One of the things I really dislike about BA is the online check in, as this process can only be carried out within 24 hours of departure. Easyjet give you 30 days, and Flybe 72 hours. No doubt other airlines have a more generous window than BA. It’s really restrictive and thoroughly inconvenient.
Having been out and about in Copenhagen, we could have started check in at 10am. As it was, it was nearer to 6pm by the time we returned from our day out. The BA app on my iPad wouldn’t let me check in, so it was off to the ‘business centre’ pc and printer housed in a telephone box in the hotel lobby to give it a go. I logged in to Manage My Booking to check in for LHR and get passes. That was OK. However, red alert notices were being flagged up for JFK stating US security had no knowledge of us and we needed a Visa. PANIC!
However, the Advance Passenger Information was all complete and given a green ‘tick’ and we didn’t require visas as I had already completed the US Visa Waiver paperwork for an ESTA which specifically gave us authorised approval and welcomed us to the US. I went back onto the US government site to check it all again which was fine. Still no joy with check in.
Decided to phone BA using DaddyAirmiles phone to the Customer Serive number but the number indicated to use from abroad didn’t work. In fact, no number tried from his phone worked. It appeared that his phone is linked through the ether to the UK even when abroad, so tried all the UK numbers… but they didn’t work either! Oh, the stress!
Decided to try my pay as you go ancient not-very-smart phone and, hey presto! Through eventually to someone at BA who thought it must be a computer glitch and not to worry, it would all be sorted at the check in desk. Still not overly reassured, I rushed off an email to BA contacts buried deep in the many sections of ‘further info’ filling out all boxes and giving details of the issue. Needless to say I got an auto reply saying they may take up to 48 hours to respond! We would know our fate well before then!
So, a sleepless night followed…for me anyway.
An early start had us at the airport just after 8am in the prioity Club Europe queue, behind several couples who were sent packing to the long EuroTraveller queue. A quick email check had a response to my email stating all would be sorted at the desk. Well done, Richard, for responding with such alacrity at 0634!
A very helpful agent at the desk, Paul (BA give the man a pay rise, he was wonderful!), was not in the least bit fazed, printed off the boarding passes for JFK, tagged the luggage straight through and advised several early glasses of champagne for medicinal anti stress purposes! He felt is was BAs new computer system that seemed to be throwing up a number of glitches.
So, sorted but hardly the relaxing start to our trip. If BA allowed a more generous window for check in, then this would have been spotted much sooner, on UK soil, and could have been dealt with in a more measured and calm manner.
It would have been helpful if BA had flagged up the glitches to reassure passengers, knowing that their new system is causing many problems.
And with that, MummyAirmiles disappeared off the airwaves to reappear with a brief missive from New York “All OK. In hotel, got an upgrade (city view – rooftops and can see Empire State Building). Tired.” No doubt more to come!