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BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

Veigy-Foncenex...
posts: 9
BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

Hi All,

“Luggageless for Chinese New Year courtesy of British Airways”

On 23 January my husband and I were on flight BA0727 from Geneva to Heathrow London Terminal 5, with connecting flight BA0025 to Hong Kong. We have traveled for many years; especially my husband who is BA executive club gold card member and travels very frequently long haul on businese with the airline. Sadly this was by far the worse travel experience we have ever encountered with any airline.

BA ruined our Chinese New Year holiday and our wedding anniversary

Our travel plan was spending a long weekend (24/01 to 27/01) in Hong Kong to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary then catch flight CX0400 to Taipei for Chinese New Year, returning to Geneva on 4 Feb on flight CX0473 to Hong Kong with connecting flights, BA0026 to Heathrow London then BA flight 0724 to Geneva.

It became a travel nightmare that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone.

When we arrived in Hong Kong, one of our pieces of luggage didn’t arrive. We immediately reported the issue to the luggage-handling agent at the airport and filled in the necessary details in order to trace my luggage. It was extremely frustrating after a long haul flight and because we had dinner plans for that evening and I had no clothes but I was still hoping my bag would turn up by the next day.

It never arrived and till this day nobody knows where my bag and is some 17days later. Apparently after 21 days the airline will declare my bag lost forever.

During our time in HK, we called the airport luggage centre every single day and each call would take a minimum of 30 minutes to get through sometimes more than an hour.

The only answer was “ they were waiting for a reply from the luggage people in London, the bag was last seen in T5 Heathrow London”. Despite their urging it seemed that they were getting no communication or response from London.

Eventually, my husband called the Executive Club member hotline in the UK, hoping that they would do something about it. He was told that they couldn’t do anything about it as they do not handle baggage issues.

They then transferred him to the BA baggage centre somewhere in UK and the answer was “the luggage was last seen in Heathrow T5 and that they couldn’t do anything about it as it was not ‘their file’ and therefore their responsibility that it was up to the HK luggage handling agent to deal with us.

After the telephone conversation my husband sent an email to BA customer relation to ask for help. He received an automated reference code but no reply – and to this day there has been absolutely no response from customer relations.

Given that this was apparently a Hong Kong issue according to the UK staff (even thought the bags had last been seen and had apparently gone missing in the UK) my husband also called the Executive Club line in Hong Kong to see if they could help progress things with at the Hong Kong end. Once again they offered to email the baggage services but were powerless.

So, for the duration of our 2 weeks annual holiday I was left with nothing but frustration and anger – certainly no personnel effects which left me with no choice but to make a lot of unnecessary purchases including, ironically, a bag to put things in.

Before we travelled back to Europe, we changed our connecting flight from London to Geneva to a later flight in order to have time to talk to the baggage services enquiry centre at the airport. This added an extra 4 hours on an already long trip but it seemed worth the effort given that nobody else seemed to be taking any notice of the situation.

Before we flew we also spoke with the senior BA customer service agent at the airport who promised to notify baggage services that we were going to see them and promised to try and have somebody meet us in London. Needless to say, there was nobody and no communication had found its way to London in advance of our arrival.

On arrival in London the lady we spoke to at Baggage Services at T5 was very polite and helpful which just underlined the absolute lack of coordination from the various different parties we had tried to speak to – essentially there had been no real action on the issue since the 24th despite our efforts.

She told us that the bag had been scanned in the airport several times but it was never scanned on to the aircraft on the 23rd, so logically my bag never left the T5 building - but there is no record of the location of the bag. She reinitiated a scan for the luggage to restart the search process – its just a pity it took nearly two weeks to get this done.

I find it very hard to believe that a piece of check-in luggage vanished by itself inside the T5 Terminal building and I would really like the airline to make some concerted efforts to locate it.

No apology, not a single word from British Airways since the beginning of this until now. A system that is designed to make it difficult to talk to a responsible person – our conclusion is that apparently NOBODY in BA is responsible. Therefore nobody has to apologise.

So, if anyone out there is somehow sympathetic to this issue or has suffered similar treatment at the hands of the airline please helps me to persuade the boss of BA to do the right thing for its customers

HUI-CHU LAI

08/02/2014

Thank you for reading

21 replies to this topic
Liverpool, UK
posts: 8,865
reviews: 13
1. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

"Sadly this was by far the worse travel experience we have ever encountered with any airline ..... It became a travel nightmare that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone. "

It's a fact of air travel that every airline and airport can misplace or lose bags but it's not something I would describe as a nightmare and if it's the worst travel experience I ever encounter then I would think myself lucky.

When we travel we always take some clothing items in our cabin bags as well as ensuring we split our items across our 2 checked bags rather than a "his and hers bag" so it's not a major problem if one checked bag goes missing or gets delayed.

UK
posts: 39,742
reviews: 81
2. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

Ditto re shared bags. Pile stuff up separately, then share across the bags.

BA dont seem to have handled this very well at their end though.

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin, Kakadu National Park
posts: 2,074
reviews: 147
3. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

While this is not relevant to your particular case on a recent flight from Istanbul while being bused out to the plane I noticed a suitcase near the "road" used by the buses to get to the plane. It seemed to have fallen off the luggage trailer when it was taken out to a plane. No airport worker passing by seemed interest in it even though it could be an obstacle to passing vehicles. Don't know how long it had been lying there.

Veigy-Foncenex...
posts: 9
4. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

Thank you for your advise.

Milford, Ohio
posts: 1,134
reviews: 84
5. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

"BA ruined our Chinese New Year holiday and our wedding anniversary"

I don't understand how people let someone else steal their happiness. Yes, it stinks to arrive in a foreign country with no luggage. It's happened to me before in Vienna, Austria and in Bangalore, India. But, it's how you react to the situation.

I hope your bag is found.

Veigy-Foncenex...
posts: 9
6. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

Very sad to hear thing like that

Veigy-Foncenex...
posts: 9
7. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

I hope so. Cheers

Veigy-Foncenex...
posts: 9
8. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

It seems keeping silence is their best policy

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 7,629
reviews: 53
9. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

In these situations BA will be happy to reimburse you for any clothes you buy. As long as you don't take the proverbial and buy eight $400 shirts and the like. I've sent receipts in to BA when my bag went missing and was reimbursed for similar designer clothing without quibble whatsoever.

Phoenix, AZ
posts: 2,651
reviews: 143
10. Re: BA, my luggage vanished at Heathrow Terminal 5 by itself?

As has been said, it is an unfortunate fact of air travel, and will happen to almost anyone, at any time, and on any airline, though some do seem to be better, or worse, than some others.

Take heart, though, it might show up, and get returned to you, though obviously not n time to help with your trip to Hong Kong.

Years ago, my wife's UA flight from PHX to SFO for connection to LHR was delayed, and diverted to San Jose. When it became clear that she would likely miss the SFO-LHR flight, she offered to get off the plane, retrieve her one bag, then hire a driver to SFO to make her flight. UA stated that this was not possible. Her flight made it to SFO, but many hours late for the connection. UA tried to get her on another SFO - LHR flight, but all were booked. The best they could do was to get her on a flight to IAH (Dulles), where she might be able to connect to LHR. She took that flight, but all LHR flights out of IAH were booked, until 2 days later - too late to make her board meeting. She conducted a conference call, and returned to PHX from IAH. Now, to that luggage. She tried to retrieve it from UA, at every step of the way, but was told that she could not, and that it had to fly with her to LHR - no other options. When she finally arrived back at PHX, there was of course, no bag. She filed a lost bag claim, and we checked UA with the claim number every day - nothing - gone - vanished.

About a week later, I got a call from a ticket agent at LHR. She had noted a bag on the carousel at LHR, when she came into work each day.On about the fourth day, she couldn't take it any more, and grabbed the bag, noting the Priority baggage tag, and my wife's name, address and telephone number. She noted that there was a flight from LHR - IAH, in a few hours, but strongly suggested that it would be best for the bag to go back on flight to SFO, the way that it had come, though that flight was not until the next business day. After the call, she placed it back into UA system, where it disappeared for four more days! I kept calling, but it was still lost, on the way back from LHR. Finally, almost 21 days later, I got the call from PHX, that the bag HAD shown up, and UA would deliver it. For whatever reason, it took them 2 more days, to get it the 18 miles to our home, BUT the bag did get to us. It was just almost a month later. Unfortunately, my wife did not get the miles that the bag traveled, including many days on the LHR carousel. Everything was fine.

Keep checking with BA Baggage, and I hope you are as fortunate, as my wife was.

Good luck,

Hunt

Edited: 10:25 am, February 10, 2014
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