BAck from the dead.

The heading is not a typo. The saga of our return from BArcelona on BA bears telling if only as a lesson to others not to listen to the voice of authority.

We checked in at the airport in good time. We had had a very pleasant stay in Barcelona. We thoroughly recommend the Casa Camper as a hotel. Now though we had to negotiate a very tight transfer at Heathrow. When we reached the lounge the problems started. Delay! Not good on a flight connection of just over 90 minutes. Still, BA’s man on the spot, Juan, was helpful. He explained what might happen and the contingencies. We could expect someone to meet us off the plane and try to rush us to the gate for our HK flight. We did not have to change terminals.

In the end the delay was over half an hour and we calculated we had max 45 minutes to change planes. Still doable but maybe not for the luggage. On our flight to LHR the Purser was possibly the most unhelpful person I have ever encountered on a flight. She started by telling us three things I already knew.

The connection was tight.
Heathrow is a very big airport.
Heathrow is a very busy airport.

So big and busy in fact that there would be nobody to help us make the connection. Shortly afterwards she happily told us that the news was not good, even though she seemed pleased. We had already been taken off the flight. No chance to make the change over. We would not be accepted on the flight. I asked if by chance our onward flight might be delayed. No she retorted. It will leave on time. Had she checked? I know what my guess is.

After I pushed again she told me that we would have to circle in the stack over Heathrow and she estimated we would have max 10 minutes to change. Not possible. Go straight to Zone E. Do not pass Go. Do not collect Β£200 or your luggage. A few minutes later the pilot announced we had clearance from ATC for a direct approach and would land in 20 minutes. So I calculated (again) about 35-40 minutes to make our connection. We were willing to rush. A rare offer from us.

The witch from hell Purser calmly explained that we had been offloaded like a bit of luggage and would not be accepted on the flight. Implicitly the attitude was “stop bothering me with your problem you piece of garbage”.

We landed and I had a decision to make. Go to Zone E, wherever that was, or ask the friendly looking gentleman at the entrance to the channel for transit whether I could try for the flight. 35 minutes was worth a go, he said. Top bloke. So Mrs. Ha and I went to the transit point only to be told that the gate was already closed. Despondency. One minute later the lady said she had spoken to the gate and they were willing to take us. We ran up the escalator, negotiated security, went down the wrong lift, back up the wrong lift, along the corridor, down the right lift – are you still with us? – and waited for the train to take us from Zone A to B. I have no idea what happened to E. We then rushed to Gate B44 and found……..

we were still listed on the flight and our onward flight was delayed. Go and sit in the lounge. Put your feet up. Have a drink. We had never been taken off the flight.

That flight finally took off late enough for our luggage to make it onto the same flight as us. Amazing. The crew of BA27 were brilliant. Complete opposite of the hell-Purser on the short haul leg. The man in charge told me he had seen us listed on the manifest as ‘possibly needing assistance with the short connection’. Oh really? Well that was a surprise although it was exactly what Juan had said he would put on the system. So the score so far…. Barcelona Juan 5, Linda from hell -10, cabin crew of BA27, +10.

We landed late of course but my luggage came through quickly. The cabin crew boss from our flight even came across to see how we were doing and we had a chance to thank him again.

Mrs. Ha however was not so lucky with her case. . I thought I saw her suitcase but although similar it was not hers. Soon alarm bells started ringing in my mind. The similar suitcase had been round the carousel 4 or 5 times. I wondered, just a little, whether somebody had taken Mrs. Ha’s case by mistake. Another BA star to the rescue. Ivy, I think her name was. She started checking the system and pretty quickly confirmed my hunch. Mrs Yeung had left the airport with Mrs. Ha’s case full of goodies leaving us with her cast off. I bet her first name was Linda.

Well 2 hours later the cases were swapped over and I just about resisted the temptation to hurl Mrs. Y. from the 6th floor window of HK International Airport. She seemed to think it was Shirley’s fault for having a suitcase like hers. She stomped off in a state of high dudgeon. We did get home eventually but of course jet lag kicked in and we were wide awake at 3am. I have downloaded a few shots and here is my first offering to cheer me up, if not you. The angles are as I shot them. I was not drunk.

Barcelona Cathedral

Diagonal light

Sagrada Familia

SF tree effect

SFlightgreen

And for you B&W junkies…. All the young dudes.

All the Young Dudes

And to prove that you can enter a red light district without realising it….. well it was mid-afternoon, there were no lights on and I blame Mrs. Ha. I was just following her. We are not good navigators!

Waiting

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31 thoughts on “BAck from the dead.

  1. What a miserable thing to happen after a happy week in Barcelona 😦 but glad you are back home safe and with the right luggage. Longing to hear more about your trip and also, how’s Lulu? After all those steroids, did she knock you both sideways when she ran to greet you on your return? πŸ˜€

    • Lulu isn’t too good, Lottie. Still in pain. Not sure what to do next. I think it is fair to say that she was happy to see us πŸ˜€

      • Oh Andrew, I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope you have a really good vet who can advise or refer her to a specialist. We all want Lulu back, fighting fit!

  2. Three cheers for Lufthansa–flight from Marseille to Frankfurt to get their flight to Washington Dulles. Marseille leg late late late–got to Frankfurt and the plane parked on the opposite side of the airport where busses awaited us. Went down the jet stairs mentally kissing the connecting flight goodbye. At the bottom a well dressed man had a sign with our names. We went over and lo and behold, he had a car right there on the tarmac, and whisked us to the terminal. Entered the terminal by walking underneath a 747 (ever wonder how big the tires really are? They are BIG!) to a hidden door. Inside? A German Immigration officer who whacked our passports with the proper stamps, and then we were escorted up the stairs and escorted at a fast clip to the gate. Walked on the plane and sat down. The doors closed behind us.
    We are now confirmed Lufthansa passengers and choose that airline when we can. Amazing what good service can do for customer relations.

    • Art, I used to fly Lufthansa when I lived in Germany. Very good airline. I wish we had be flying them yesterday. I have not walked under a 747. A twin-engined Otter, yes. 747, no!

  3. “I was just following her. ” – yep, I understand, not looking where you were going!
    Super shots. Shame your vacation was tainted by some shoddy support, but I’m sure your photos and memories will soon have that fading into the distance where it deserves to be.

  4. Well despite the bad experiences with BA and flying, you seem to have had a GREAT time in Barcelona. And you know, hey that there are flights from Barca to Switzerland!!! πŸ™‚

  5. Glad you identified the final photograph, Andrew. It could have been an airline employee…but, no, it was in the red-light district. πŸ˜‰
    Sounds like you had a balance of useless staff and very helpful staff, and as long as it’s in balance or tipped toward the helpful, “all’s well that ends well.”
    Stunning photographs.

  6. You have to wonder why people like Linda are in those jobs, with less than zero people skills. And you have to wonder why the airlines don’t get rid of them. Maybe because people with stories like yours don’t complain by letter …? ❗

  7. As ever – great pics. Some of them gave me goose bumps! Sorry to hear about the hassles with the witch from hell and the luggage. Last thing you need on a long haul. Look forward to the next installment.

  8. Thanks for the stunning pics, but what a saga! We are resolved after our last twenty minute trek from the terminal to our gate to stick as far as possible (and I realise this is sometimes impracticable) to train/ferry/tunnel etc

  9. Stunning shots! So many beautiful locations I’d like to visit. Happy you both were not ever near dying, but dealing with horrible airport staff/lost(stolen) luggage after a long haul flight may come close to that feeling. Ugh. (I think I might have keeled over if one of our nine suitcases was lost after our direct Sydney to Dallas flight.) Looking forward to more images.

    • It was not much fun Caroline but we enjoyed the rest of the trip. I try to travel with as little check-in luggage as possible but even so we had 1 large case each. The main thing is to keep things like medicines in hand luggage.

  10. Ooooh, I can feel your seething rage! What an awful end to your Barca break. That Purser should be shot at dawn. She probably came from a very low budget airline. What is BA thinking – employing staff of that calibre. I’m getting quite heated myself just thinking about it.
    Your pictures by the way, are stunning.

    • Thanks Jenny. I think BA has the usual mix of excellent to dire staff but they need to weed out the problem ones PDQ. Fortunately I am an experienced complainer πŸ˜ƒ

  11. Those interiors are fantastic, Andrew. I have to say, though, that I was unaware that the Savior was a paratrooper of faith as the apparent hint of a parachute seems to indicate.

    Well, any possibility of my surprise knock at your door just went the bye with your tale of misery. Possibly a slow boat to China but no flight I am afraid. πŸ™‚ All’s well in the end, but who needs such rudeness and drama when on holiday? OTOH, in New York some business people are known for their rudeness and it is part of the “experience”. A restaurant in Boston had waiters that occasionally spit at a customer…local charm, I understand. And I once worked at a furniture store where the owner would swear at folks who had come in but did not buy anything…the original “do not darken my door again” business model.

  12. Aie. I don’t know how responsive is BA on Twitter but I wonder if you had might have somehow received better customer service (or even, service recovery) if you had tweeted about what happened while waiting at the airports. Though I see that you being an “experienced complainer” came in handy πŸ˜‰

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