched – I thought the point of transfers was you stayed airside and didn’t need to go through security again? What an utter joke. My bag got set aside by the x-ray machine and the customs official removed my 2 bottles of wine from my bag saying I can’t take that through security. What? It was duty free purchased in Madrid. How else are you meant to carry items purchased airside in Madrid airport? How is the traveller meant to know that LHR unnecessarily screen their airside transfer passengers and therefore I should have asked Madrid for a tamper proof bag? Farce. I was utterly livid with them, and it was just as well it wasn’t something more expensive.

1400, some 75 minutes after landing, I reached the BA Galleries North. I enquired about transferring onto an earlier flight but apparently all three were full with full standby lists. There was a flight at 1700 from LCY and I weighed up the risks of dashing across London before deciding I’d be better camping out in the lounge for 7 hours and doing some work.

Lounge offerings were chicken curry (some mini-nan bread would have finished it off nicely) or pasta, sandwiches were served mid-afternoon. I rather wisely chose to avoid the healthy selection of spirits otherwise I would have been the token Scotsman denied boarding for being too drunk. As it was I must have consumed 7 Heinekens and 4 bags of crisps.

My time in the lounge passed surprisingly quickly, watching a take off every 60-90 seconds and made full use of the wifi. Only negative was the lack of charging points in some areas, they should have them everywhere, everybody is device power hungry these days!

I wandered down to the gate, used my priority boarding and got settled for the 2055 flight that seemed to have a bit of a wait to take off. Another full flight for BA, when they switched from the 757 to the Airbus A319/320/321 for the Shuttle routes I wondered about the decrease in seat capacity, 5 flights on a Thursday afternoon/evening at 100% capacity they must be raking in the money. Service consisted of a drink and a snack (packet of pretzels or crisps). We had barely been served them when it was time to come back down landing 10 mins late at 10.25pm.

I noticed the pilot was unusually chatty on the intercom and on disembarking, later an email survey asked me specific questions about this so it looks like some kind of BA move to have their captains as more customer facing and approachable.

Glasgow Airport at 10.30pm is a lonely, desolate place and I was straight down the pier and into a taxi home, 8 hours late.

Heathrow T5 have lost a customer, I’ll be pushing for my connections through Amsterdam in future.
#921836 by hiljil
25 May 2016, 08:42
Thank you for taking the time to post this. Always sorry to read about a flight that doesn't live up to expectation.

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