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BA and AC flight questions

Grimsby, United...
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BA and AC flight questions

I'm going on my first holiday outside the UK in August and we're flying with British Airways from Manchester to Heathrow and Air Canada from Heathrow to Toronto and Toronto to Orlando (same for return).

However as this is our first time flying I do have a few questions if anyone is able to answer them? They will probably sound stupid but was unable to find the answers on their sites.

For luggage do we need to take luggage tags with us or are they provided at check-in? If so does it have our final destination on the tags or does this need to be done at each of our stops?

This question might be unanswerable but, as we have connecting flights, do we need to collect our luggage at each of our stops? (Heathrow & Toronto) or are these transferred for us to our flights?

As i'm rather large (fat, trying to lose weight) I will most likely need a seat belt extender, when or where do I ask for these? Do I ask at the help desk and they sort it out? or do I ask once I get on the plane for each of our flights to and from Orlando?

The seat pitch on our AC flights are 32" and 34", is this considered the industry for international flights? Is this enough space to stretch out a little without feeling cramped? (ie seats in front not so close you have your knees touching your chin)

Any help with these questions would be great!


Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
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1. Re: BA and AC flight questions

Not stupid questions at all.

I can't answer all of them, especially the international to USA connection at Toronto (YYZ), as to whether you need to collect your bags there. You will clear US Immigration and Customs at YYZ, but whether you need to physically collect your bags or whether they are photographed I don't know.

On the return, assuming the same route, you shouldn't need to pick up your bags at YYZ or LHR; you'll collect your bags and clear customs at MAN (and immigration/passport control at LHR).

As to the other questions -

Luggage tags. If you can, tag your luggage (name, hotel address and contact number) before heading to the airport. Tags are provided but it's a pain to write them at the check in desk. And it's a good idea to write your full schedule, hotel details and contact number on a sheet of paper and place it inside your checked bags, in case they go missing.

Seat belt extenders. From what I've seen, passengers can ask the flight attendants discretely either while boarding or as they pass up and down the aisle once you're seated. You don't need to prebook these, and I've never heard of any need to pre-book them.

32"-34" seat pitches - For economy, the standard (ish) seat pitch is 31" (that's what BA and United provide in regular economy). So 32" is better than average, and 34" is very good indeed for a regular economy seat. Indeed 34" is only provided by the very best airlines (Qatar, Asiana, Malaysia, some Emirates). The fact that AC offers 34" on select flights is a huge plus and one of the reasons I suspect why they've been upgraded to a 4 star airline by Skytrax.

Edited: 1:19 am, March 28, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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2. Re: BA and AC flight questions

Your questions are not stupid at all.

Both BA and AC offer flimsy name tags for bags, but I've not put one on a checked bag for several years. I do ensure, though, that there is a plastic-encased sheet of A5 inside my checked bags; that sheet has my surname, home city and a specific-for-travel email address printed on it in very large type. It's in a place where it can easily be located should the bag go astray.

With respect to the destination tags the check in staff will apply, those tags will be labelled to your final destination, if you've bought through tickets (MAN-LHR-YYZ-MCO). You will be given small tags - hang on to them until you have collected the bags in Orlando. carpatair.com/Content/EN/MEDIA/Image/BAG-TAG… This is what will go on your checked bag (the green strip indicates a flight originating in the EU).

You will / should not have to collect and recheck your bags at LHR, but again it depends on whether you've booked through tickets.

It's a different matter at YYZ. Pearson is one of a handful of Canadian airports which offer US border pre-clearance: you will go through US immigration and customs at YYZ then fly to the States as a domestic passenger. Because of that you will pick up your bags at YYZ, then hand them in again for checking through to MCO. Pre-clearance is handy, or at least I've found it so when flying from YVR to the States. Take a pen, you'll need it for the US Customs declaration form. If you have not got an Esta yet, apply now.

Ask crew on board for a seat belt extender. Have a quick word when you board, and crew should supply you with the extender before the doors close and pushback occurs. BA crew are usually quite present in the cabin during the boarding process, and the request should not be a problem.

Seat pitch in BA's World Traveller cabin is 31 inches; if AC are offering 34 inches in any of their Economy cabins it would be a fab treat. I'm not a fan of flying long haul in Economy, but short haul (up to four hours) it's bearable enough. I prefer an aisle seat so if need be I can get up and move around, as much as one can on an Airbus A320 or A321, and find that an aisle seat gives an illusion of space if nothing else.

AC should have AVOD (audio visual on demand; individual seat back screens) in place on the flight from YYZ to MCO, which may help make the time pass.

Back to the connection at Heathrow for a minute. Your flight from MAN will very likely arrive at the main terminal building at T5, but your flight to Toronto will almost certainly depart from a gate at either the B or C satellite terminal building. It's a bit of a hike from the main terminal to the satellites, including a short ride on the free transit train), so when the gate is posted on the departures board - usually about 45 minutes before scheduled departure time - keep an eye on your watch and don't delay in making your way to the gate.

Portskewett, United...
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3. Re: BA and AC flight questions

In terms of the seat belt extension - until recently (when I lost a lot of weight) I always had to ask for an extension - there has never been a problem and I would quietly ask one of the FA's for one and in fairness they were always very discreet at handing the belt to me so it wasn't obvious I needed an extension.

So please don't worry about that aspect when you get on the plane

Limerick, Ireland
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4,686 posts
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4. Re: BA and AC flight questions

tags are a must .....if your bags are left behind at Heathrow or Manchester or any airport

it makes things easier in the long run, put the flight numbers on as well.

Also photo-copy your passport and itinerary details and put 1 A4 sheet

inside your luggage 1 for each bag that goes into the (aircrafts) hold.

enjoy your trip

5. Re: BA and AC flight questions

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