JoKeR
Topic Author
Posts: 1758
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:34 pm

BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:29 am

Harsh words coming from IATA's Giovanni Bisignani, who claims that UK anti-terror measures have done nothing to improve safety, and have rather brought inconvenience to millions of passengers in the UK. He also goes on to comment the UK Government's one hand-luggage policy...

"The only beneficiary is the airport operator BAA that continues to deliver embarrassingly low service levels by failing to invest in appropriate equipment and staff to meet demand. This must stop."

Full story link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6922992.stm

Speaking for myself now, I avoid Heathrow and Gatwick like a plague, and have done so since my last summer's transit of horror.
Kafa, čaj, šraf?
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13730
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:43 am

$40 million is nothing. That's the amount they claim to have used to increase screeners at their seven airport. No wonder they can't keep up with demand.

Stansted alone carries 20 million pax a year. That means that they only devoted 1 pound per stansted pax to increasing screening at all 7 airports? Overall, it's about 30 cents per passenger at all BAA airports in a year. 30 cents US. And how much extra are they charging for facilities fees?
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
User avatar
yowza
Posts: 4275
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:01 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:29 am

No surprise. Ever been to LHR T3 in the AM? It's a disaster. For those of you who have not seen this video also shot at LHR enjoy


YOWza

[Edited 2007-07-30 23:31:27]
 
shuggie
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 4:33 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:30 am

BAA has inherited/been handed a massive share of two markets (not quite a monopoly in either case), London and Scotland. Both passengers and airlines have little choice but to deal with BAA if they want to serve either of those markets. BAA needs to be broken up in order to create a more competitive market in the UK. BAA is capable of serving it's customers much better but there is little need for them to do so. Why should they put on more security staff to reduce the queues when a lot of their passengers will end up flying through the airport anyway? Surely that would be a waste of money as far as they're concerned?

It's got to the stage now where passengers are really starting to suffer, not just with lost luggage and security delays but also in terms of routes. BAA have recently anounced a massive expansion of the terminal at EDI in order to create more shopping facilities (sorry, I can't find the link but it has been on the BBC and Scotsman websites) yet JL were keen to start scheduled services to the airport recently (which I'm sure would have been a huge success) but couldn't because the runway was too short. BAA obviously feels that a Costa Coffee and a branch of Timberland is more important than a new route to major world city (something that we really don't have many of!).... Okay, so extending the runway would be a bigger planning headache than building more shops, but surely the runway extension would bring benefits to the whole city?

Rant Over!
 
Rivet42
Posts: 603
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:30 am

Quoting Shuggie (Reply 3):
BAA needs to be broken up in order to create a more competitive market in the UK

 checkmark  Spot on. If Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted had to compete with each other for business, then I think we would see some real and rapid improvements in customer service. There are growing calls in the UK media for this, but as yet there seems little political incentive...

Nevertheless, we are but 24 hours away from Heathrow's traditional nightmare month, and I wonder what dreadful scenes await us as we sit back and watch the 'system' buckle under the mid-summer strain... Again. BAA have themselves admitted it's going to be an unpleasant experience, even though they've had 12 months to prepare for it.... I would hate to be a member of their staff, and indeed so would everyone else, judging by the problem they claim to have in hiring people! Now what does that say about the working conditions...???!!!

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
ual777
Posts: 1491
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 6:18 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:14 am

Quoting Rivet42 (Reply 4):

checkmark Spot on. If Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted had to compete with each other for business, then I think we would see some real and rapid improvements in customer service. There are growing calls in the UK media for this, but as yet there seems little political incentive...

Nevertheless, we are but 24 hours away from Heathrow's traditional nightmare month, and I wonder what dreadful scenes await us as we sit back and watch the 'system' buckle under the mid-summer strain... Again. BAA have themselves admitted it's going to be an unpleasant experience, even though they've had 12 months to prepare for it.... I would hate to be a member of their staff, and indeed so would everyone else, judging by the problem they claim to have in hiring people! Now what does that say about the working conditions...???!!!

I disagree. The problem with Heathrow is that its private. They need to convert it to a city-based authority like in the US where the city is the governing authority and isn't trying to squeeze a profit out of the airport. Further, the city has no access to the profits from the airport so they are pumped back into the facility. I have seen some long lines in the US but this one takes the cake.
It is always darkest before the sun comes up.
 
bogota
Posts: 652
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2004 4:10 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:33 am

CNN International just had a special newscast on LHR titled "If hell had an airport", I think the title said it all. If you are non-european passport holder things can get really bad, standing in line for hours at inmigration.

I had not seen the video, the situation is really pathetic. How come the government has not directly intervened, how can the customers be so patient. That is a total lack of respect for the public.

[Edited 2007-07-31 04:56:07]
 
Rivet42
Posts: 603
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:35 am

Quoting UAL777 (Reply 5):
I disagree. The problem with Heathrow is that its private. They need to convert it to a city-based authority

Theoretically, yes, but that will never happen, so the best we can hope for is a fragmentation of the BAA franchise (indeed, it should never have been sold off as a single entity in the first place - that isn't really privitisation at all, merely state control by proxy).

And if it were possible (for the Greater London Authority to take control), it would still need to be preceeded by the break up of BAA, in order to create an autonomous entity, which the GLA could then 'acquire'. Nevertheless there is no mechanism that I know of for that acquisition, and certainly no funds (without additional local taxation, which would be widely opposed) to pay for it.

Nice idea, though!

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
standby87
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 2:33 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:13 pm

BAA management can't even get the basics right.

Basics are:

Manning all Security checkpoints fully.
Ensuring all Aircraft stands are fully servicable.

Can anyone from BAA say why not?

And don't give me "the cost".

Each of those passengers standing in line in that video is PAYING!

LHR is now an embarrassment to the United Kingdom.
Avoid it.
 
scouseflyer
Posts: 2165
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:02 pm

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:20 pm

Part of it is due to the natural good manners of the British public. Although to other Brits many will seem gobby, loud and rude, on thing that we just do is wait in line patiently.In the US there'd be hell on and in the rest of Europe there would be an unholy scrum of pushing and queue jumping!
 
EDICHC
Posts: 1545
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:38 pm

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:13 pm

This year's aviation industry award for the most starltingly obvious statement goes to....Giovanni Bisignani of IATA

Joking aside, hats off to the man for saying what needed to be said; and not for mincing his words in doing so!
A300/319/320/346 ATR72 B722/732/3/4/5/6/8/742/4/752/762/3/772/3 BAC111 BAe146 C172 DHC1/6/8 HS121 MD80 PA28
 
OHLHD
Posts: 2903
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:02 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:20 pm

Actually no surprise!

Quoting JoKeR (Thread starter):
Speaking for myself now, I avoid Heathrow and Gatwick like a plague, and have done so since my last summer's transit of horror.

Me too at any cost!
 
jsnww81
Posts: 2294
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 3:29 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:37 pm

None of this is a surprise. Even before 9/11, BAA were mismanaging Heathrow right into the ground and depriving it of investment. It's just that now they've gotten so stupid and arrogant that the media and IATA are taking notice. Which means the politicians (with the power to force a breakup of BAA's monopoly) can't be far behind... (crosses fingers)

For years LHR has been looked at BAA's "cash cow," where lavish shopping malls have been built instead of extra gates, where duty free shops have been expanded into former HM Customs areas, where paint peels and ceilings drip and escalators are broken and moving sidewalks are boarded up. BAA's attitude seems to be that the LHR customers are going to come no matter how you treat them (which is true), so why bother providing a customer-friendly experience?

The newest party line tooted by BAA is that Terminal 5 is going to fix everything. Instead of beefing up staffing, adding extra immigration posts or reconfiguring security checkpoints, BAA is just twiddling their thumbs for six months, claiming that by early 2008 everything will be super. I don't believe it for a minute, and I'm eager to see just how badly they mess up the interior of T5 with their "retail first" policy.

A sad reality for what was once a great airport.
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:36 pm

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:33 am

I'm just waiting for the big T5 "all change" debacle when all the airlines have to move terminals when BA finally moves into T5 - that is going to be a clusterf*** of monumental, biblical proportions. LHR is going to melt down completely, and millions of disgusted passengers will be laughing and dancing on the ashes. How the UK government has continued to allow the clowns at BAA to continue with this farce is beyond me. They renationalised Railtrack, didn't they ? Surely the BAA monopoly deserves the same ignominous fate.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
shuggie
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 4:33 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:43 am

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 13):
They renationalised Railtrack, didn't they ?

Railrack went bust and they threw something together to replace it, it wasn't a case of renationalising.
 
Rivet42
Posts: 603
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:38 am

Aptly enough, this evening's papers in London (the free ones, and the Standard) are full of scathing criticisms of BAA, from the head of IATA as above, local politicians, business leaders, and even - wait for it - Mr M O'Leary! MOL is even threatening to mothball 7 aircraft at Stansted over the winter as he says it'll be cheaper than flying them (taking into account the loss of earnings, presumably). I think the most stinging remarks, besides those of Bisignani (which are bad enough) come from business leaders who claim that Heathrow is now so bad that it is affecting London's finance industry, with executives vowing to avoid Heathrow airport at all costs. London's elected mayor (as opposed to the unelected Mayor of the City of London - I'll elaborate on that elsewhere, if required!) has branded BAA's failings shameful.

Here's a link, for those non-Londoners who are interested:

Article in Today's Evening Standard

Will the government listen? Hmmmm. Don't hold your breath....

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
antonovman
Posts: 426
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 12:45 pm

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:08 am

A lot of the problems at LHR are endemic these days in British society in that there is never enough staff. Every restaurant or pub or bar you go too, anywhere, not just airports, the tables are littlered with dirty cups and plates and glasses, theres never enough staff to go round cleaning them. Every shop yougo in to you have to wait ages to be served as there will be one person behind the counter and 10 people waiting to be served. The employers are just too greedy to employ more staff.
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13730
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:13 am

Quoting Antonovman (Reply 16):
The employers are just too greedy to employ more staff.

Well, does it have anything to do with people who might be staff candidates being too willing to go on the dole instead, since the pay's the same?
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Rivet42
Posts: 603
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:38 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 17):
Well, does it have anything to do with people who might be staff candidates being too willing to go on the dole instead, since the pay's the same?

Completely off-topic, but you have it the wrong way round, i.e. the minimum wage, which a lot of such jobs pay, is not enough to live on. I live in a tiny one-room studio in West london, at a below-market rent, and the minimum wage would not even cover my rent+local taxes. If you have to support yourself (i.e. you live alone), you simply cannot afford to take this kind of work. The official minimum wage has never genuinely been aligned with the cost of living in London, which centres on the extortionate cost of accomodation, and until that linkage applied accurately, employers who refuse to pay above the minimum wage will always struggle to find reliable and hard-working staff.

But back to the story about Heathrow, it was all over the BBC tv news tonight, which is quite timely given the chaos that everyone is anticipating ofver the next few weeks (our peek holiday travel season).

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13730
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:45 am

Quoting Rivet42 (Reply 18):
If you have to support yourself (i.e. you live alone), you simply cannot afford to take this kind of work.

Then don't live alone. It's the same in the USA. The minimum wage will not support a person on their own. It's not meant to. That's what roommates are for, or living with family, etc. If every single job paid a wage that allowed you to live alone and raise a family (without a mate), it would be impossible to make any money as an employer.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
AirTranTUS
Posts: 3313
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:12 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:18 am

Quoting YOWza (Reply 2):
No surprise. Ever been to LHR T3 in the AM? It's a disaster. For those of you who have not seen this video also shot at LHR enjoy

Is that the line for arrivals or departures?
I love ASO!
 
747438
Posts: 658
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:45 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:26 am

Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 20):
Is that the line for arrivals or departures?

It's a queue that stretches FROM departures Towards the arrivals.
However, I must say that this is NOT the norm (and I should know). Normally the queues are less than a third of that. I can only assume the video was shot following a serious alert.
The queue lenghts would be greatly reduced and flow a lot quicker if passengers were to read and fully understand the requirements for passing through security and planning a little ahead.
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:36 pm

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:09 pm

Quoting 747438 (Reply 21):
The queue lenghts would be greatly reduced and flow a lot quicker if passengers were to read and fully understand the requirements for passing through security and planning a little ahead.

Correction. The queue would be a lot shorter and flow a lot quicker if

a) The UK hand-luggage regulations weren't so completely STUPID
b) BAA actually opened and operated ALL the xray and metal detector lanes ALL the time instead of leaving half of them unmanned. BAA are a useless, greedy, quick-buck bunch of cowboys.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
Lon44
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:54 pm

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:33 pm

I had to join A.net just to vent my frustration with LHR!

Having worked in Terminal 3 for AC for nearly 20 years I left 2 years ago. Apart from dealing with the public face to face on a daily basis I also worked behind the scenes and saw the real workings of the place.

Anyone who worked there when I did felt totally powerless to affect any improvements. The BAA just ignored any comments from both passengers and staff. The facilities never got any better. Other than shops you could not see where any money was being invested. There were relativley few seating areas in the terminal in order to 'force' people into the shopping malls, as obviously BAA were raking in huge rents and percentages of all sales. The washroom facilities are worse than third world. I recall when they opened a new extension at T3 (gates 30/32/34/35) they put in 2 urinals! This is for potentially 1200 people waiting for flights. Naturally they were blocked on a daily basis but no one did anything about it. It could so easily have been built 10 times bigger but the BAA always invest as little as possible for maximum return. It's really shameful on their behalf as they have no respect for anyone.

The heating system would be on full blast in summer and the A/C would be on in winter (not easy to lift flight coupons when you're wearing gloves believe me!) It would be reported to the BAA faults line on a daily basis and it was always 'being sorted out' but never was in the time i was there.

Passengers naturally blamed anyone in a Uniform. So Airline staff would be abused regulary about the state of toilets/lack of luggage carts/ line ups for buses/ lack of jetties/ old buses/ lack of decent facilities ... the list is endless.
We would even have petitions from staff demanding BAA Directors should come and experience the 'real' Heathrow. Everthing fell on deaf ears.

In the end I was so glad to leave. It's such a stressful place to work. I accept Airlines have plenty of issues with Customer Service etc etc etc but BAA have no concept of how much stress they add to peoples lives (passengers and staff) who are just trying to do a job or travel somewhere. Looking back I'm surprised I lasted 20 years although it was a great experience and I wouldn't have missed it for anything! Slightly contradictory I know but you would have to work there to know the amazing experiences we all had (Good and Bad)
 
standby87
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 2:33 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:52 am

Quoting 747438 (Reply 21):
The queue lenghts would be greatly reduced and flow a lot quicker if passengers were to read and fully understand the requirements for passing through security and planning a little ahead.

Sir - does that explain why all the X-Ray machines are NOT fully manned - even at peak times?

I think not.

Please try again and explain to me why BAA are unable to look after the basics.

If Frankfurt and Zürich can, why can't LHR?
 
RussianJet
Posts: 5982
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:15 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Thu Aug 02, 2007 4:11 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 17):
Well, does it have anything to do with people who might be staff candidates being too willing to go on the dole instead, since the pay's the same?

Sorry, but that is simply untrue on all levels. UK unemployment is still astonishingly low given all the issues we have to contend with in our society these days, and the dole is certainly not as well paying as any job, minimum wage or otherwise. It's a total myth that it's an easy and viable longterm option.

Unfortunately the problems discussed here probably can largely be attributed to the greedy profit-first mentality that now prevails in the UK, that has risen up since everything important to the country began to be sold off at a frightening pace in the late 80s. 'Wealth creation' has become the mantra of our politicians, and now we see at what cost. We now pay twice a much and get half as much in return.
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
 
Analog
Posts: 1193
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2006 3:24 am

RE: BAA Delivers Embarrassingly Low Service Levels

Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:36 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 17):

Well, does it have anything to do with people who might be staff candidates being too willing to go on the dole instead, since the pay's the same?

Maybe, but it's still BAA's fault. If that's the case BAA needs to pay more. The fees from the mall@LHR should cover it.

Who is online